I admit it. I have no idea what to call this cake besides “pretty.” The deep blues and purples paired with the gold leaf certainly remind me of those galaxy cakes floating around Pinterest and Instagram. Then again, this cake seems far more light and feminine, with the delicate petals of the miniature orchids reminding me quite a bit of magical fairy wings. I’ve given up: this is my fairy galaxy drip cake. I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense.
The top of the cake is decorate with white chocolate ganache, multicolored sugar pearls, blue and gold chocolate shards, mini orchids, and a raffaello coconut truffle. I’m not sure if you can tell in the picture but the whole set up received a light sprinkling of gold dust.
Pink sugar pearls kiss the end of each white chocolate ganache drip, while gold leaf explodes from an accenting orchid.
I’m insanely proud of this cake, especially since I had no idea how I wanted to decorate it up until the moment I started decorating (which is always an “ahhhhhh” moment for me). I decided to let the orchids be my guide. By the way, if you think it’s a horrible waste to put orchids on a cake given how difficult they are to bloom, any small flower will do.
To begin, Use a toothpick to mark a diagonal line going all the way around the cake. Why? I have no idea. I was experimenting. But doing this allows you to cut the cake in half and gives you a guide as to where to put your buttercream. I also recommend icing using the upside down method. It is difficult to tell in this picture, but the “top” of the cake is actually upside down on some parchment paper. This will be more obvious below once I flip it over again.
Next, fill each section with the color of your choice. I chose purple and white. Just put each color in a piping bag and have at it. You could also use a spatula, but I think the piping bags help to minimize the amount of air pockets that are created when you go to smooth the cake.
With that being said, air pockets will certainly still be present, as seen here. Just pipe on more buttercream in those spots and smooth again. Speaking of smoothing, use a bench scraper. Scrape in one direction, then do it again in the other direction. This can be sort of difficult if you’re used to only doing it one way. Just go slowly and it shouldn’t be an issue.
One you’re semi-happy with the result you can go ahead and add a contrasting color. I chose sky blue and simply applied it haphazardly with the back of a spoon. Afterwards, smooth it again. If using the upside down method, remember to also secure your cake board to the top of the cake and put it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to set.
Here is what the cake looks like out of the fridge and flipped right-side up again. Notice how the purple is now on top rather than the bottom. Those edges could cut glass! If you have any gaps between your cake board and the bottom of the cake you can just fill them in with more buttercream and smooth around it.
Now you can make your chocolate shards. Simply smooth some chocolate on some wax or parchment paper and sprinkle it with gold dust. Place it in the fridge for a few minutes so it will firm up. This chocolate was sort of a disaster so be sure to read my note below.
Next comes the white chocolate ganache. As I remind you always, that is 3 parts chocolate to 1 part cream (by weight!) I used 90 grams chocolate and 30 grams cream. You can also add a bit of vegetable oil to make it more fluid. This ganache actually wasn’t as fluid as I like. It’s important to add your toppings to the cake before the ganache has a chance to set, otherwise you’ll have to secure them to the cake another way.
Add your flowers and pearls.
Add some extra pearls and gold leaf surrounding your accent flower (that I later exchanged for a purple one). Then sprinkle the whole thing with some gold dust and you’re sweet!
What I learned:
- For the chocolate shards it’s probably best to use candy melts. I thought I could trick my white chocolate into accepting my blue gel color by adding a drop of color to my chocolate chips and stirring it in prior to melting. It did not work. I mean, it looked pretty and all but it was missing the signature shine and snappiness of real chocolate. An alternative method of coloring white chocolate is to use powdered food colors. I believe you can buy them online.
- When applying gold dust to a cake, the best method is to take a large brush (such as a blush brush) and dab it onto a bit of the powder. Then hold the brush over the cake and flick the bristles with your other hand. It’s a tad messy, but better than large globs of dust all over your cake
- Speaking of gold, the best way to apply gold leaf is also by using a brush. That stuff literally goes everywhere but where you want it too. The wind from your living room fan the next room over is enough to blow that shiz into the next county. Gold leaf seems to stay put on brushes though, so definitely use one.
Until next time <3