Over the past few weeks it has become more and more clear that I will shortly be leaving for Japan…and that I most likely will not have the ability to bake much–if at all–for 4 months. In light of that, I have put together a list of things I would like to try to bake before I take off, and yesterday when I had time I knocked one off the list.
By now you probably know how I feel about boxed mixes and making the same recipe more than once. But for this cake, my focus was on the frosting technique so I used a boxed cake mix and a tried and true frosting recipe. That said, I made enough changes that it was fun to bake and had a unique taste.
For the cake base, I used Pamela’s Chocolate Cake Mix. However, I added 1 cup of strong coffee and substituted the regular oil for olive oil. This gave the cake more depth of flavor and kept it quite moist. Overall I was happy with how it turned out, especially given it is a gluten and dairy free mix.
I also baked the cake in four 6″ cake rounds. You could bake the cake in fewer tins, and then possibly split the cakes in half. However by using 4 tins, all I needed to do was shave off the rounded tops.
For the frosting, I used a basic buttercream recipe (butter, sugar, vanilla/milk) then added some orange blossom water. I also split the frosting into 3 batches and colored them various shades of orange. Why did I choose orange blossom water and orange coloring? Truthfully it was because I have been making so many pink and purple colored baked goods recently. Don’t get me wrong, those are and always will be my favorite colors. But my goal with this recipe was to try new things, so I chose a flavor that would go both with the chocolate cake and a color I don’t use very much.
While I was making the frosting, I placed the cooled and leveled cakes in the freezer. Then when everything was ready, I frosted between the layers and gave the outside a crumb coat. This not only seals in the crumbs, it gives the other–decorative–frosting something to grab onto.
To frost the cake, I put the darkest color frosting into a piping bag with a large circle tip. I then piped three dots up the side, flush with the bottom of the cake. Then I took a the back of a small spoon, put it halfway onto the dot and smoothed it to the side. This is repeated around the cake, with the new dots placed in the line where the previous dot was dragged out.
This may sound confusing, but here is what it looks like when you have done a few sets. I used this tutorial for support, and practiced not on a cake before I did it this time.
Once you have an entire circle around the cake in one color, switch to the next darkest color and repeat the process.
Finally decorate the top, starting with the lightest color and go along the top of the cake.
Then use the other colors going inward. (P.S. Sorry for the poor lighting… it was about 10pm and I was frosting this cake while watching Arrested Development…)