Monday, April 2, 2012

Buttercream Wedding Cake

Took a break from thesis writing to create this wedding cake over the weekend.

I was happy with the overall visual impact and very relieved once it was all set up.  I was attending the wedding, and the ceremony and reception were in two different places, so I was a little frantic.

Two of the tiers are dark chocolate cake with godiva liqueur splash and espresso truffle filling.  The other two are butter cake with grand marnier splash, raspberry puree, and vanilla cream.  The cake did come out delicious!

There were a few challenges with this cake.  One, I iced all four tiers in swiss meringue buttercream.  Needless to say, with the chocolate/ vanilla/ crumbs/ etc., it was challenging to achieve perfect uniform cover.  I can't stand the taste of decorator's buttercream, even though it is 100 times easier to work with, so I'm still perfecting my techniques.  SMBC can be a little temperamental, and I mean that quite literally.  Temperature changes cause it to change its color/ texture slightly... enough to be very aggravating.

It's also a bit unforgiving to pipe with... it's not like royal icing where you're much more likely to achieve a perfect finish.  It's easy enough to do shells, but I found it much harder to do the scrolls, and of course piping the drop strings was a bit of a nuisance.

This was also my first time setting up a cake with fresh flowers.  Granted, I had a pretty tall space to fill (next time I'll make it smaller) but at least it gave the cake lots of height.  The problem with real flowers (as opposed to gum paste) is that they settle... quickly.  So one minute you've got all your roses shoved in there tightly and then there's a gap a few minutes later.  And a few hours later there's a bigger gap.

I'm sure many of us cake decorators have reached the point of blurring your eyes and taking a few steps back and just trying to enjoy the visual impact, because when I look closely I see flaws.  And only the flaws.

Things that mattered-- the bride and groom loved it.  The guests loved it.  Everyone thought it tasted delicious.  One guy walked in for the cake cutting (not knowing that the person who made it was in the room) and said "That cake must have cost $10,000."  I laughed.

And thank you to the friends of mine who helped me carry everything in and set up quickly-- I couldn't have done it without you guys.

By the time I do my next cake, my PhD dissertation should be done!!!!!!!

And the best news for me-- the next cake on my agenda is covered in fondant. ;)

Best to you all!


  1. I attended the wedding and loved the tasty and beautiful cake! I ate four pieces, which is uncharacteristic of me...

  2. Really quite lovely. Well done! It looks SOO Smooth. I have the hardest time getting a super smooth finish in butter cream.

  3. cake looks awesome !!!
    Can I ask you a question, have you been able to pipe flowers with SMBC? I could pipe simple flowers but nevers roses... just wanted to know if there is any trick... SMBC tastes so much better !!


  4. Thanks all! I've never tried piping roses with SMBC. I imagine it would be too soft in its natural state-- you would probably have to refrigerate it a bit first and even then I'm not sure it would go terribly well! For elaborate piping, I would choose royal icing-- and for flowers, fondant or gum paste, but obviously we don't always have that luxury! :)

  5. Very lovely cake, Roxanne. So is the next cake going to be your graduation cake?