One day, not long ago, I clicked on a link to "World's Toughest Job" found on You Tube. After watching the video (and shedding perhaps a " few" tears) I was reminded of how special my mom was. Just the other day my husband and I wanted to give something to a very special "Mother", a wonderful lady that has taken our boys under her grandmother wings. After stroking off a few different ideas, we settled on doing a cake for her. We wanted something that was pretty, light and fluffy, and that said "I Love You".
Ahh Angel Food!
This instructable will not cover how to make an Angel Food cake, since the recipe I use is so good with its own instructions; however, this instructable will cover how to decorate this cake.
I am also by no means a professional cake decorator, I only enjoy bringing colour to cakes. Therefore, for all you "There's No Way I Can Decorate A Cake" people, this is for you.
I will add here, that if you choose to do this cake please take a moment and consider that this cake might take a lot more time than other cakes, as you'll see later.
So let's get started.
Step 1: Hardware, Software and Tastyware
For this cake you will need the following:
- 1 Angel Food cake
- 1 litre of heavy whipping cream (4 cups/1 quart/2 pints)
- Icing sugar or white sugar, your choice
- Vanilla extract
- Wilton No-taste Red icing colour (or a liquid red icing colour of your choice)
- 1 freezer friendly large bowl
- 3 freezer friendly medium bowls
- Hand mixer and beaters
- 4 plastic zipper baggies
- 1 piping bag (or a large plastic zipper bag)
- size 2D piping tip and coupler (I used a 1M tip, but I'm not completely happy with how the rosettes came out, 2D would make a better rosette)
- "2D" and "1M" are the sizes inscribed on the metal piping tip
- if you don't have Wilton tips use a tip with a similar opening
Before you do anything take your 4 bowls and the beaters from your mixer and put them in your freezer or fridge to cool down.
Step 2: Bake Your Cake
Choose your favourite recipe
- I have tried a lot of different Angel Food cake recipes over the years and some are extremely good, while others leave me wanting (wanting a burn barrel to throw my disaster of a cake in!). However, I found that Alton Brown's Angel Food Cake recipe is very good, and it also explains how and why to do it. Below is a link to the recipe.
- Warning this recipe has a lot of "beating", "folding", and "whipping"...it's like a cheesy kung-fu movie.
- Whateve recipe you choose, mix it and bake it and get ready to wow your mom!
Or, choose your favourite store
- If baking an Angel Food cake is just not your thing (they are tricky and tedious!) then head out to your local grocery store and choose the best Angel Food cake you can find, your mom will still love it!
Step 3: Cool Your Cake
This is a moot point if your cake is store bought.
However, if you baked your cake, please take the time and allow the cake to cool.
First, Angel Food cakes should cool upside down in their cake pan (those little tabs around the top of the pan become little legs and allow the cake to hover as it cools). Also, the cake has to be completely cool before you begin with frosting your cake. The recipe took some time to beat and fold the eggs and flour in, now this cake will take more time for it to cool completely.
I know that there could be the possibility that you can stick this cake in the fridge and let it cool more quickly; however, I have never tried that method. Angel Food is a finicky cake and the last thing that I would want is to ruin the cake because of impatience. If you do have experience with rapidly cooling Angel Food, please share your experiences and how-to.
Step 4: Berries While You Wait
Use the time it takes for the cake to prep all the decorations
Choose your berries
- Go through your strawberries and choose 11 or 12 with the perfect strawberry shape
- Select about a quarter cup each of the best blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
- Wash your berries in cold water, watching the inside of the raspberries for little worms!
Carve your strawberries
- From the washed strawberries choose 6-8 of the best shaped and firm to carve into roses
- There are bunch of great pins on Pinterest that detail how to carve strawberries into little roses, I like the instructions from below:
- Slice the remaining strawberries into thin slices, either lengthwise or widthwise of the berry, it doesn't matter
- In the end I used only 8 rose strawberries on the cake with 2 sliced ones in the middle. The extra strawberries are for those carved strawberries that don't quite make the cut...and end up in your mouth!
Set the berries aside and continue with preparations for decorating
If you are new to decorating cakes and the thought of carving fruit is daunting, just slice the greens off of the strawberries and use them whole. The cake will still be beautiful with or without the rose strawberries! As my husband says, "Keep the cakes simple; simple is beautiful!"
Step 5: Whip Your Cream
Remove the largest bowl from the freezer, grab the beaters as well. Remove the heavy cream from the fridge. (Cold bowls, beaters, and whipping cream will help to whip the cream a little faster. You can whip cream without cold hardware, I find that it just takes a little longer. Then there is always the possibility of whipping too much and creating butter ... not exactly the result you want, unless you want to make your own buttercream, but that's another Instructable!)
Measure out 3/4 of the litre (3 cups) of whipping cream into the bowl.
Choose either the icing or white sugar and add 4 tablespoons of sugar to a small bowl and set it beside you. Grab a teaspoon and the vanilla, open the bottle and leave both the teaspoon and bottle beside you. Now you're ready to whip.
