Spring Themed Palette Knife Painted Cake – Tutorial

Happy First Day of Spring! To celebrate I decided to try my hand at a Palette Knife Painted Cake. Using a spatula and buttercream frosting you basically paint a picture, design, flowers onto the sides of a cake. It’s definitely a lot more forgiving that piping a design on a cake and cake easily be fixed with a little more buttercream and some extra strokes of your spatula.

I used a yellow box cake mix to bake a two layer 6-inch cake. While the cake was cooling I whipped up a batch of my go-to Fluffy-Vanilla Frosting from Martha Stewart. I reserved about 3/4 cup of the frosting and then applied a thin crumb coat to the cake and then refrigerated the cake for about 30 minutes. While the cake was in the refrigerator I tinted the reserved 3/4 cup yellow and tinted the remaining frosting teal, for the background of the cake.

I then applied a generous amount of frosting to the cake and smoothed it as much as possible. I wanted a fairly thick layer of frosting around the cake for the next steps.

Next, using the tines of a fork I created a basket weave pattern around the cake. To begin, I placed the tines of a fork at the base of the cake and dragged them upwards about 1-inch. You don’t want to press so deeply that you are touching the cake though, hence, having a thick coat of frosting on the cake. Then, holding the tines horizontally above the first set of lines on the left I dragged the fork to the right stopping when I reached the last line from the bottom set of lines. I repeated this pattern up the side of the cake until I reached the top. I then started the next row with a set of horizontal lines, and then vertical and so forth. Continuing the alternating pattern until the entire cake was covered.

I then reserved about a tablespoon of the teal frosting and then tinted the remaining frosting green by adding in green gel food coloring. Using a tapered spatula and starting at the base of the cake I began dragging the tip of the spatula through the buttercream to create stems. Making sure not to press too deep as to touch the cake, but, going deep enough to create a channel. I passed the spatula through a few times to make sure it was deep enough making sure to wipe the spatula between each pass. I did this around the cake and even added in a few smaller channels between the larger stems.

To paint these channels, I picked up a small dollop of the green frosting and then using my fingers I round the frosting onto the tip of spatula so it was smooth. Next, I simply dragged the frosting through the channels. I repeated this step – making sure to wipe the spatula between each pass – until all of my stems were painted with frosting. At this point I placed the cake in the refrigerator for about an hour.

After the hour, I removed the cake from the refrigerator. Using the reserved yellow buttercream I painted flowers onto the cake. Using a rounded spatula I picked up a small dollop of yellow frosting and once again smoothed it with my fingers. I then pressed the dollop onto the cake and pulled the spatula away to create a petal. I continued doing this around the cake. I’ll admit, my petal didn’t come out exactly as I had hoped. This step actually reminded me of the pulled dot design on a cake. I actually wondered afterwards if it would have been easier to create the petals using that technique, although then the cake wouldn’t completely be a palette knife painted cake then.

I got the idea for this cake from The Cake Blog, for more detailed instructions click here .

 

Mummy Cake

Are you looking for an easy Halloween cake to make? Well, this Mummy Cake might be the one. It’s simple, doesn’t take a lot of time and you don’t need any fancy cake decorating skills to make it. I got the idea and directions from The Cake Girls. They have an online shop with a bunch of cool baking supplies, recipes and step-by-step tutorials with detailed pictures. I first came across their website on a blog I follow, The Cake Blog. A blog that has an array of wonderful recipes and cake decorating ideas and instructions from various bakers and cake designers.

I purchased a skull pan from The Cake Girls website to create the mummy. Now, if you are a good cake carver you could simply bake a box cake mix (or your favorite cake recipe) in a 9×13 inch pan and then carve out the shape of a skull. Or, if you already own one here’s a new idea to put it to good use. I own quite a few shaped pans that I’ve only used once, but I won’t part with them just in case.

   

To begin, I sprayed the cake pan with baking spray and then poured my cake batter (I used a box cake mix) into the pan. I placed the pan on a baking sheet and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. I let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes and then inverted it onto a cake board to cool completely. Don’t worry if your cake has a small dome on it and doesn’t lay completely flat. You will be able to hide this minor imperfection with the frosting design. Once the cake was cool I lightly wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it in the freezer overnight. Having the cake cold makes frosting it much easier. This was my first time freezing a cake and while I know bakeries and a lot of home bakers do it all the time I have always been apprehensive to do so because I fear the cake will end up having a weird taste/aftertaste once it defrosts. But, I am happy to say that this was not the case.

