As my entry into the Cake Contest, I decided to document the cake that I made for a family get-together in early spring.
Step 1: Assemble Your Cake.
Since I use my own recipes (which I prefer not to share since they take a lot of work to perfect), this instructable will just follow the decoration process.
Here you can see that I am using 4, 9" round cakes, 2 chocolate and 2 white for alternating colours. I'm also using a batch of lemon buttercream frosting, and a tub of Betty Crocker frosting for decorating (it's cheating, but I'm not exactly getting paid for this cake).
Step 2: Bottom Layer
I want my basket to sit up straight, so it's necessary to "torte" the cakes first. "Torting" is a fancy way of saying "cut off the high part".
I use a cake leveler to make sure its even and straight, however a long knife works too. You'll just end up with a less-smooth cut and more crumbs.
I then used a sharp knife and cut an angled edge all the way around the cake.
Once I flip it over this becomes the rounded bottom.
Step 3: Icing!
Throw on a couple of big dollops of butter cream frosting and start spreading it around. Don't worry about covering the sides, we'll do those last.
Step 4: RepeatRepeatRepeat
Now repeat the same steps with the other 3 cake layers until you end up with a stack. You'll notice that I flipped the top layer over to put the cut side down. I've found that this makes it WAY easier to icing the top without crumbs ruining everything.
Step 5: Buttercream!
Next slap on more buttercream frosting to completely cover the sides and top of the cake. Don't be shy, put it on fairly thick to make it easier to create a smooth surface.
The second photo is the pieces that were cut off during torting. I love leftovers.
TIP: waxed paper strips under the edge of the cake make it super easy to keep your the board under the cake clean and ready for presentation.
Step 6: The Real Decorating
If you want to save yourself a lot of aggravation, drop the entire cake into the deep freeze for about 20 minutes. Butter cream in the freezer = solid frosting layer to draw on.
Ok, now you need a frosting bag with 2 tips. One tip for the round vertical lines, and a rectangular tip to make the horizontal lines. (there are other basket weave styles out there, this one let me cover the cake faster since the lines are bigger).
Place one vertical line down the side of the cake.
Now replace the tip with the rectangle, and draw lines of equal length, centered across the round line, spaced one tip-size apart.
Draw the next vertical lines at the ends of those horizontal bands.
Now draw the next horizontal lines offset from the first ones, just like in the photo.
Continue the alternating pattern all the way around the cake.
Finish the top and bottom edges with a rope effect by drawing circles with the frosting.
Step 7: Decorating Extras
Here I bent a coat-hanger into a handle shape, and wrapped it with a yellow ribbon.
I also bought a few cheap artificial flowers at Walmart to pull off the flower heads (some need to be snipped off with pliers).
Step 8: Ta-DA!
And here is the final product. The handle just gets inserted into the top of the cake, centered. The flower heads are tucked into the frosting on the top to make it look like a basket of flowers.
This should be enough cake to feed 10-15 people at least, just remember not to pick it up by the handle.