"Bludgeoning hard times with a rolling pin"

"Bludgeoning hard times with a rolling pin"

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cheery springtime cake



You don’t need to be a professional cake decorator to “wow” family and friends with a pretty cake.

For the cake in the photo, coconut was tinted green to simulate grass; and royal icing was used to create the colorful decoration toppers. It’s all so easy to do. Here’s how:

First of all, make a cake and frost it.

To tint coconut:

Place one cup of coconut in a baggie along with 2 or 3 drops of food coloring. Seal the bag. Shake and squeeze. Make sure color gets through all coconut clumps.

The coconut is now ready to be used for decorating.

Tips:

Add another drop of coloring to darken the batch.
Add more coconut to lighten the color.
Save money by using an empty bread bag for this job. Just twist and hold the end shut.

To make royal icing decorations:

In a mixer on low speed, mix for 7 minutes:
3 tablespoons meringue powder (found in the craft/wedding supplies area at the store)
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons warm water

Portion amounts of icing into small bowls. Add food coloring or paste to create one color per bowl of icing and mix thoroughly.

Transfer icing into decorator bags, squirt bottles or even a baggie with the corner snipped. One color in each, of course.

I find the squirt bottles easy to use and clean. They also can be found in the craft/wedding supplies area at the store. The bottles come two to a pack.

Lay some waxed paper down and begin creating fun, colorful shapes. The icing should be rather thick. Avoid making designs with thin lines, because the shape may break upon removing from paper. The fatter the shape, the better.

As long as you are physically able to use your hand muscles to squeeze the icing onto the waxed paper, it is not too thick. If it is really uncomfortable to squeeze out, remove the icing from the bottle or bag, stir in a drop or two of water and return icing to the bottle or bag. Flatten unintentional icing peaks by pushing the peaks down as soon as possible with a finger moistened with water.

Make extra shapes of similar size. When you think the icing has hardened (after a few hours or overnight) remove these extra shapes from the paper first. If they peel off easily, your real designs probably will, too. And practice shapes are just as yummy as the real thing—a sweet treat for the baker!

If you are going to top the cake with coconut, do so at this time.

Carefully peel your gorgeous designs from the waxed paper and lay them onto the cake. I recommend using a layer of coconut first because it is so forgiving. The icing pieces can be tried in a few different spots before final placement. Just fluff the coconut and no one is the wiser.

All that’s left to do is enjoy the praise…and eat some cake!

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