Thursday, July 9, 2015

How to Frost a Cake - In Ombre

This is the make-shift layman's guide.

The one for those of us who don't usually put too much effort into frosting a cake.

And one for those of us who don't have fancy turning cakestands.

And any of the other stuff designed for frosting a cake.

First find a friend that wants you to help them ice a cake in ombre.

After she has picked out the recipes, baked the cake, and made the frosting,

Drive over to her house to do a little cake frosting.

So, I said there were no special tools, but she had recently purchased one of those flexible frosting spatulas at an estate sale for $1. 

That would be Step 1.

Buy one of those flexible frosting spatulas at an estate sale for $1. Or $2. Or $3. It is worth it.

Step 2. 

Make sure you have enough frosting. We did not. So we made up a small batch to use in the center of the cake. That way if it didn't taste the same it wouldn't matter.

Step 3.

Get out your makeshift supplies that will make this whole process much easier.

This tip may not matter if you aren't a blogger. I like to use cake stands for my cakes. But most cake stands won't fit in the fridge with a cake cover. The cake cover also doesn't seal air tight. So I like to be able to move my cake into my Rubbermaid cake carrier so it will do both of these things.

To make my cake moveable I place it on top of the bottom of my springform pan. I think bakeries use those gold cardboard things for this.

To make the cake spinnable we used this turn-table that is usually used for vinegar storage.

To keep the cake plate from moving on the turn-table, use that shelf lining/padding stuff. It is no skid.

We eventually cut the corners from this and used them under the turntable because it was moving on the cake stand.

I know what you're thinking. You're asking, "why on earth can I not just turn a regular cake stand without all this spinny stuff?"

My answer is this "because it is mysteriously easier to do it this way. I believe it is because when you spin a regular cake stand it moves enough that the pressure underneath the spatula varies. When the cake spins every single step of frosting a cake becomes easier." That's my "oh my goodness, this really is easier!" response.

Step 4.

Put a blob of icing in the center the cake stand and lay the cake top side down on the plate.
Gently rub the cake to get all the crumbs off of it. If you're smart you do this before you put the cake on the plate. We didn't do this, not because we aren't smart, but because one of us had trouble getting the cake out of the pan, because one of us didn't use wax or parchment paper in the bottom of the pan when they baked the cake, and that made the cake kind of break...

Step 5.

Put the frosting on the first layer. Something that I learned when using the flexible spatula for the first time - when I used the spatula with the tip in the center, I tended to press the tip into the icing and end up with concave frosting. I started using the spatula with the tip at the edge of the cake and it was a lot easier to get an even layer of frosting that way. I believe the pros do it with the handle on the edge and the tip in the center. I am not a pro.

Step 6.

Put your second layer on. I believe you are supposed to put this on top side down, but we did it top side up. 

Put a crumb coat - a VERY thin coat of frosting - over the entire cake. Put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes. TIP: a crumb coat is much easier with very soft frosting.

Move the turntable and non-skid stuff to the counter and put the cake stand on top of it. You still need some non-skid between the cake bottom plate and the cake stand. It may be that this positioning would have worked for the whole process. Since I didn't figure it out until this step, I'm not sure.

Step 7.

Find a good tutorial to teach you how to ombre frosting.  We used this one.

Mix 3 colors of frosting. Leave enough white for the top of the cake. If you are using gel coloring - which I recommend - it takes VERY LITTLE to get a lot of color. Like the tip of a toothpick little. Did I mention VERY LITTLE?

Step 8.
Start at the bottom. Use the darkest frosting. Apply to the bottom third of the cake.

Step 9.

Use the next shade up.  Then the next. 

Step 10.

Frost the top. 

You don't have to worry too much about making anything perfect because I'm going to show you how to do that circle thing around the top and edges.

Step 11.

Start at the top of the side - place tip of your spatula lightly against the cake and start spinning the cake stand around. Make one continuous swipe around the edges of the cake until you have reached the bottom.

Step 12.

Do the same thing to the top. Place the tip of the spatula in the center of the cake and spin the cake, moving the spatula outward as you spin.

This was a LOT easier than doing the side. Which wasn't particularly hard. So what's my point? This is the easy part.

Then you're done.

Did I forget anything?

Have I inspired you to ice an ombre cake?

OK. So I know this post is really long. But I have one more tip for you.

Are you a knife/spatula licker? Is it hard for you to keep from double dipping your frosting spatula?
I am. And since we were making this cake for company, we needed to avoid this whole licking the spatula thing.

The solution? 

The licking bowl.

So when you have icing on the spatula and you need to get the icing off, scrape it on the edge of the licking bowl. Then anytime that you feel the need to taste the frosting you just taste the icing in the bowl. This worked for me. Now all guests in my home, and eaters of my cakes, can rest assured that I have not licked the spatula.  



Unknown said...

What an amazingly beautiful (and extremely tasty!) cake. Next time I'm going to try to do the icing all by my lonesome - well, with someone to turn the cake.

Scribbler said...

What a genius idea -- a licking bowl! Your cake turned out beautifully.

Cecilia said...

Beautiful cake. If I want one, will you just come and make it for me? ;-)
Mm, a lucking bowl....genius!

Art and Sand said...

First of all, I only have one week left of my no flour regimen so after that I can make a cake.

Are you up for a short little drive to southern California to help me frost a cake?


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