Cinco de Mayo!

So excited to share this cutie cake with you… and yes, I DID match my outfit to the cake! That’s totally normal, right?!?

My dear friend Katie has been a loyal customer for a couple of years, since the birth of her two beautiful boys, so it’s always an honor to celebrate these milestones with her family! Today we’re celebrating James and Theo’s birthdays – and the theme, Cinco de Mayo!

This cake is actually much more simple to make than it looks… so here are the steps below! The first part of the process, in terms of layering and icing the cake is pretty common for any cake you make! So whether you’re copying this design, or doing your own thing… the base cake and icing procedure will be pretty standard to any cake you make!

The pictures are not ideal so I apologize- it was getting dark, I was alone, and if you could see the disaster that is my apt right now… you will understand why they’re so close up, ha!

Here’s what you need:

  • Round cake pans – 6 in in diameter
  • A spinning cake stand (or lazy a Lazy Susan works)
  • A flat edge piece of plastic, or metal cake scrapper (if you have a large wall putty tool that works too, ha!)
  • Wilton # 103 icing tip
  • Piping bags (regular ziplock bags will work, but get the freezer kind that are a little thicker)
  • Icing smoother
  • Wine and/or a shot of tequilla

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OK, so first – bake the cake (obviously)! Divide the batter evenly into the pans, I usually put about a cup and a half in each one. If you’re using just one pan at a time, split your batter into four even batches so they come out even heights. If you are using a box cake – you will need to make two to have enough batter for four layers. Once the cakes cool down, you will need to level them – so essentially cut off the part of the cake that is rounded at the top. I just free hand this with a bread knife. There are other fancy ways to do this with toothpicks and string, and there is a tool you can buy that does this, but I’m old school and just hack at it with a knife! If your cakes are even heights, you essentially just need to cut off right at the top of the edge of the cake – and TADA, they’re all even and ready to stack.

 

Google a butter cream recipe – do not even attempt to use canned icing from the store. The consistency is just not ideal for this type of cake, and it will not set how a buttercream frosting does! Plus, buttercream just takes like heaven and is so easy to make. Essentially its vanilla, butter, and powdered sugar, and you can use a little milk to help the consistency if it gets too thick.

Once the buttercream is made – you can add food coloring to get your desired shade! I recommend the wilton gel food coloring. It’s much more potent than the liquid food coloring you can get in any basic drug store isle. Walmart and other stores will have a lot of Wilton products in the actual isle where you buy baking pans and trays – otherwise, go to Michaels for all the fun decorating tools you will ever need!

You can load up an icing bag if you want to start the icing process, or you can just free hand. Add a little blob of icing to the middle of your cake circle, this will hold the cake in place once the icing has set. If your using an icing bag, just make a big spiral and smooth it until the top layer of cake is covered. Otherwise, add generous blob of icing in the middle of the first cake layer. Evenly smooth it out to the edges with your spatula. Since you cut the top of the cake off, try to work the icing around as best as possible, without ripping the cake or touching the spatula to the cake itself. Once your icing is about 1/4 in thick and level, add the next cake layer on top! Once that layer has icing on top, run the flat edge of the spatula around the outside of the cake layer and wipe off the excess icing that is peeking through the sides.

 

I repeat this process twice, and then let the cake set in the fridge for about a half hour. This hardens the icing and will prevent the cake from moving/sliding. Then I’ll add the other two layers. The top layer you want to get as smooth and even as you can before you put the cake back in the fridge! This can be done with the spatula, or with your metal cake scraper.

 

Once the cake is layered – its time to ice the outside! This can be the most frustrating part until you get the hang of it, so just be kind to yourself, and take your time! You start by just putting generous blobs on the outside of the cake. I like to start at the bottom and work my way up as I go around. You will scrape a generous amount off the sides, so don’t ever worry that you’re putting to much on! Once the whole cake is covered, you will take your plastic or metal scraper, and stand it upright along the side of the cake. Keep the scraper as steady as you can, and move the spinning cake stand slowly. This will allow you to get a smooth edge, and you will not need to move your hand, and will have straight sides! You will have to go around a few times to get it right. If you get a hole, or scrape too much, you just load up the icing again and start that area over again – (this is the part that can drive you nuts!) This is where the wine or shot of tequila comes in handy – stress relief!

 

Once the cake is iced and as smooth as you can get it – you can scrape the top again from the outside in. This will take off the excess around the top edge, and if you work from the outside in – you wont have to worry about the sides getting uneven or smudged again.

Put the cake in the fridge and let it set for half hour. If your icing is smooth enough from the instructions I just gave – you’re done! Decorate as you please with other colored icing, fondant, sprinkles – you name it! If you really want to get all the kinks out of the icing, use a Viva paper towel (has to be viva) and the icing smoother tool. Carefully place the paper towel around the edge of the cake, and use the smoother to gently run over the sides. Seems super weird – I know, but it works. Your icing must be cold and not room temperature, otherwise it will stick to the paper towel. No need for that on this cake since the ruffles will cover the base layer of icing!

For the ruffles I used a Wilton tip # 103. I separated all the different colors of icing and put them in their own piping bags. If you don’t want to buy the same tip for every color of icing your using, then have a separate empty bag for the tip that you can just swap all the colors into, then you wont be cutting bags open each time you switch colors.

 

Next part is the fun part! Using the tip, make a wave type motion and rotate your cake as you go alone the outside edge. I did one layer of each color. Once you get to the top, you are finished! Applied the same technique to the little cupcakes I made as well. I did a similar method with different color icing for my god daughter’s cake with all pink icings… so this is such a fun and easy way to ice a cake for any occasion using different colors of icing!

 

I hope this helps – I will be sure to add video tutorials in the near future! Happy cake making!

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