DIY Petal Cake

Some of you may have seen that we just celebrated my little girl turning 2.  Was it only last weekend?  The Fourth of July always throws me off.  And always will, since her birthday is on the second and likely right in the middle of some form of long weekend.

Anyway, something you may not know about me is that I love to bake.  My husband, Nishant is the superior cook in the house for sure, but baking is my gig.  I’ve just started trying to get more adventurous in recent years with the cakes for the kids birthdays.  So far, I’ve learned how to bake a cake from scratch and I’ve also started playing with the different icing tips.  I just started using them a few years ago and can’t believe that I made it through so much of life without using them, prior to that!  I can make starbursts and rosettes, so far.  Still so much to learn.

If you like baking like I do, you will probably be just as excited about this cake as I was.  It looked a little challenging but also so simple so I thought I’d try it.  The funny thing, is that I found this little tutorial on Pinterest.  This was the screenshot, but to my surprise, when I clicked on it to go to the website, that was all there was.  There were no additional words or helpful hints or tips or anything like that.  Just the picture.  So I wanted to share what I learned through the process!

When you see my version, you will notice that I omitted steps 8 and 9 and opted to create a confetti number 2 on the top, instead.  My personal vision.

So some details I think are missing from this are the ways to get all these great colors.  Now, maybe you already know, but I feel like there could be a lot of you who don’t.  The latest I’ve seen with food coloring is to use the gel colors.  These are supposed to be easier to work with and more concentrated, less messy and somehow superior to the old fashioned liquid dyes.  I honestly don’t know the specifics, just that I felt compelled to also utilize the gel colors.  I got mine in the baking aisle at Publix, my local grocery store.

My colors of gel came in Red, Blue, Yellow and Green.  Now to make a rainbow cake with rainbow icing, you need the colors Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple.  So in case you didn’t know, to get Orange, you mix equal parts Red and Yellow.  And to get Purple, you mix equal parts-ish Red and Blue.  Mine originally came out a little gray looking so I added in a little more Red and that helped it.

I’m just looking at this picture again and I see she has her icing bags in small juice glasses.  That would have been helpful.  I just lined mine up on the counter and got my counter covered in icing, ha, but either would work.  So, this is the buttercream icing recipe I used.  It’s my favorite.  Just icing the cake in a normal fashion, I probably could have gotten away with just doubling the recipe, or even just 1.5 times.  But, once you start doing all this fancy stuff, you tend to need more, if nothing else but as a precaution.  Especially when you are working with colors like this, you’d rather have too much than not enough and then have to try and re-match your colors.  And if you’re someone like me who also enjoys the occasional icing on a spoon, then leftover icing can be especially useful, ha.  So, I actually multiplied this recipe by 3, and again, had some leftover (at least 1.5 cups, maybe more) to dip Teddy Grahams in and eat with a spoon over the next few days at my leisure.

The next thing is that it’s really hard to tell what size everything is in this picture, so I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough room on my cake, even though it was a 3 layer cake, just so many unknowns.  I did a little practice run on a small plate first just to get the technique down and that was all it took.  From the photo, it looks like you can just use one spoon to smear each dot.  This is inaccurate.  I tried this in my practice and all the colors were run together (sort of like unicorn hair or something) as opposed to being individually laid out like they are here.  The only way to get this done and have it look like the photo with one spoon would be if you licked (or wiped, but really, where is the fun in that?!) the spoon clean after each smear, which, I can think of worse things, but that sounds like a pretty serious sugar overload to get this cake done, not to mention, a little unsanitary, family or not.  So what I did was I saved the spoons that I used to mix the icing and for each dot, I was able to smear it with appropriately colored spoon and end up with minimal mixing.  I also used regular sized spoons, which were a little bit large.  I almost used baby spoons, but then would have had to dirty all those baby spoons and it just wasn’t worth it in the end.

What I found too, was an easier way to get the icing in the sandwich bags.  I don’t have a good picture to document it, but what I did was, I put my left hand inside the bag from the outside so that the bag was essentially on my hand inside out.  Then, I scooped the icing into my hand in the bag and sort of closed my hand around the ball of icing before turning the bag back the right way and then sort of shook it down into the corner to get started.  Much less messy than just trying to scoop the icing and put it inside.  Then, you cut a small hole in one corner and you’re good to go!

And yes, it did take awhile, and yes, I do have 3 kids.  Honestly, the only reason I got it done was because the grandparents were here as babysitters.  Otherwise I would have been totally pulling my hair out.  And maybe only half the cake would have gotten done, ha ha!

So the other thing that I did, for the rainbow star confetti “2”, was that I cut out a 2 stencil from a piece of card stock.  Nothing fancy, just hand drew it, cut it out and taped up the cut part leading to it.  By the time I got done with the petals on the side, the icing on the top of the cake was basically set.  So, I put the stencil on top, filled it in with icing (I used yellow but I don’t think it matters much what color you go with), spread it around with my finger, covered it in the star sprinkles and pressed them in a little bit to make sure they weren’t going anywhere.  Then I carefully lifted up the stencil and voila, I had a rainbow star sprinkle shaped number 2!

It came out exactly like I wanted it to.  And although time consuming, it really wasn’t difficult!

This one was a Hummingbird Cake (don’t worry,no hummingbirds were harmed in the making of this cake) but we used the buttercream icing instead of the cream cheese icing.  Even though I’m a major sugar head, it was actually verging on being too sweet, even for me.  So next time, I may try it with the cream cheese icing like it suggests.

I would love to hear about some cakes that you have made or are wanting to try!

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