Happy Monday, everyone! I’ve been sitting on this birthday cake for my neighbor for over a month. Can you believe it? Poor December babies always get the shaft. It could have been worse though—I could have made her a Christmas cake.
This beautiful baby blue and pink cake features ombre-style stripes, fudgy looking white chocolate drip, and homemade chocolate shards in fun shapes.
If you remember, a while back I made this Fairy Galaxy Drip Cake and attempted to color the white chocolate by using gel food coloring and a bit of vegetable oil to keep it from seizing. I was unhappy with the result though, and mentioned that people might want to powdered food coloring instead, or just buy pre-colored candy melts.
Well, color me surprised when Rosie’s Dessert Spot used the very same gel food coloring + oil method to make her own chocolate shards and it actually worked! That gave me the confidence to try it again. And although it didn’t go exactly as planned (more on that later), I’d say it was still a success.
The first step to creating the ombre stripes is to divide your buttercream in three parts, keeping in mind that you won’t need that much of the bright blue since it will only be used for one stripe and some dollops on the top of the cake. I colored the smallest part of buttercream using Americolor’s Sky Blue gel food color, then mixed a couple of spoonfuls of it into the second part in order to make a lighter blue. You can do that again to make an even lighter blue, but I opted to just leave the third part white.
The next step is to pipe your stripes around your crumb coated cake. Since I wanted the ombre effect to be coming out from the center, I started with white at the bottom, then light blue, then the darkest blue, then light blue and white again.
Once that’s complete you can use your bench scraper and turntable to smooth it all out. If there are any holes or gaps you can fill them in with the remaining buttercream and smooth it out again. Don’t forget to run your scraper under some hot water and slowly go around the cake a final time to give it a nice Photoshop finish!
Bring the lip of frosting toward the center to smooth out the top.
Now for the ganache. As usual, the ratio is 3 parts white chocolate to 1 part cream. Microwave in 30 second increments until melted, then stir in a teaspoon or so of vegetable oil before adding your gel food color (I used an extremely tiny amount of Americolor’s Deep Pink. The tip of a toothpick!). To make sure I could cover the top of this 6-inch cake I used 120 grams of white chocolate and 40 grams of cream. It will start out thin but thicken up as it cools. Since I wanted thicker drips than normal I let mine thicken for quite a while, stirring every so often. It took about 20 minutes, but this will obviously depend on the temperature of your kitchen.
You can get a better sense of the consistency in this photograph of me pouring it on the cake. Thinner ganache will spread itself out on its own, but in this case I had to use my spatula.
After smoothing it to the edge of the cake I then used a spoon to create artificial drips around the perimeter. If your ganache is so thick that this seems impossible, you can stick it in the microwave at the absolute lowest setting for 5 seconds or so.
Now for the shards! Here I have a bowl of freshly melted white chocolate and I’m about to stir in a couple teaspoons of vegetable oil.
Afterward I divided the chocolate into three containers and (fingers crossed) colored the chocolate with the same Sky Blue and Deep Pink as before.
It all seemed to be going well! I used a spoon to layer stripes of the chocolate on some wax paper.
…But then these little bumps formed when I used my spatula to spread it out. Was this the chocolate seizing after all? Probably. I think the trick is to use more vegetable oil, but unfortunately when it comes to the amount the rule of thumb seems to be “until it works.” I used about a tablespoon, but next time I’ll add a bit more. I sampled the chocolate after it set and it tasted perfectly fine, so I decided to just roll with it and take advantage of the added texture, which was actually sort of pretty!
I used a flower cutter to cut out some pretty shapes. Warning: you need to be very gentle popping out the chocolate.
Then I used a sharp knife to cut the rest into shards.
In order to place the them on the cake I first piped some dollops of frosting in a crescent moon shape on the top edge.
Then I stuck them in at alternating angles so that you could see each one.
Here is what it looks like from the side. As you can see, those dollops are what keep the shards upright.
The finished look!
To make the super easy cake topper I simply printed off a heart, cut it out, then wrote a short message.
Then I taped it to a straw so that I could stick it in the cake.
As a finishing touch, I added pink and blue Sixlet candies to the top for some added visual interest. And there you have it!
Happy Cake Decorating!