My dear friend Amber recently had a big birthday, but because it fell in the holy month of Ramadan, she was unable to have the birthday celebration she deserved. A group of us girls decided to plan something really special for the following month in the City–it had to be glam, girly and gilded–just like Amber who has a heart of pure gold. We looked all around for places to stay, and created an itinerary that was fun and very city-licious! So follow along, I hope some of our ideas can help you plan your next girls weekend in the City that never sleeps! But first–this post is all about the cake for a bigger than life weekend!
The Cake of CAKES
Of course, we picked the hottest day of the summer for Amber’s surprise birthday weekend. Hot days are not fun when you’re making a cake. Not. Happy. One. Bit! It was just my luck that I got to finish all the decorating of this particular cake without A/C and in a 98 degrees kitchen. Yes, we live in a 100 year old Tudor home with window units…and no unit in the kitchen. Needless to say, I did most of the decorating with the cake in the refrigerator.
Regardless, the cake had to get made one way or another, and to make the ultimate cake for my best friend Amber, it had to be rich chocolate with an exotic flare. I know Amber loves pistachios and macaroons, so I decided to make a chocolate-pistachio cake filled with chocolate ganache and pistachio buttercream. I decorated it with macaroons, and used real gold leaf accents.
Amber is one of the nicest and most beautiful (inside and out) person you will ever meet. She is super girly, loves bright lipstick and also rocks the gilded and super fancy chandelier earrings and accessories. That’s why I decided to decorate this cake with gold and pink accents, and cover the top and sides with lots of romantic fresh-flowers. It just screams Amber!
How to make a TALL CAKE
I began by baking the cake layers two nights prior and freezing them. I used 6″x3″ cake rounds. When I was ready to assemble, I added pistachio-buttercream on one layer, and chocolate-ganache with crushed pistachios on the next layer. Here is the recipe I used from “Baked By An Introvert” Blog.
These cakes really came out super fluffy and tall! Here is the ganache-pistachio filling on the second layer (I added the pistachio to the ganache, the recipe did not call for this step):
The Importance of SUPPORT by Dowels
This cake was actually two cakes; I made a four-layer bottom cake, and a two-layer top cake separated by cake rounds. I used 6″x3″ cake pans. I found this recipe on Pinterest, and added my own tweaks to it! The recipe didn’t include pistachios in the ganache layers, but I added this to make it, well, more pistachio-y!
To ensure this cake didn’t flop or lean over, I used about 7 dowels. I used four in the bottom four-tier cake, and two dowels in the top-cake, and one long dowel down the center of the entire tall cake. I’ve learned my lesson over the years! Support, whether in the form of a bra or a dowel, is a good friend indeed!
When using dowels, it is important to sharpen the point–this way it will go through the cake smoother and stay in the cardboard cake round at the bottom:
Decorating–the Natural Way
After putting the cakes together into one very tall cake, I put the cake back in the fridge for a couple hours and prepped my food coloring for airbrushing! I used natural food coloring for this cake (and for every cake actually!). Most my cakes are organic and artificial-nothing. I don’t feed others what I don’t eat myself!
I added my diluted food coloring to my airbrush and started airbrushing Amber’s cake. This is the fun part! If you don’t have an airbrush, I highly recommend them if you love to decorate cakes. So much easier and so much fun!
To add the glam, I added 24 karat gold leaf squares. I applied each square with lemon extract and a small brush. You can use vanilla or almond extract, I just had this handy. It actually added a nice citrus flavor to the buttercream!
To make life difficult for myself, I decided to also add a subtle drip to the top of the cake. Clearly, doing a drip cake in 98 degree weather is not a good idea, especially when you don’t have central air in your kitchen!
Right before the big dinner at Buddakan in the city, I decorated the bottom of the cake with roses and macaroons, and carefully placed more roses and pink peonies on top. The Gold cake topper was ordered from Etsy a couple weeks prior.
Happy birthday sweetest Amber, and cheers to your year!
Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope your cake making goes smoother than mine! Check back soon, I will post all about our ultimate girls weekend in Chelsea!