I’m sooooo excited to be bringing this to you guys today! It’s been a while in the making as the editing took longer than I thought (read: I couldn’t do it so I had to call in the boyfriend!) but it’s finally ready to share with all of you today: my very first tutorial!
I was thinking that I post quite a few layer cakes on here because I really love making them and you guys seem to love reading them. But whenever I take the finished product into work or to a party or anything, I noticed that I get a lot of questions about how you make them, how do you get the frosting on and whatnot. So when I got asked to make this cake (more on the cake later), I thought why not do a tutorial for you guys so that anyone can try making one? I definitely don’t claim to be an expert, my first cakes looked like giant round balls which tastes nice but doesn’t look very pretty! But as I’ve learned my own way of making them look proper and pretty, I thought I would share with you all the techniques that I use and those of you who have never made a layer cake can have a go too!
Ok so firstly comes cutting the cake into layers. You can either evenly split the batter between cake tins if you have enough of the same size, or what I usually do is just split the batter between two tins and then cut each of those layers in half. If you’re following the Purple Party Cake recipe below, then that amount of cake mixture will easily give you enough to have a 4 layer 23cm round cake, just like this one. The picture above shows the tools that I use: the cake layers, parchment paper, a separate plate to stack the layers on, a sharp serrated knife, a cake leveller (the silver wire thing) and a ruler. Nothing too hard really, and if you don’t have a cake leveller, just use a knife making sure it’s nice and sharp.
So what I do to cut the cake is I either measure how tall it is and then divide that by two to get how many centimetres (inches) I want to cut the cake at. Or, if I’m having a lazy day then I just eyeball it and take an educated guess which also usually turns out well! If you’re using just a knife, I would suggest the first method as you can make incisions all around the cake to check that you’re cutting a straight line and not on a diagonal which is what I used to have a lot of trouble with and is why I looooove my cake leveller.
With the knife, you make small incisions at different points around the cake and then cut straight through the middle, checking that your knife lines up with the incisions so that you get a straight line. However, with the cake leveller, I always start the cutting with the knife (the wire on my leveller is not sharp so this works best) then I set the wire on the leveller to the right height, put my hand lightly on top of the cake to hold it steady, then drag the leveller slowly through the cake until you’ve cut right through. Voilà! Couldn’t be easier right? Then whilst I’m cutting and frosting the other cake layers, I stack the layers on a plate with a sheet of parchment paper between each one so they don’t stick.
I also have this awesome cake lifter from Cake Boss that I bought from Farmers in New Zealand (a department store). This has been one of my top baking purchases this year I think, it has made not only lifting and moving cake layers but also whole cakes (not so fun!) a much easier task and it wasn’t very expensive at all. So if you’re going to be making a few layer cakes, I highly recommend investing!
Now comes the fun part… The frosting a layer cake tutorial wooo! I am actually so super excited to share this with you guys but also nervous because I’ve never done this before… Let me know what you think of it and I hope that it helps you in your frosting endeavours. The recipe and a little more about the actual cake I made are below.
So for the actual cake, it was inspired by Sweetapolita‘s Galaxy Cake. I say inspired by though because I loved the look of the sprinkles and the poofs of icing on the top and the purple colour but wanted to use my own recipes, so my version is below.
I was asked by a work colleague to make a cake for his daughter’s birthday and she was turning 6, so I knew it had to be something with sprinkles. If it were for me, I would totally have wanted pink at that age but I know not everyone is as obsessed with pink as I am! She reeeeeally wanted purple and when I saw the Galaxy Cake I knew that I was going to base the cake off of it. For the cake, I used my tried and true Favourite Chocolate Cake of course, and it held up just as well as ever! The frosting was a simple buttercream, jazzed up not only with a bit of purple food colouring but also with some freeze dried blueberry powder from Fresh As. I have used their freeze dried powders in many of my recipes now (like my Chocolate Raspberry Meringues) and I love them every time. They always have a really true flavour, you can actually taste the blueberry in this frosting. If you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend it (freeze dried blueberries whole or powdered from a different brand would work too) because they’re so versatile and tasty.
To get the sprinkle medley, I actually couldn’t find anything that I wanted so I bought some individual blue and purple shakers and mixed them together to create this jumble of sprinkles. So cute right? Making a cake like this is really not as hard as it may seem, if you follow the steps above and watch the tutorial you can make your own one of these easily!
Then to finish, I just used a piping bag without a tip and cut a large hole to create the little poofs of frosting. If the frosting isn’t very soft, stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds and then just pipe a little mound of frosting, slowly, straight upwards until you’ve reached the height you want. Pipe each little mound right next to the other, all the way around the cake and there you have it! Your very own Purple Party Cake. Happy baking!
- [b]Chocolate Cake[/b]
- 90g (3oz) dark chocolate bits
- 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups dark cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
- 2 tspn baking soda
- 3/4 tspn baking powder
- 1 1/4 tspn salt
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, shaken
- 3/4 tspn vanilla essence[br]
- [b]Blueberry Frosting[/b]
- 700g (3 cups) butter, softened
- Pinch of salt
- 10 cups (1.2kg) icing (powdered) sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (360mL) (heavy) cream
- 4 tspn vanilla essence
- 5 Tbspn freeze dried blueberry powder
- Few drops purple gel food colouring
- Sprinkles of choice for decoration
- Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) and grease and line two 23cm (9 inch) cake tins with baking (parchment) paper.
- Put the chocolate in a bowl, add instant coffee powder or granules and pour 1 ½ cups boiling water over the chocolate (or make up 1 1/2 cups of plunger or espresso coffee and pour that over the chocolate in a bowl). Mix together until smooth.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer) beat the eggs until thickened and lemon coloured (around 5 minutes).
- Slowly add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla, beating after each addition. Then add the sugar, before mixing in the chocolate and coffee mixture. Sift the cocoa powder over the bowl and mix until combined.
- Pour half of the flour mixture over the wet mixture and mix until the flour is combined enough to not fly up in your face (very technical there) and then add the other half and beat it all together until well-combined.
- Divide the batter between the tins and bake in the middle of the oven, rotating after 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached, around 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes.
- Leave to cool completely in the tins and then turn out onto a wire rack to set.
- These cakes can usually stand overnight (when making them in the afternoon, as I usually do) without needing to be kept in a container, as it sets them properly and allows them to be moved more easily. Put them into an airtight container the next morning until ready to decorate.
- In the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl using an electric hand beater), beat the butter and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low, and gradually add the icing sugar, in two cup parts, then the heavy cream and vanilla bean paste. Beat for 1 minute.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Add the freeze dried blueberry powder and mix until combined.
- Then add a few drops of your purple food colouring until the desired shade is achieved.
- The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable.
- [b]Assemble the cake according to my [url href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp41fHz23tA” target=”_blank”]video tutorial[/url] and instructions in the blog post.[/b]