Guess who got a new set of pastry tips and bags for their birthday?
As if you couldn’t see that coming.
A couple hundred years ago, I did in fact take a class on decorating cakes, but inadequate tools prevented me from practicing or retaining anything I learned. Now I’m re-teaching myself, trial and error, leaving a path of splattered frosting in my wake. I swear, one could have sold tickets to watch me simply trying to fill the pastry bag: A half hour long spectacle of the wrong way to even contemplate going about it! Needless to say, copious curses could be heard emanating from the kitchen as I fought to the death with that plastic cone. Thankfully, I ultimately emerged the victor.
Much of the difficulty lay in manipulating the frosting itself, because I had allowed the margarine to defrost on the counter all morning, and by the time I returned from school, I found the yellow sticks to be as soft as mashed potatoes. Barely capable of resisting even the most gentle prodding, I foolishly hoped for the best and tossed them into my stand mixer, worried about time constraints as I was. Yes, it worked out alright… But it was a beast to smooth over the double-decker cake. Not as cooperative in exiting my pastry bag as I had wanted either, but I recovered by switching up the border designs to slightly less complicated configurations.
It’s a little hard to tell from these shots, but this was also my first attempt at using a cake comb. So very excited, but I was ill prepared for such a venture. With no lazy suzan to turn the cake, I rotated it by hand, pressing the comb gently to the exterior, but the results were uneven and lumpy. Going back over it applying more pressure, I achieved something almost uniform in appearance, but in some places the comb dug in too deep and actually sheared off crumbs of the underlying layers. Ah well, can’t expect the first time to be perfect, and it was nothing that more frosting couldn’t fix anyway.
The cake unlucky enough to be subjected to my experiments was actually for my little cousin, who happens to be celebrating her 13th birthday this weekend. Wanting to appeal to her grown-up taste buds, I used the cappuccino cupcake recipe originally found in VCToTW, doubled, and baked in two 8” cake pans. The frosting is a basic chocolate vegan buttercream, with a dash of additional instant coffee powder for a slightly mocha flavor. Sandwiched between the two layers resides the same frosting, because I ran out of time to make a different filling, but I don’t think that anyone was too upset about this transgression.