Before removing my cake from the freezer I made the frosting. I decided to make the frosting that was recommended on The Cake Girls website, Brenda’s Bakery Buttercream. It involves using butter and Crisco, which I am sure some people will frown at, but, when I took the Wilton Decorating Classes a few years ago there go-to frosting recipe included Crisco and I recall it tasting great and holding its shape well when it came to decorating. Something else new I tried… Using chocolate frosting (store bought) to make black frosting. I recently read that making black and red frosting is easier to create when starting with chocolate frosting. I can attest that that is the case for black frosting, but, will have to test the theory for red frosting. Perhaps with a Christmas themed cake. Oh, one other thing I tried, Wilton’s new Color Right Performance Food Coloring, for some reason I thought it was only for chocolate (don’t ask me why) but after doing a little research I learned it can be used on frosting. I believe I saw a video on Instagram of someone using it and that prompted me to find out more about it. I must say, I definitely liked the dropper bottles a lot more than their usual gel color containers. I always seem to get the gel on my hands and they get all clumpy and what not after being opened. I think the dropper bottles are the way to go. They are also supposed to be more concentrated so you can get the color you want a lot quicker and can easily mix the colors to get different hues.

Okay, so once my frostings were ready it was time to get to work. I started by applying a thin coat of white frosting on the skull leaving the eye socket area uniced. I iced the socket area and the sides of the cake in that area with the black frosting. At this point I placed the cake in the fridge for a few minutes because I found that the black frosting wasn’t smooth as I was getting a lot of crumbs mixed into it. While the cake was in the refrigerator I prepped two piping bags with two different tips, Ateco #128 (an XL rose decorating tip) and # 45 (a flat decorating tip), and filled each with the white frosting. Also, I prepped the eyeballs for the cake. I purchased Styrofoam eyeballs from my local craft store and using a sharp knife sliced them in half so they would sit flat on the cake.

 

Once the cake had chilled for a bit I added more black frosting to the cake and was able to smooth the icing.

Now it was time to decorate…Starting with the larger tip, I began piping stripes of icing across the cake. Not just merely on top of the cake, but on the sides as well. I covered up some of the black icing, but, left enough of a gap to place the eyeballs. I kept piping until the cake was covered. Don’t worry about minor imperfections or the frosting not laying completely flat, you can cover up anything and everything with the next step.

Once the cake had been covered in the large stripes, I used the smaller tip to fill in any gaps and to give the cake more definition. To give it a more ragged look, I started these smaller stripes from different points on the cake, not just edge to edge. I also added some pieces to the sides of the cake on the cake board as well. And finally, I placed the eyeballs on the cake. I covered the back of them with the black frosting before placing them on the cake so there wouldn’t be the chance of any small Styrofoam pieces getting stuck to the cake and accidentally eaten. What’s really nice about this cake is that there is no right way or wrong way to decorate it. You could go crazy with adding the stripes to give it a real ragged look, or keep it clean and simple with the stripes. Either way, your cake will look perfect.

Zebra Cake

It’s one thing when a cake is appealing to the eye on the outside, but, when you cut into a cake and reveal a hidden surprise on the inside your eyes widen in wonder and delight. That’s the excitement behind a Piñata Cake. Who wouldn’t want to cut a slice of cake to only have sprinkles and candy come cascading out? A smile (and squeals from little one’s) is sure to follow. The same can be had when the cake itself reveals a pattern or design. Think of a Checkerboard Cake (Sorry for the pictures in both of those posts – Nighttime baking is not a blogger’s friend when it comes to taking pictures.)

I recently made a cake to celebrate a friend’s daughters (aka my nieces) dance recital performance – it was their first. Since I was making a cake for one of their birthdays the day before I didn’t want to make another chocolate cake for their recital celebration. And since I was making a themed cake for that birthday I also didn’t want to make a cake that I would have to heavily decorate – I was actually able to find doll-sized versions of their dancing shoes to top the cake with so I figured that was perfect enough decoration. So, I figured I should do something special with the inside. After a little thought I decided to make a zebra cake with a Nutella mousse filling since they both like the hazelnut spread.

