This is an easy version of a decorated cake suitable for any level baker. You just need some buttercream and a few decorating tips and you are on your way to a masterpiece!
This is easy version of those stunning (and sometimes labor intensive) cakes!
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 227g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (115g) shortening
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (or 1 tsp lemon extract)
- 6 cups (just over a pound) confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup 60g whole milk*
- 2 tsp. meringue powder**
- 1/2 tsp. table salt
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream shortening and butter on medium-high until fully combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
With mixer on low speed, add lemon juice (or extracts) and salt.
Slowly add sugar, one cup at a time. Add meringue powder. (The mixture will appear dry.)
Add in milk. Turn the mixer up to medium-high (or high) and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 5 to 8 minutes).
*You may need to add more milk to reach your desired consistency. Start with the 1/4 cup and if the
buttercream is still too dry, add in more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Make sure the mixer is on low speed when adding in milk and give it at least 30 seconds between each addition.
**You can omit meringue power if you prefer. To achieve the perfect piping consistency, you may need to add more confectioner's sugar.
For extra smooth frosting with less air pockets, add buttercream to a food processor 1/2 batch at a time.
Process for 3-5 minutes on high, or until frosting appears smooth and creamy like ice cream.
Place directly into piping bags and seal with a rubber band. Can be stored in piping bag until ready to use, up to 3 months.
The hardest part (which is not even hard, just time consuming) is preparing the frosting. And that can be done well in advance!
To make this cake you will need:
Cake to decorate (I adore this Perfect White Cake recipe)
Buttercream recipe (below)
Food coloring – I used McCormick
Decorator’s tips: 16, 18, 22, 172, 195, 9FT (this is simply a wide variety of the same style of tip- see how to store all of these tips HERE)
Disposable pastry bags and coupler sets (3 regular couple sets for the 16, 18, 22 tips)
Rotating cake stand (my favorite is the Fat Daddio stand shown at the end of this Cake Stand 101 post)
Here is the buttercream recipe that I find works the best with piping:
Recipe from Decorator’s Buttercream.
Here is a quick video showing just how easy this technique is!
Tips for Success:
Bake cake, cover in crumb coat, (here is a video of me adding a crumb coat) then go back and do your final “beauty” layer. Try and get the frosting as smooth as possible! I found that the contrast of the crisp, clean lines of the cake with the whimsical multi-colored buttercream “stars” is really quite impressive.
When you have added color to your frosting, immediately add it to your pastry bag. The frosting can actually be stored right in the bag! When you are ready to decorate your cake, prepare a NEW, empty bag with a coupler set. Cut off the tip of the bag that has the frosting and simply drop it into the empty bag with coupler set. If you were to run out of frosting, simply remove the empty bag from the bag with the coupler set and replace with a new bag of frosting. This is such an easy way to use frosting and often means less mess and clean up for you!
You can use as little as 3 different decorating tips as well as add other varieties and styles! For instance, you could add some round tips in for detail or a leaf tip for extra added fun.
Anyone can try (and master!) this technique. Most of the tips and tools are available online and major retailers.