Archive of ‘Decorate’ category

Frozen & 3 Easier Cake Hacks

| Decorate

Frozen Cake HacksI pretend to be tired of Frozen.  After endlessly watching the movie, reenacting the scenes, and listening to the soundtrack…after stocking a wardrobe with Frozen attire and filling a playroom with Frozen toys… I realize that another dramatic interpretation of “Let It Go” by our beloved 4 year old should send me screaming in search of sanity.  The terrifying truth is… I am not tired of Frozen… or the Little Mermaid, or Tangled, or Beauty and the Beast, or Cinderella.  

I do understand how totally crazy and completely inappropriate so many of these princess stories are for our kids.  I mean – I am desperate to raise well-rounded, competent, compassionate, intelligent, and independent, young women who are prepared to tackle the complexities of a global society that honors and respects equality and social responsibility.  But… I feel the love and really can’t shame the obsession of Disney princesses.    I am so thankful for Elsa and Anna who make me feel a little less guilty about our love of princesses.   

Turns out this may be the strangest intro to… I made another Frozen cake and learned some new tricks to simplify my cake decorating!  

Here are three great cake hacks that helped simplify my cake decorating, so I could get everything done in one night:

  1. Forget the fondant and frost with buttercream (sometimes)!
    I read about the VIVA paper towel method for smoothly icing a cake, but didn’t think it would actually work.  Turns out… those soft, white, pillowy paper towels are just perfect for smoothing out your buttercream!  This was my first attempt and it still needs work, but I can’t wait to try it again, and again, and again!  Frost Me Up has a great video tutorial to get you started!  As a wannabe cake decorator, this frosting method saved me a lot of time and money!  (check out all those exclamation points!)
  2. Pearl dust! (AKA edible glitter)
    Wilton Pearl Dust (available at Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s, Amazon, etc.) is fabulous for adding a little sass and hiding imperfections.  As I mentioned this was my first attempt at the VIVA paper towel frosting method, so it was definitely not perfect by any means.

  3. Not everything has to be edible.
    I love the challenge of making everything on a cake edible, but I am trying to simplify and let’s be serious – no one is actually going to eat a fondant Elsa, a gumpaste Anna, or an Olaf made out of modeling chocolate.  I cleaned our Frozen figurines and topped the cake.  I actually got out two bowls, one with soapy water and one with clean water, and had our 3-year-old Samantha give Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven baths, which she thought was pretty much the greatest thing in the world!

Confession of a *wannabe* everything… I’m sure it would be super helpful to see before and after pictures of icing a cake using a VIVA Paper towel, but I blew it!  You can see pretty great documentation of the paper towel trick Frost Me Up.

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Harper’s Ribbon Cake with Birthday Bunting

| Decorate, General

Ribbon Cake with Bunting

Ribbon Cake with Bunting

My dear friend Audra truly appreciates a good party plan and is amazing with the execution! I was ecstatic to make her daughter’s first birthday cake, but also seriously nervous. I love decorating cakes for friends and family, because at this point I am pretty confident that whatever I put together will be more fun than what they could pick up from our local grocery store or Sam’s Club.

Audra, however, is a different story.

Audra always knows what is hip and cool, before it is hip and cool.  Yeeks!  I just said hip… and cool…  I am sure that Audra could find a fantastic cake from one of our amazing local bakeries that would turn up in our favorite blogs and magazines in a month or two as the hottest new trend.

The pressure was on!

Ribbon Cake with Bunting

Ribbon Cake with Bunting

Audra found this adorable cake bunting from Boo Bah Blue to provide inspiration! I wanted to keep the cake pretty simple to showcase the adorable bunting, so I decided to try a two-tiered ribbon cake, with a gum paste plaque. I used a 9 inch round cake for the first tier and a 6 inch round cake for the second tier.

To keep this project manageable and fun, I organized my time and spaced out the work. I created the gum paste name plaque on Wednesday, baked the cakes on Thursday, and I frosted and assembled the cake on Friday.




1. Apply a thin crumb coat of vanilla buttercream to both cakes and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes, for the icing to set.

2. Once the icing is set, apply an additional smooth, thick, coat of buttercream to the top of each cake.

3. Fill your favorite piping bag with the vanilla buttercream and affix a Wilton 104 piping tip. (I believe tip #104 is typically used for piping petals, but I am a serious piping novice!)

4. Start at the base of your 9 inch cake, with the thin side of the piping tip facing up and the thicker side of the piping tip facing down. Pipe from left to right (or right to left!), about ¾ of an inch, in a figure eight motion. Continue this back and forth motion, moving from the base of the cake to the top. Continue this around the entire cake.

5. Trim 3 wooden dowels to the correct height of the cake, and insert the dowels in the center of the 9 inch cake, for support (I usually space them about 3 inches apart, in a triangular shape).

6. Gently place the 6 inch cake on top of the support dowels.

7. Pipe the 6 inch cake in the same fashion as the first cake.

8. Once both cakes are complete, pipe one final ribbon around the top of each cake to complete the look. Angle the tip with the wide base touching the cake and the thin side facing up. Gently pipe, in about a ½ inch back and forth motion, from the center to the outside of the cake around the circumference of each cake.

9. Before the icing complete sets, affix the gumpaste name plaque to the top tier. If the icing is already somewhat dry, simply wet the back of the gumpaste plaque and firmly hold against the icing until it sticks.

10. Top with an adorable cake bunting!

Confession of a *wannabe* cake decorator…. In my excitement over the ribbon cake, I overlooked the ever-important smash cake! I wanted both cakes to compliment each other, but I didn’t have time to bake, cool, and decorate another cake before the party! I hit up our local grocery store and bought a small cake from the frozen section. I scraped off the frozen icing from store and quickly iced the cake in complementing colors. This worked great… a trick I *may* remember in the future!