On the third anniversary of the wedding that made us believe we could all be princesses, we’d like to send our best to Will and Kate — and little George, who’s now just over nine months old. (Now if someone could send us one of these royalty-worthy celebration cakes, that would be, as the Brits say, brilliant.)
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Ruffle Tower Cake
This cake is covered with frilly rows of frosting that can be tinted any shade you wish. Three tender lemon layers make the cake tall enough to show off the ribbon-candy effect of the frosting and ensure there is plenty for everyone.
1. Trim bottom layers; stack on cake round, with 3/4 cup buttercream spread over top of each. Add top layer; spread 1 cup buttercream over entire cake. Refrigerate 40 minutes until firm. Tint half remaining buttercream pink.
2. Place cake on rotating stand. Lay flat a 12-inch pastry bag with #103 tip. Fill half of bag from tip to top with pink buttercream, other half with white. Hold bag vertically, slot of tip perpendicular to cake; use swift back-and-forth motion 1 inch wide to make ruffle, pulling tip up side.
3. Turn cake stand slowly, piping circular ruffle over top.
Royal-Icing Monogram Cake
Letters found in vintage books or print shops can inspire beautiful cakes. This royal-icing monogram is surrounded by a rolled-fondant flower garland on the background color of your choice.
Monogram Design Transfer How-To
Letters found in vintage books or print shops can inspire beautiful cakes. If you find a monogram that you would like to use as a cake decoration, you can take the following steps to transfer the design from paper to a rolled fondant-covered tier. In addition to your design, you will need a photocopy machine, a ruler, clean straight pins, and a rolled fondant-covered cake tier.
1. Reduce or enlarge the design on a photocopy machine until it fills the area of the tier you’d like to decorate.
2. Using straight pins, secure the photocopied design to the fondant-covered cake tier in areas where the pinholes will not be noticed. Using another straight pin, prick holes through the design’s outlines into the fondant, keeping the holes about 1/4 inch apart. On our blue “L” cake, we transferred only the main contours of the letter and the surrounding leaves and vines.
3. Remove the pins securing the paper, then carefully lift off the paper. When applying the leaves and vines, refer back to the original picture to determine the precise placement of each.
Cherry-Blossom Princess Cake
Cloak a dome-shaped cake in pink fondant and top it with a smattering of real cherry blossoms, some of which have been coated with sugar. Inside, luscious layers of almond-flavored genoise, cherry-jam pastry cream, and whipped cream in — what else? — pink await guests.
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
6 tablespoons almond flour, toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 1/2 cups heavy cream (preferably 40% fat)
Rose-pink food coloring
1/4 cup kirsch (cherry brandy)
1/2 cup cherry preserves
1 pound fondant, tinted pale pink
Cherry blossoms, plain and sugared, for decoration
Use an 8-inch cake ring to cut and shape this cake.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat two 12 1/2-by-17 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray; line with parchment, and spray again. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, almond flour, and salt; set aside.
2. Heat eggs, yolks, and sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water; whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 2 minutes. Attach bowl to mixer; whisk on medium speed for 2 minutes. Raise speed to high, and beat until pale and thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from mixer, and sift flour mixture over eggs. Gently fold in using a rubber spatula. When almost incorporated, slowly add melted butter in a steady stream, and continue to fold until completely incorporated.
3. Divide batter evenly between prepared baking sheets, and bake until cakes are golden brown and springy to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire rack and let cakes cool completely.
4. Run knife around sides of cooled cakes and flip over, removing parchment. Using an 8-by-3-inch cake ring, cut out four circles; choose the three thickest ones (reserve the fourth for another use).
5. To assemble, sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons cream in a small bowl. Let soften for 3 minutes. Bring 1/4 cup cream to a boil in a small pan, and pour over gelatin; let sit 30 seconds. Whisk to dissolve gelatin; then add to remaining cream; add drops of food coloring to tint pale pink. Transfer cream to a cold bowl, and whisk until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, mix simple syrup and kirsch.
6. Place the cake ring on a same-size cardboard circle. Set first layer of cake inside ring; brush with kirsch syrup. Using an offset spatula, spread preserves in a thin layer over entire cake. Cover with 1/2 cup whipped cream. Top with second layer of cake, brush with syrup, and cover with pastry cream. Place last cake layer on top, pressing down gently; brush with syrup. Fill ring to the top with whipped cream; smooth the top. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
7. Roll out fondant to 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick. Place over cake, smooth around sides (this will make a dome), and trim bottom edges with a pizza cutter. Refrigerate up to 1 hour, until ready to serve. When ready to serve, decorate with cherry blossoms.
Stenciled Sparkle Cakes
Do-it-yourself stencils make it a cinch to create graphic patterns on a cake — or several. These four-inch versions look great as a group.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 recipes Swiss Meringue Buttercream, tinted to desired shade with gel-paste food coloring
Edible glitter dust
Cut sheets of acetate, available at art-supply stores, into strips, then place the pieces atop chilled frosted cakes (you’ll need very smooth surfaces). Dust the cakes with edible glitter dust before carefully removing the stencils to reveal the designs.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter six 4-by-2-inch round cake pans, line with parchment, and butter parchment; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in zest and vanilla. Add flour in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of buttermilk; mix until just combined.
3. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool completely.
4. With a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to level; split horizontally to make a total of 12 layers.
5. Spread 1/2 cup buttercream on each side of 6 bottom layers, and top with remaining layers. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over each cake to form a crumb coat; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Spread a second coat of buttercream over each cake; smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).
6. Set cakes on a wire rack set over a piece of parchment. Stir together edible glitter dust with confectioners’ sugar to achieve desired color; the more sugar used, the lighter the hue.
7. Cut strips of acetate to preferred width (ours are 1/2-inch wide) and rest them on top of the cakes to create a design. Parallel stripes are the easiest. You can also crisscross stripes, or cover half the cake to create a half-moon. Sift glitter dust over each cake. Carefully lift pieces; reuse to decorate remaining cakes.
Sugar-and-Spice Layer Cake
Tiers of moist spice cake, rich mascarpone frosting, and blackberry jam fill this dessert with everything nice.
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups blackberry jam (from one 17.5-ounce jar)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment, and spray parchment. Sift flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl.
2. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Continue to beat until smooth, about 1 minute more.
3. Divide batter among cake pans, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks, and let cool for 20 minutes. Turn out cakes from pans, remove parchment, and flip right side up. Let cool completely.
4. Trim tops of cakes to create a flat surface. Cut cakes in half horizontally. Spread 1/2 cup jam onto 1 layer, then spread 1 cup frosting over jam. Top with another cake layer. Repeat layering cakes with jam and frosting, leaving top layer (bottom side up) uncovered. Spread remaining frosting on top of cake, and garnish with cinnamon-sugar.
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