Hey y’all… I’m doing the holiday thing early (or right on time, in blogger world). I realize that I posted my 4th of July cake ON the 4th of July, and my holiday cookies on December 30th (oy vey) and that does not give readers enough time to make these holiday items for the actual holiday (unless they have a time machine…if you do, please let me know). I wanted to make mini-cakes for St. Paddy’s day that reminded me (and hopefully you too!) of little lucky pots of gold! (I have recently been informed that it is actually St. PADDY’s day and not St. Patty’s day…learn something new every day huh?!)
So instead of spending the money to buy mini-cake pans, I decided to make 9-in cakes and then cut circles with a cookie cutter about 4″ in diameter. I thought it was a pretty decent money saving technique but next time I make a mini-cake, I’ll probably just splurge on the pans… read the Verdict below, to see why.
So instead of spending the money to buy mini-cake pans, I decided to make 9-in cakes and then cut circles with a cookie cutter about 4″ in diameter. I thought it was a pretty decent money saving technique but next time I make a mini-cake, I’ll probably just splurge on the pans… read the Verdict below, to see why.I have been dying to make dripping cakes like this one from Smitten Kitchen, or this one from Sweetapolita. Unfortunately, both of those dripping effects were made from chocolate, which is dark brown (not gold). I asked around as to how I could get that effect with a white icing (so I could paint it) and worked with my pal Jenni over at the Balanced Pastry Chef, to determine that royal icing would probably work best. I thinned it down a bit by heating it and adding a little extra water, so that it was easy to spread out and drip over the edge. It worked out pretty well. I definitely haven’t mastered the technique but I think I did a decent job for my first try (right?).
SO HERE IS HOW I DID IT/HOW IT WENT:
Your favorite white cake recipe (I had a ton left over, because like I said, I just made 9 in cake layers and cut out smaller circles–I put the leftovers in a ziploc bag in the fridge to nibble on)
Your favorite fondant (I used a homemade marshmallow fondant)
Your favorite buttercream recipe (I used my favorite simple buttercream with 2 sticks of softened butter, 1lb. confectioner’s sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract) (I only needed about half of this)
Royal icing (approximately 1/4 cup)
Americolor (or similar brand) food color gels in GREEN and BLACK (I got mine in a set, which I highly recommend!)
Americolor (or similar brand) edible gold paint
Gold disco dust
Mini-cake pans (4″ – 6″) or a cookie cutter about that size (round obviously)
- Make the fondant, cake, and buttercream. Dye the fondant as deep black as you can (I dyed it before kneading it and a bit during, whenever it began to fade). Dye the cake batter a deep green (or light, it’s really up to you) before baking and dye the buttercream green as well (I dyed the buttercream slightly darker, but it might look better lighter, you try and let me know hah).
- Make the cake in 9″ pans (or mini-pans if you have them). I made my cake into two layers as opposed to three, to make it easier to work with and because two seemed more appropriate for a mini-cake
- Assemble the cake: After baking the cakes and letting them cool, level the cake layers. Cut out the mini circles from the larger circles using a cookie cutter. Take one layer and place it on your cake stand (or small plate in my case) and then add a layer of buttercream to the top, then add the next layer. Then add buttercream to the top and smooth. Add buttercream around the edges of the cake and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Remove the cakes and add the rest of the buttercream, trying your best to keep it smooth (this matters when it comes time to add the fondant).
- Roll out your fondant and place it on the cake, then vigorously smooth the fondant until it is as smooth as possible. I removed the excess fondant from the bottom by cutting around the edge of the cake very carefully, in small sections, with a paring knife. I then took the excess fondant, re-rolled it out and then used it to cover the second mini-cake.
- Let the fondant dry (time will vary depending on what fondant you used).
- Make your royal icing. I had leftover royal icing from another project, so I just re-heated it and whipped it back up in my mixer, but if you make new royal icing, that is fine too, you won’t need much. You want it to be a smooth consistency… not too wet, but not super thick because it will make it hard to spread around and push over the edge. I used a little bit of the gold paint and mixed it in with the royal icing before putting it on the cake, so that it would be easier to paint the royal icing gold after it dried.
- Pour a small amount of royal icing on the top of one of the cakes in the center. Smooth outward with an offset spatula, adding more royal icing when necessary. Allow the royal icing to drip off the side of the cake naturally–don’t push all of it to the edge because it will all go over the edge and then won’t be as “drippy.” Repeat with the second cake.
- After the royal icing dries (I let it dry overnight in the fridge), paint the royal icing with a thin (but not too thin) layer of the gold paint.
- After the first layer of paint dries, paint another layer, and while this paint is still wet, sprinkle the disco dust on top. I did so by putting the disco dust into a coffee filter and then sprinkling it with my fingers. (this also makes it easy to just pour it back in to the glitter container)
- Work with one cake at a time.
I did one cake with glitter all over and one with just a little glitter. I think I actually prefer the one with less glitter but still undecided! Jury?
That’s pretty much it! Let me know what you think, if you try it, what you like/don’t like, etc. Before making your own, however, I suggest you read the Verdict, below, to see what I would change about this cake/the process. I used a gold doily for each cake to display, both because I think it was cute and St. Paddy’s Day-esque and also because I handmade that cake stand with a candle stick and wood plate spray painted (not so good for food) so needed something between the cake and the stand! Serve with Baileys on the rocks (delish)!
The Verdict: Overall, I was happy with the finished product. It certainly wasn’t perfect and there is probably a lot I would change. For starters, I may invest in some actual mini-cake pans. While my cookie-cutter creation of mini-cakes was very economical, it caused them to break slightly and they were not easy to ice with the buttercream AT ALL. It probably would have been easier had I frozen the layers for about 15 minutes first before cutting, or frozen the mini layers for at least 30 minutes before attempting to ice them. My bad. That’s why they came out all wonky shaped and not perfectly round cakes like I had imagined in my head.
Exhibit A: wonky
Another thing I would change, is that I would probably have tried a different gold paint and gold disco dust. The gold paint turned out to be alright but it had a wee bit of a greenish tint that I didn’t love and the disco dust had more of a brassy/reddish tint that I loved even less. But I bought them from Amazon and there isn’t really much you can do about that.
Exhibit B: kinda greenish
Exhibit C: reddish/brassy disco dust
Also, I would have liked to not have waited until after work to take pictures because the lighting is not great and because I was racing the sunset, I didn’t have time to let my cake sit out. I would have liked to let the cake sit out for about 10 minutes to let the buttercream and royal icing warm up closer to room temperature. Because I didn’t wait on the royal icing, it cracked when I cut it (not a lot, see below) but once it was out for about 10 minutes, I was able to slice through it a bit easier.
Exhibit D: Cracked out
And now I’m going to go force-feed a Guinness to Matt because I paid $3 for it to be a food prop, and I’m unemployed…not good home economics. I’ll drink the Bailey’s myself ;)
P.S. if you are a lawyer (or a dork), you may know that you cannot enter in exhibits during the Verdict… they can only be presented during your case in chief, but whatever, not in blog world :-P Okay…now it’s really time to have that Bailey’s (P.P.S I’m writing this at night and posting it tomorrow morning so, no, I’m not drinking at 9am)
HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!