Ingredients

Buttercream Frosting: There are many recipes for buttercream frosting and this is Kelly Delaney’s favorite because it is easy to make and tastes great. She highly recommends it for decorating your cakes. Frosting is also available in grocery stores, but if you have the time you may wish to try making your own.

l pound unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1⁄2 cups sugar
6 large egg whites

Directions

1. Whip butter in a 5-quart bowl of an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
2. Combine the sugar and egg whites in another 5-quart bowl.
3. Set the sugar and egg whites bowl over a pot of barely simmering water (ban marie) and whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm (testing like a baby’s bottle, warm to touch on your wrist).
4. Remove from stove and whip on electric mixer on high speed until mixture forms stiff peaks.
5. Switch the whip attachment to a paddle attachment. Add whipped butter, a little at a time, mixing until well incorporated. (The longer you mix it, the lighter and better the buttercream is to work with.)

Note: The frosting can be made 72 hours in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Kelly Delaney, Cakes for Occasions, 2009.
This cake is perfect for a first birthday party. In this one cake, which is made to look like a large cupcake, Kelly Delaney of Cakes for Occasions shows you many of the basic cake decorating techniques you will use over and over again. It also has two tiers and enough butter cream frosting to satisfy even the most avid sweet tooth.

There are several techniques demonstrated here that you will be able to use in many cake decorating situations. The first is the process of cutting a center out of a cake and putting in a cream filling. Although the filling is not seen from the outside it provides a pleasant surprise when the cake is cut. Another technique is leveling a cake by cutting off the top before covering it with frosting.

Skim coating a cake before frosting it is a good idea. To skim coat, apply a little frosting and spread around to cover cake with a thin layer of frosting. Tip: You skim coat the cake so that cake crumbs do not pull up when you got to frost your cake and since we will be applying colored frosting to the cake, the colors will not bleed through. You can skim coat your cake a day ahead of when you are frosting your cake and leave it in the fridge.

Since this is a two-tiered cake the second tier needs to be supported, otherwise it would crush the bottom layer. In order to avoid this, you use wooden dowels, which can be obtained in most hardware stores. Tip: You want your dowel the thickness of a pencil.
Kelly shows how to measure the first dowel in the center of the bottom cake, and then cut three more dowels of equal length to support the top cake layer. One tip is to soak the dowels before cutting so that they will cut easier. 

Another technique is creating a border for both the bottom and top tiers of the cake. Tip: When decorating with multiple colors, use your light colors first and then finish with your darker colors for impact.

Check out this cake. Is this so adorable or what? This is a cupcake cake for a first birthday. And I'm going to show you how to make it today. It's really fun and it's really easy. There's actually two different tiers, so you can do two different flavors.

And I'm just going to actually remove a little bit of the top and then I'm going to cut right down the middle of the bottom so I can put a filling in. Keeping my serrated knife, so that way it actually cuts the cake nicely and it doesn't give any pull-aways.

I'm choosing just to do a vanilla frosting inside. Now there's two schools of thought. The first is to frost your bottom cake right onto the actual board that you're going to be serving it on. The second school of thought is to do it on a separate board. that way you actually get more of an even frosting. It's up to you.

Whatever you feel more comfortable with. But I will tell you, if you do it this way, right on the cake wheel, you're going to have to move it. And I don't mean the whole cake wheel. I mean, the cake off the wheel. So you might want to think about which way you'd want to start.

So we're going to frost the cake right around. And what I'm doing is I'm doing a skim coat of frosting. That way you actually get all your crumbs to stick to the cake and stick to the frosting. So when you go to apply your color, they don't bleed through. This is something that you can do two days ahead of time, if you'd like.

Then you want to base it just like this, with the skim coat, and then go ahead and decorate. At this point, I'd probably recommend you pop this in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. That way your frosting gets hard and you can apply your color, and it's easier for you.

Now we're going to add our green frosting. I used a liquid gel food coloring. When you add your food coloring, what you want to do is give it a real good mix too, right afterwards, just to get some more air bubbles out of the frosting. And now we're just going to spread the frosting over the cake. I like to envision how a mushroom is, in the cap, and how it goes over the sides. And it just gives you something to work with when you're cutting it at the end.

