The base board was covered in sugarpaste, Layer 1 and 3 were filled and covered with a flavoured buttercream, Layer 2 was filled with strawberry jam and buttercream, and covered with sugarpaste, and Layer 4 was filled with buttercream and covered with sugarpaste.
The plan was for Layers 1 and 3 to be covered in cream cheese frosting - but being August and the weather being unpredictable, it was a humid 27 degrees. It was a disaster. So the buttercream was plan B. But a successful Plan B I think.
For the whole cake, I used about 6 quantities of buttercream - 1 quantity consisting of:
- 112g butter, unsalted, at room temperature;
- 450g icing sugar;
- 3 tbsp milk (varies - use more for crumb coating, use less for piping roses)
For the buttercream that was meant to be cream cheese I also added a few extra ingredients to each quantity of buttercream:
- 0.2ml LorAnn Cheesecake Flavouring Oil (available here)
- 3 tsp Sugarflair Superwhite (a whitening powder to make it less yellow, available here)
To make the buttercream, whisk the butter,and add the sugar a little at a time, with a few drops of milk if it gets too dry. The longer you whisk, the lighter and fluffier it will become.
1 x 16" Cake Drum
750g sugarpaste, coloured grey with Sugarpaste Sugarflair Liquorice Colouring
1.8m of 15mm wide ribbon - I used a red grosgrain ribbon.
Double sided sellotape
Roll out the sugarpaste into 4 long strips, 2 to be 16" long and 2.5" wide each, and 2 to be 12" long and 2.5" wide.
Brush the board with a small amount of water - which will act as your adhesive.
Lay the strips around the edge of the board, and blend the joins together so you can't see them. Use a fondant smoother to smooth out the joins and any fingerprints.
Tape around the edge of the board with double sided tape. Peel off the backing and attach the ribbon, with some overlap. Secure the overlap with a further piece of double sided tape.
You can do this stage as far in advance as you like - the earlier the better as it will set hard and will resist imprints when stacking the cake.
1 x 12" Square Hardboard (~4mm thick)
~3 quantities of flavoured buttercream
a No.30 icing nozzle
Icing bags - either disposable or reusuable
Put a small quantity of buttercream on the board, and stick one layer of red velvet cake onto the board. This means it won't slide anywhere.
Fill each layer of cake with buttercream and stack the 4 cakes.
Crumb coat the cake - this means cover the sides and top with a thin coat of buttercream to seal in all the crumbs.
Then fill an icing bag using a no. 30 nozzle with buttercream. Begin to pipe small roses onto the cake. Apply pressure to the bag, start in the middle of each flower, then work you way to the edge. Once the flower is the size you want, release the pressure and take the bag away from the cake. Be patient, on a 12" cake this can take a while! You will also need to refill your icing bag several times. If it is a hot day your hand will melt the buttercream in the icing bag, so put small quantities in the bag so you can pipe it before it melts.
This recipe "crusts" over, so is fairly stable in moderate high heats.
I did not refrigerate at any point after icing the cake as putting sponge in the fridge can often make it go a bit dense.
1 x 10" Square Hardboard
2kg grey sugarpaste - sugarpaste is available from cake decorating suppliers - Renshaw is a well known brand - however I use a sugarpaste made in my local cake decorating shop (available here)
200g white sugarpaste
1.25m of 15mm ribbon
double sided sellotape
1 quantity buttercream (not flavoured)
1 jar strawberry conserve (either Tiptree or Bonne Maman - it's worth investing - cheap jam will be too watery)
Trim your sponge cake to have a flat top. Then slice in half. A cake leveller is handy, but not essential, for this job.
Put a small quantity of buttercream in the board, and place the top of the cake face down on the board. This way we will get a really flat top as the bottom of the baked cake will now become the top.
Pipe a buttercream dam around the edge of the bottom half of the cake (to stop the jam splurging out) and put a thick layer of jam (a whole jar) inside the dam.
Put a layer of buttercream on the other half and place together. Right, now you should have the bottom of the baked cake facing upwards, filled in the middle with buttercream and jam. Crumb coat the cake and put to one side.
Dust a large work surface with icing sugar and roll out just under half of your grey sugarpaste. Roll it out to about 3-4mm thick, large enough to cover the cake top and sides, approximately 16" x 16".
Place the sugarpaste on top of the cake and squeeze out any air bubbles. Smooth down the sides. This is an art and requires practice. I won't try and explain it in writing but I suggest you refer to youtube for this technique! Don't worry about being tidy with this layer - this is only a base layer so if you get cracks and tears in it, don't worry about it.
Leave this is a cake box for at least 12hours, to dry and harden up. You can do the next layer straight away but this hardening process gives you a better base to work on for the top layer.
Do the same process for the top layer of sugarpaste, using the rest of the sugarpaste - but this time, be a lot neater. Before you lay the sugarpaste on the cake, brush a thin layer of water over the base coat of sugarpaste to make it a bit tacky, for the top coat to stick to.
This post is turning out to be much longer than I thought! Will finish writing it soon...