To make things super easy I went with box cake mix – a yellow cake mix and a chocolate cake mix. I prepared both per the box directions. Whenever I use cake mix I normally use Duncan Hines. One of the reasons, and it will sound silly, is because it has a Wilton approved emblem on it. Truth be told though, Duncan Hines is perfect for making a zebra cake because they do not have pudding in the mix which can make the cake batter thick and not ideal for making this cake.

Once my batters were prepared, I poured a ¼ cup of the yellow cake batter in the center of two 8-inch cake pans that I sprayed with baking spray. Next, I poured a ¼ cup of the chocolate cake batter in the center of the yellow cake batter, and then a ¼ cup of the chocolate cake mix in the center of the previously poured yellow cake mix. I continued in this pattern until the pan was about 2/3 full. You won’t use all of the batters, but, just about.

I gently tapped the pans down and then baked them in a preheated 350 F oven for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. I let the cakes cool in the pans for about 15 minutes and then inverted them on cooling racks to cool completely.

One cooled, I torte the cakes to remove the dome that formed on both. The zebra pattern was instantly visible and I was quite excited that it worked.

The pattern was even more visible once the cake was layered and cut into.

You could really customize this cake. Use a white cake mix and tint it colors to show your team spirit, someone’s favorite colors or even a gender reveal cake.

And here’s a pic of the birthday cake I made the same weekend – An Elena of Avalor themed cake.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I recently made a Pineapple Upside Down Cake for a birthday celebration. Secretly I was happy to make it because it meant I wouldn’t have to make frosting to decorate the cake and I could final try a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Yes, I have never had it before. Not really sure why… I like pineapples and obviously I like cake, but, it never crossed my mind to make one.  Well, as they say, there’s no time like the present.

This cake is super simple to make, especially if you use a box yellow cake mix. After preheating my oven to 350 F, I melted a stick of unsalted butter directly in a 9×13 inch pan in the oven. I checked on the butter every so often to make sure it didn’t burn and also to tilt the pan so the butter wouldn’t melt in one spot. Once the butter had melted I removed the pan from the oven and sprinkled 1 cup of light brown sugar over the butter. Next, I arranged 12 pineapple slices – I used pineapple slices in pineapple juice and I reserved the juice to make the cake – and then place a maraschino cherry inside of each pineapple.

Next, I prepared the cake mix per the box directions. The cake mix called for 1 cup of water and I opted to use ½ cup of the reserved pineapple juice and ½ of water. You could also use an entire cup of pineapple juice. Since this was my first time make the cake I didn’t want to go overboard with the pineapple flavor, next time though – yes, there will be a next time for this cake – I will use the entire cup. Once the batter was ready I poured it over the pineapples and cherries in my prepared pan. I was concerned that the cake might end up sticking to the sides of the pan, but, once I added the batter to the pan some of the melted butter rose up to the sides so I didn’t have to worry about that. I spread the batter a little to even it out and then baked it for about 40 minutes – until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake came out clean.

I let the cake cool for a few minutes in the pan and then inverted it onto a cake board and platter. I was initially just going to use the cake board, but, was concerned that the syrup that was created by the butter and sugar would spill over so I went with the platter as well. After inverting it, I let the pan rest on the cake for a few minutes to make sure that all of yumminess had dripped down. I easily removed the pan and a few pineapple stuck to the pan, I removed them and placed them on the cake.

I can’t wait to make this cake again. It only took about an hour from start to finish and while I was concerned that it would be overly sweet and that the cake would be very thin, the outcome couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The cake was just the right height and was fluffy and light and the sweetness was right on point with the cake, pineapples and light brown sugar. One other thing that’s nice, thanks to the pineapples it’s so easy to cut this cake into 12 equal portions!

 

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

12 pineapple slices in pineapple juice, reserve the juice*

12 maraschino cherries

1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients listed on box to make cake**

 

*I used a 20 oz. can & an 8 oz. can. The 20 oz. can had 10 slices and the 8 oz. had 4.

**Substitute the water with the pineapple juice

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place the stick of butter in a 9×13 inch pan and place in the oven to melt. This will take a few minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter. Arrange the pineapple slices over the sugar and then place a cherry in the center of each pineapple slice. Set aside.

