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Lucky for me, December and January bring many loved ones' birthdays. Including D's birthday.
D is sweet, gentle and such a culinary perfectionist, it's scary. You will find her spending many nights hunched over, decorating her little honey semolina cakelets with sugared almonds. Almonds that sit atop, perfectly angled with each corner and expertly pressed down.
They end up looking so identical and uniform, you're scared to touch one. You even feel bad eating one since they come out so picture perfect. But don't worry, her culinary skills rival her decorating ones, and rarely are her cakes left untouched.
So what better way to show her our love but by making her a cake that so obviously represents her style?
A rose cake,
delicate and pretty...
and pretty difficult to make!
I had first seen this cake at iambaker, a fabulous baking blog. She gives you detailed steps and instructions and makes it look oh, so effortless.
I really thought that I, the uninitiated cake decorator, can embellish a standard sponge cake with a few swirls (and unabashedly take the praise for its beauty). It didn't seem so difficult and offered such enticing results.
Well this is what it's supposed to look like.
And this is what I came up with after 3 hours of swirling, circling, removing crooked swirls, refilling icing bag, and trying just one more time to get it picture perfect. Though at last I gave in and gave up on that perfectly circular swirl with twisted sides and ideal texture that eluded me.
But it was fun, and D. loved it.
Happy Birthday to You!
Truthfully, I used Duncan Hines' Golden Butter Cake Mix.
My (valid) excuses: it's too easy, I had a box sitting in my pantry, I had other cooking responsibilities, it's easy, everyone loves it, it's easy
I know, I know it's unhealthy but so is the icing so...(shrug).
Though I did customize it...
1 box of Golden Butter cake mix
2/3 cup of orange juice
3 tb of vanilla instant pudding
1 stick of margarine
Mix and bake at 375F in an 8 inch pan for about 35-40 minutes.
Buttercream Recipe (Icing)
1 bag powder sugar (two pounds or about eight cups)
1 cup shortening (I used original Crisco)
1 tsp vanilla extract (use clear if you want white frosting)
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup milk (I used water to make it Parve)
Cream shortening and vanilla in mixer for 2-4 minutes. Add in powder sugar, one cup at a time. If you find your mixer struggling, slowing add in water. Use more water for a creamy consistency, use less water for a stiff consistency.
Detailed instructions can be found here.
- Dont add too much water to the icing, you want it to be as stiff as possible
- Before you begin decorating, put the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes (after the inital crumb coating)
- Once you are done making your swirls, refrigerate the cake so the roses stay firm
- Don't be afraid to undo your swirls and stuff the icing back into the pipe to redo
- Don't go crazy trying to make it "perfect"!