This cake was insanely fun to brainstorm, let alone decorate. This is the time of year in Texas where I really become homesick thinking about Maine. It’s actually all year long, but it’s strongest during the spring/fall seasons. I think it’s because the humidity here is at its lowest and the temperature is cool enough to remind me of Maine at its hottest.
The lovely weather here will soon give way to the torturous hell that is summer in Texas. 😛
Anyway, I really had no idea where I was going to go with this cake in terms of decorating until I started actually doing it. I’m beginning to notice that that’s when I make some of my prettiest cakes. My strawberry cake, for example, is another one.
I knew that I wanted it to be beachy colors, but I was toying with the idea of actually trying to paint with buttercream. I decided against it. I also considered trying to build a rocky coast out of some of my leftover whoopie pie cakes, but settled with just sticking a pretty one right on top. I really love the simplicity of the look and the bold statement it makes!
Salt water taffy was definitely a must, as it is such a huge staple of the coastal towns, such as the historic Goldenrod candy shop in York where you can actually watch them make it.
I considered making some fudge to put on top too, but I really wanted to try to keep the colors light (other than the whoopie pie) and I couldn’t decide on a flavor anyway.
When my mind is racing full of ideas like this I usually scrap most of them. The buoys though—the idea was just too cute to pass up.
The sign for the top was a last minute idea too. I felt like the cake needed something more so I threw it together using a hot glue gun, scissors, a skewer, and the flap of a small box that I cut into little arrows. I painted it with some non-toxic paint but made sure not to paint the part of the skewer that would actually go into the cake. I always love seeing crudely made signs like this out in the real world. It means you’re someplace special. 🙂
And Maine sure is special!
After I frosted the cake and added my ganache, decorating was as easy as deciding where I wanted the taffy, buoys, and whoopie pie to go. Here are some tips on how this look was achieved:
After crumb coating and final coating my cake in white buttercream, I divided some of the remaining buttercream into three bowls and colored it in shades reminiscent of the coast. I used Americolor’s chocolate brown, sky blue, and royal blue.These bowls are tiny. There is probably only a couple of spoonfuls of icing in each of them.You won’t need a lot!
I dotted these colors all over my cake in small little globs. Tan for the bottom, the lighter blue in the middle, then the darker blue on top. But I also overlapped them a little. You can see how some of the blue goes down into the brown, etc. I then used my bench scraper to go all around the cake, smoothing it out a bit. Notice how the tan has already been smoothed in this picture. I love the texture that I got as a result of this method.
If you scrape too much color off just add more and do it again! I think I went around the cake dotting colors here and there about 3-4 times.
The last thing I did, which I also did on the strawberry cake, was add the white chocolate ganache on top. I’ve found that the perfect amount for my six-inch cakes is 90 grams of chocolate and 30 grams of cream (3:1 ratio). Immediately upon making it I put a couple spoonfuls in a piping bag, then pour the rest on top of the cake and smooth it toward the edges with a flat spatula. Then I use the piping bag to create artificial drips around the cake.
As for the little buoys, I drew my inspiration from this image.
I shaped my fondant into a buoy-like shape and then stuck a toothpick in the bottom. I then painted on some stripes using gel food coloring. It’s not shown here, but after shaping the fondant I also created a hole at the tip of the buoy where the rope would go through. I created the rope by braiding several pieces of thread together. Then I strung all of my buoys on it and hung it around my sign so that they dangled off the side of the cake.
All in all, I think she’s a real beauty!
If you’re wondering what was under all of those decorations, I copied my vanilla cake with Maine blueberry jam filling but added some maple syrup between the layers. It was delicious! Never thought of that flavor combination before, but the maple syrup really came through. I suggest using a good quality pure maple syrup–none of that sugary cheap stuff. If you’ve tasted true maple syrup then you know what I mean. It’s got a much deeper flavor and isn’t as sweet. It’s also much thinner which makes it a dream for brushing on cakes!
Until next time! <3