Prepare the cake mix per the box instructions and then pour over the pineapple slices. You can tap the pan down or use a spatula to even out the batter.

Place in the oven and bake 35 – 45 minutes, until the cake has browned and pulled away from the sides of the pan.

Let the cake cool for a few minutes and then invert on a platter. Let the pan sit on top of the cake for a few additional minutes so all of the syrup can drain out and then remove the pan. If any pineapples or cherries remain on the pain just remove them and place them on the cake.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Boston Cream Pie

I remember when I was younger I was not a fan of filled donuts. Jelly, cream, chocolate, whatever the filling, it was not my thing. Fast forward a few years and I can eat them now, but, and I apologize if this sounds a little gross, I squeeze out the excess filling first and then eat the donut. I just don’t like the filling to overpower the donut and that seems to happen a lot with filled donuts. And that, in a very roundabout way brings me to today’s post… A Boston Cream Pie. A yellow cake filled with custard and glazed with chocolate. I’ve have it in a donut form, but, the pie version is a 100x better.

I began by making the cake. To do so I started off by sifting cake flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. In my stand mixer I whisked eggs and sugar on high speed for 15 minutes. This part is integral as it ensure that the cake will be light and airy. Once the egg and sugar mixture was ready – it will be pale and tripled in volume – I gently folded in the flour mixture in two addition with a rubber spatula. And finally, I added in whole milk, vegetable oil and vanilla and returned the bowl to my stand mixer and beat it until everything was combined. I poured the batter in a 9-inch round cake pan that I sprayed with baking spray and baked it in a 350 F oven for about a half hour.

While the cake was in the oven I made the pudding. In a large bowl I whisked whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar until it was light and fluffy, and then whisked in cornstarch and salt. In a medium saucepan I heated whole milk and vanilla extract until it was hot, but not yet boiling. I then whisked in a 1/4 cup of the milk mixture into the egg mixture in order to temper the eggs and then gradually whisked in the remaining milk mixture. I then returned the entire mixture to the medium saucepan and constantly whisked it on low heat until it was thick and pudding like. Once it was the right consistency, I strained the pudding through a fine mesh sieve by pushing the pudding through the sieve with a rubber spatula. After letting the pudding cool for a few minutes I pressed plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and refrigerated it for at least 2 hours.

Once the cake was done and the pudding cooled it was time to assemble. I cut the cake in half and spread the pudding on the bottom half.

After topping the cake I made the chocolate glaze by melting semi-sweet chocolate with heavy cream, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. I then spread the glaze on the cake…

And then refrigerated it until the glaze was set.

Final verdict… YUM!!!

 

Boston Cream Pie

Ingredients:

For The Cake:

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup whole milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

For The Pudding:

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs plus 4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Pinch of salt

 

For The Glaze:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch-round cake pan with baking spray or butter and flour.

Make the cake: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until pale and tripled in volume, about 15 minutes. Gently fold the flour mixture into the eggs mixture in two additions using a rubber spatula.

Add the milk, vegetable oil and vanilla and beat with the mixer until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until a cake tested inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool and then invert onto to the rack to cool and invert once again and let the cake cool completely.

Make the pudding: Heat the milk and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan over medium heat, but, do not boil. Whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and salt and continue whisking until no lumps remain. Whisk 1/4 cup of the milk mixture into the egg mixture and then gradually whisk in the remaining milk mixture.

Pour the egg-milk mixture into the saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until thick and pudding like, 10 to 15 minutes. It could take longer as well. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve by pushing the pudding through the sieve using a rubber spatula. Let the pudding cool for a few minutes and then place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Slice the cake in half and spread the pudding over the bottom half of the cake. Top the cake with the top half.

Make the glaze: Heat the chocolate, heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted and all of the ingredients are well combined and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes, you want it to be slightly thickened, then pour over the entire cake using an off-set spatula to smooth it. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so the glaze can set.

Recipe from Food Network

Happy Blogiversary and a Trolls Inspired Cake

It’s my 5 year Blogiversary and I am celebrating with a Trolls inspired cake. Okay, not really. But, it truly is the 5-year anniversary of Bead Yarn & Spatula. Boy, where does the time go? And I’ll be honest I wish my blog was further along and had more exposure than it currently does but I know I am part to blame for that. I definitely need to be more consistent with the posting. Hopefully this year I’ll be better with that. As for the Trolls inspired cake, I really did create one. But, it was for a friend’s daughter’s Birthday.