This whipping cream will remain white and will be used to for the 2 lighter shades of red whipping cream.
Begin whipping the cream with the hand mixer on medium - high speed. I like to whip for about a minute to get some air into the cream before I begin adding the sugar and vanilla.
Once the whipping cream is a little bubbly begin adding the sugar, sprinkling over the cream as you continue to whip. Once the sugar has been incorporated add 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Continue whipping the cream until stiff peaks begin to form.
- What in the world are "stiff peaks?" As you're whipping, ripples will remain in the cream as you move the beaters around the bowl. Once this begins to happen, stop the beaters and pull them straight up out of the cream and turn the hand mixer upside down with the beaters pointing up. If the cream left on the beaters stands straight up in peaks, those are stiff peaks. Don't mix any more. If the peaks flop over, those are soft peaks. Keep whipping, you're almost there. If the peaks melt down...you don't got no peaks, whip it up!
Once you have stiff whipped cream, set the large bowl aside.
Go back to the freezer and take out one of the bowls.
Pour the remaining whipping cream into the bowl. Grab your Wilton No-Taste Red icing colour and stir in enough red to make a "dark" red cream (note that whipping cream will not go a deep red with just the red colouring. If you want a really dark red, try adding pink into the whipping cream first to give the cream some colour then add your red).
Follow the above instructions for making whipped cream, adjusting the sugar to 1.5 tablespoons and .5 teaspoon of vanilla.
You now should have a lot of white whipped cream and some "dark" red whipped cream.
Grab the 2 remaining bowls from the freezer. With your rubber spatula equally portion out the white whipped cream into the large bowl and 2 of the medium bowls. Set the large bowl aside. Take one medium bowl and with a clean rubber spatula scoop out a small portion of the "dark" red whipped cream. Add the red to the white and gently mix the two colours together in the bowl. You only want a hint of colour in this portion of whipped cream, so add only small amounts at a time. Once you have a desired light red, set aside the bowl. Take the last white whipped cream and with a clean spatula add some dark red to this whipped cream. This cream will be the medium colour red, so continue adding until you have a good medium red whipped cream.
Let's get bagging!
Step 6: Bag Your Whipped Cream
I like to use zipper baggies for my piping bags, as well as a piping bag. Scoop out the 3 coloured creams into the baggies, push out all the air and zip each bag shut.
Attach the coupler and 2D tip to the empty piping bag.
Set the colours and piping bag aside.
Step 7: Create a White Base
Place your cake on it's final resting place; either a cake board or a plate. You can either now place the cake on the turntable or just on your countertop.
Begin with the top of the cake and, using the rubber spatula, scoop on portions of white whipped cream. Smooth the whipped cream with the metal spatula (or the backside of a butterknife). Take time to make the top as smooth as you want. You can either be meticulous and create a smooth top or you can leave it swirly, it's up to you!
On this cake I chose to add a crumb coat on the sides, just in case the rosettes didn't cover all the little spots. A crumb coat is a thin layer over the cake to prevent any cake crumbs from coming off into the final icing.
You're getting closer! Now add the coloured rosettes.
Step 8: Pipe on the Ombre Rosettes
Why I enjoy using plastic baggies is that I can fill my baggie with my frosting, zipper it shut and have no mess as I use the piping bag. To decorate with that colour I snip off a corner, to make a hole about the size of a dime, and then place the baggie into the piping bag. Then when I'm done with that colour, I slip the baggie out of the piping bag and fold over the corner to enclose any leftovers and pop it in the fridge for later.
I like using the baggies, but you certainlty don't have to.
Begin with the darkest colour and add that to your piping bag. If you have never piped anything before, take a practice run on an empty plate. Place the end of your tip over the middle of where you'd like your rosette to be and hover just above the surface at a 90 degree angle to the surface. Apply even pressure and squeeze out the cream. Circle around, making the rosette as big as you want (about 1" - 1.5" is good) and stop squeezing once you've come back to the middle. Pull straight up. Make the next one beside just the same, aiming to have the rosettes touch. Add rosettes around the entire cake with the first colour.
Once you're done the first row of rosettes take out the dark baggie and put in the middle coloured baggie. Squeeze out the excess dark colour. Begin the second row of rosettes.
Repeat with the lighest colour.
You're done with the rosettes!! Good job!
If you're rosettes are looking less than stellar you just do the same ombre design except just hover the tip over the spot where you want whipped cream and then gently squeeze the bag. A star will come out and will continue to grow until you stop squeezing.
The lightest colour on my cake is done that way so you could see what the cake would look like. As you can see, still gorgeous and beautiful!
Step 9: Decorate With Fruit
Now that the work with the whipped cream is finished you can move onto the finishing touches.
I filled the middle hole of my cake by layering raspberries, dark whipped cream, blueberries, middle whipped cream, strawberries and then the lightest whipped cream in star peaks.
Place the rose strawberries first on your cake however you want. Add the other berries around the cake as desired.
Now step back and admire your wonderful creation. You did a great job! Go impress your mom, or that special lady that needs a reminder of how much you love her!