I learned two new techniques with this cake. The first was the buttercream ombre petal technique, something I learned thanks to The Hungry Housewife. This technique is super easy (she has a video) and it covers a multitude of ugly cake sins. It is as simple as buttercream, piping bag and an angled spatula. I'll admit it, I cheated.. I didn't use icing tips. I didn't have identical tips for 4 color buttercreams and switching them out would be a hassle. I just cut identical sized holes in the bottoms of my piping bags and it worked beautifully, plus less cleanup at the end, just chucked 'em in the garbage. It's as simple as putting a daub of icing on the cake and taking the spatula and swiping to the right, and...repeat. One tip I'd like to add to her tutorial: as a guide, I drew vertical lines on my crumb coat, and horizontal line would have been helpful too.
On a side note, I have recently discovered these babies, they are icing bag ties from Wilton. Ok, so they seem like an unnecessary extravagance. They aren't! They have made the process of icing less messy and less stressful. But I digress.
The second technique was the ruffle flower. I did a lot of research on different techniques, but I melded a few ideas in order to make my flowers. If you haven't worked with fondant before, this would be a great starter project.
1. Roll fondant very thin. Thin petals are more elegant and dry faster.
2. Cut out varying sized circles. I used mason jar lids, medicine caps, and anything I found in the kitchen.
3. I used my Gumpaste tools for the next part, in particular the modeling stick. I rolled it around the edges of the circle to create the ruffles.
4. I took my ruffled circles and "glued" them together with buttercream, then placed them in little bowls. The bowls will give them the rounded shape until they dry. I used glass ingredient bowls. These things come in handy for everything.
5. Use buttercream to make your center dots (I think I used a #3 tip), I alternated using two colors.
This cake was a bit time consuming, but not that difficult. Besides, it was a much needed departure from ladybugs and castles.