This cake was a three day process. And can I say I am always apprehensive to work with fondant because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s not as consistent as buttercream that’s for sure. But, it does make for a beautiful cake and is worth the extra work. On the first day, which only took about a half hour or so I created the rainbow that was going to sit on top of the cake. I made it a few days early to ensure that the fondant would harden and hold the arch shape. I rolled each color of the fondant about the same width and stuck them together by brushing the fondant with a little water, not too much as I didn’t want the colors to run. I used a 2-inch round cookie cutter as my base for the first arch and continued from there with the other colors. Once the rainbow was complete I stuck toothpicks into the bottom of it so I would be able to stick it on to the cake.

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The night before I was to cover the cakes with fondant I baked them. I don’t like baking my cakes too early because I want them to still be fresh when they are cut into. The bottom portion of this two-tier cake was a three-layer chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse filling and chocolate frosting. While the top portion was a yellow cake that I filled and frosted with chocolate frosting. After letting the cakes cool overnight I frosted and filled them the following morning and then placed them in the refrigerator so they could settle.

That afternoon I removed both cakes from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. You don’t want to place fondant on a cold cake because fondant is at room temperature and if you place it on a cold cake you will end up with a bunch of air bubbles; that can be quickly remedied with a pin but, why go through that if need not be.

For the bottom tier of the cake I covered it with yellow fondant and then with neon colored fondant I cut out flower designs to adhere to the cake. And to cover up any fondant imperfections along the bottom of the cake I opted for a half circle design around it in pink fondant…

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Which matched the top tier of the cake that I decorated to mimic the headband that the Poppy troll wears in her hair.

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I placed both of the tiers back in the fridge until the following afternoon when I completed the top tier of the cake by placing the rainbow on top of it and used marshmallows to mimic clouds. They stuck together and to the cake with just a few drops of water. That’s also how I stuck all the flowers and such to the cake. Once again though with not too much water so the colors don’t begin to run.

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And this cake wasn’t complete until a few trolls were placed on it. Of course Poppy and Branch, the main characters from the Trolls movie and a few of their friends. And if you haven’t seen the movie I highly suggest you do so. The message behind it is good for all ages to learn or to be reminded of.

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And there you have it… My 5-year anniversary post and an adorable – if I do so say myself – Trolls inspired cake. The Birthday Girl loved it and that’s really all that matters to be honest!

 

Piñata Cake

Today I’m bringing you a cake that I’ve wanted to make for quite some time… A Piñata Cake!

I took the easy route and opted to use two box yellow cake mixes. Yes, you read that right, two boxes. To get the full effect of this cake it really needs to be 4 layers. And while I could have just used one box divided into 4, lets be honest, that wouldn’t have been much of a cake and more than likely the layers would be so thin that the two layers I cut the hole into would have fallen apart. So two boxes it is (and was.)

So, after baking my 4 layers following the directions on the box (I used Duncan Hines cake mix) I let them cool and then began assembling.

Up first, the base layer which I covered in frosting.

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Next, one of the layers I cut a hole into using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Truthfully you don’t want to go larger than that, if you do, you run the risk of the cake splitting in half since you won’t have much cake left in the ring left when making the hole. To ensure that my holes were evenly placed on both cakes I stacked the layers and then cut the hole. So, I placed one of these rings on top of the base layer and covered it with frosting, including the inside of the circle cut-out.

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I repeated this step with the second ring.

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Next, I filled the cake. I opted for M&M’s. It took an 11 oz bag of M&M’s to fill the hole. You can fill it with whatever you choose; M&M’s, sprinkles, gummy worms or bears, and so forth. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s nicely packed in and filled to the top so you get the full Piñata affect when you cut into it.

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Finally I placed the top layer on the cake and frosted it with a crumb coating. I did a crumb coating because…

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I decorated the cake with spiraling rosettes – which I created using a Wilton 2D tip.

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And after a few slices the M&M’s came pouring out. The M&M’s did start falling out after the first slice, but it took a few more to get them to really pour out.

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