So I've got it on top. Now I'm going to apply it to the sides. So doing so, I'm going to start in one place, and I'm going to use that as my reference point of how much frosting we like to have on this. And this is when patience definitely is a virtue, 'cause you just definitely need to take your time.

I'm not worrying about having it even. I'm not worrying about having too, too much. I'm just worrying about covering the whole cake. So I've got my offset, and what I'm doing is I'm just spinning the wheel to start to remove some excess frosting. And as you go, you can get faster and faster.

And the idea at the end is to give it one final spin. That's what gave us this great lip, or this edge that we need to have. So this is perfect. You see this, you know you did it right.

Then you're going to want to take your offset, and I'm going to start working towards me, and I'm going to push away. The idea of this is to push all the frosting to the middle, and then break away when you get to the middle, right up top. Because we're doing a stacked cake, we don't have to worry about making sure this top is perfectly smooth.

So I'm going to go through using my offset. I'm going to actually remove some the excess frosting. So I'm going to start here and I'm just going to pull away some of the excess frosting.

Then I'm going to put my offset spatula right underneath the cake, till it goes to-- I feel like it's about the center of the cake. Holding down pressure towards me so I have the offset at an angle slightly, I'm just going kind of break that seal. Now I'm going to just lift up the cake, slide my hand right underneath it, and I've got the whole cake right in my hands. And I'm going to place it right onto my board.

Now I have cake number two. This is a vanilla cake. And you're just going to place the cardboard circle right underneath. You need to have something so when you go to slice it, your knife doesn't go right to the bottom.

I'm going to fill the vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. The key is not to put too much frosting in the middle. You want to put about a finger's width of frosting.

Now we're going to decorate the cake with some pink frosting. Same as I did on the green, I'm going to put my frosting over the six-inch. Now, sense this is the top of our cupcake, so it looks like whipped cream, we don't have to get so worried about making sure that it's perfectly flat and perfectly smooth.

Now when we go to stack this cake, I'm going to be using wooden dowels. You can buy them at any local hardware store. About the thickness of a pencil. So I've got the wooden dowel standing in the middle of the cake. Using my thumbnail, I'm just going to eyeball and mark where the cake ends and the dowel is.

And I take my dowel cutters, I'm just going to slice and cut. A great trick when you're using these wooden dowels is to soak these in water before you use them. The water will absorb and make the wood nice and soft.

Now I need to use this as a template and cut three remaining dowels that are going to be exact same height. Putting little markers onto the dowel. So now I have three little indentations, and those are my three additional dowels that I need.

I'm going to place the center one right back in the middle of the cake, and then with the three additional ones, I'm going to do a triangle. You can take your cake pan, flip it right over. Kind of take a bird's eye view and then just mark it. And then we pop them right in.

So I removed my cake from the wheel, and I'm going to place this on top of the wooden dowels. The wooden dowels are inside this cake for structure, much like when you build a house. I'm one-handing it here. And I'm going to slice it and put it right there on top and then pull away.

I'm going a pipe some lines for decoration onto the top. When I do lines, I like to start from the top. And then I go up, rather than the opposite way. I'm just going to pipe and go right up. Whoops.

I've got my white pastry bag. I do not have a tip on it. I'm just using the coupling that comes with the bags. And I'm just doing big-- I call them globs. There's really no technical term to it.

So I went through and I piped. Now I'm just going to go through it. I'm just going to take away these little nibs here that we got, because they're all going the same direction. And I'm just going to pipe what looks like a cherry.

Using assorted tips, we're going to pipe on our borders. We're going to start with the largest one first. So my largest is my number six. What we're going to do is we're going to go through and we're going to pipe just little dots. And we're making spaces in between. Not all the spaces are the same distance.

When you make everything completely uniform, it actually looks too structured when you're decorating. This cake is perfect for a first birthday celebration. And a lot of people would never expect to see cake that looks like a big cupcake.

Now sometimes, with this green, I'm doing it in the middle. Sometimes I'm doing it on the edge of the pink. And the red's perfect. It's going to tie right into the cherry on top. When you're decorating, too, you want to use your most dramatic color last. 'Cause you can see, it looks like we piped little jewels or little beads right around.

We're almost done. One more. I do need to have a stem on top of that cherry, I just realized. So I take my green bag, pipe my stem. Then some sprinkles that you can buy, that we're going to sprinkle right on top. See? It's a piece of cake.

Cupcake Cake
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