Recipe Testing Tuesdays: Beautiful Buttercream Birthday Cake

So, it was my birthday yesterday, whoo hoo! And for the first time ever, I made a birthday cake for myself. I have no idea why I had never done that before, because it was really fun, fulfilling and I was over the moon with the result!

Beautiful Buttercream Birthday Cake

The reasons I love this cake so much are, first of all, it's beautiful. Vibrant colours and pretty flowers can't never go wrong. Then it's the taste. All the fillings & decorations are made of buttercream & chocolate, for people like me who don't like to eat fondant icings, this is just perfect! The last but not the least is that, despite the sophisticated look, it's actually not difficult to make. Here, let me show you how it's done.

Buttercream

ONE: Buttercream. Lately I've been making a lot of cupcakes, which uses lots of buttercream, so I made a big batch of buttercream and keep in a few air tight containers in the fridge. It will last for as long as 2 months. You can even freeze buttercream for up to 6 months. When you want use it, all you need to do is return it to room temperature and give it a good whisk. If it's still a little too stiff or lumpy, I some times zap it in the microwave oven for 15-20 seconds. That'll melt the butter a bit and when you whisk it'll get really smooth and easy to pipe.

My favourite (and the easiest) buttercream recipe is:

1 portion of soft unsalted butter

1.5 potion of sifted icing sugar

A dash of milk (optional)

Cream the butter in a stand mixer until really smooth (you can use a hand mixer but because you need to whisk for quite a long time, your arm will get really really sore, I've tried...), add the icing sugar in one go if you could to save time. Make sure you mix the icing sugar with the butter with a spatula first, otherwise when you turn on the mixer, half of the icing sugar will end up out side the bowl and you will be standing in a white cloud of sugar! When the sugar is roughly mixed with the butter you can turn the mixer on to the lowest setting. Add a little bit of milk at this stage. Once all the sugar is combined with the butter, turn the mixer to medium setting and leave it on for 3-5 minutes. I found by beating the buttercream longer it made the texture much lighter and fluffier.

Buttercream flowers

TWO: Piped flowers. Once you have your buttercream ready you can add food colourings to create any shade you like. Gel food colourings are usually recommended, because unlike liquid or powder food colourings, they won't change the texture of the buttercream. With different piping nozzles you can create a variety of flowers. Here are a few I have experimented but there are literarily 100s of flowers have been created with buttercream by different cake artists. I loved making these, I will try to put a tutorial together to show you how these are made. These flowers were piped onto a small piece of baking paper then laid on a tray to chill in the fridge way ahead of time or at least over night, so they're very firm and can be peeled off from the baking paper by hand then positioned on the cake without being squashed.

The design

THREE: The design. Making a cake is like building a house, before preparing the materials, you must first visualise the design and plan the process. I like to draw my designs on the paper so I can see exactly what I need & how much I need.

FOUR: The cake. Simple vanilla & chocolate sponges can be exciting too! How? By sandwich flavoured buttercream fillings in them. Here's what I did:

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Line the bottom of two 6" round cake tins with baking paper

Soft salted butter x 150g

Golden caster sugar x 150g

Medium eggs x 2

Vanilla extract x 1tsp

Self raising flour x 150g

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC

  2. In a bowl, with your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

  4. Add the the Vanilla extract and mix well.

  5. Fold in the flour with a spatula until well-combined and you have a smooth, lump-free batter.

  6. Evenly distribute the batter in to the cake tins and smooth the top a little.

  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the cakes have come away from the tin on the edges.

  8. Use a knife run along the edges of the cakes make sure it's not stuck at the bottom. Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Sponge Cake

Line the bottom of two 6" round cake tins with baking paper

Soft salted butter x 150g

Golden caster sugar x 150g

Medium eggs x 2

Cocoa powder x 25g

Self raising flour x 115g

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC

  2. In a bowl, with your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

  4. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder with a spatula until well-combined and you have a smooth, lump-free batter.

  5. Evenly distribute the batter in to the cake tins and smooth the top a little.

  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the cakes have come away from the tin on the edges.

  7. Use a knife run along the edges of the cakes make sure it's not stuck at the bottom. Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the sponges are completely cool, wrap each of them in cling film & chill in the fridge to firm up over night, so it's much easier to work with and you will have less crumb falling off them.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

Pre-made buttercream x 200g

Smooth peanut butter x 100g

Add peanut butter into the buttercream, mix until smooth & creamy.

Strawberry Buttercream

Pre-made buttercream x 100g

Seedless strawberry jam x 50g (remove large lumps of fruit)

Add the jam into the buttercream, mix until well-combined.

Crumb coat the cake with buttercream

FIVE: Asemble the cake. Following the design, stack the cakes then crumb coat with buttercream. Pipe and smooth coloured buttercream on the side of the cake to create the stripes. Melt some pink candy melts and drip from the top edge of the cake with a piping bag. Finally arrange the buttercream flowers on the top and side of the cake, using buttercream to stick them to the cake.

Buttercream Flower Cake

SIX: Finishing touches. Using a leave nozzle pipe some leaves to fill up the gaps between flowers.

Buttercream flowers

Don't you just love all the colours!

Buttercream flowers

And all the pretty flowers.

Layer cake cut up

It's even pretty on the inside! Not to mention the flavours... Peanut butter is such a people pleaser.

So that's my birthday cake, pretty awesome right? Although it's only 6" in diameter but it's double the height of a normal cake, so it can easily feed 30 people!

I really enjoyed make this cake and even though it took me ages to writ this post up, I have to say I enjoyed sharing this recipe with you. Hope you like it too. Bye-bye now, until next time!

#buttercream #birthdaycake #buttercreamflowers #recipe

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