My neighbor’s fantastically generous mother picked this cake stand up for me during a shopping expedition, and I’m totally in love! Teal is way up there on my list of favorite colors, and so bright and beautiful that I just know you’ll be seeing a lot more cakes decorated specifically for this stand. So a very special thanks to her since I know she reads this blog. Muah!
It’s important to note, however, that I do have a very dark past with the color teal. I’m only now beginning to get over it, really. Maybe if I share my story you’ll understand how much of an achievement it has been to incorporate this color back into my life. I am quite certain that in the end you will be inspired by how I was able to bounce back from such a traumatizing experience.
First, I grew up kind of poor at a time when every kid in the neighborhood owned a $100 Starter jacket. You remember Starter jackets, right?
Ahh yes. Ain’t that fresh? Everybody wants to get down like that.
I NEEDED one of these jackets. Dear God. Everyone had one. Everyone but me. Where was mine? WHERE WAS MY BEAUTIFULLY PUFFY YET MANLY STARTER JACKET?!
I didn’t even like sports, but my dream was to own a Charlotte Hornets because I loved the color combination. I must have dropped ten thousand hints to my mother. Never wanting me to the be the odd kid out, she busted her ass at two jobs so she could surprise me with one on Christmas morning. In fact, it was the very last gift she gave me. She’d hidden it underneath the chair that I sat upon. Video camera in hand, she made sure I was thoroughly disappointed at not getting one before she alerted me to the gift under my seat.
Let’s just say I’m so glad social media didn’t exist back then. Or perhaps my reaction (which consisted of a lot of happy shrieks, screaming, tears, and snot) would have gone viral and I’d be some quasi-celebrity living it up like Tila Tequila right now! Minus the craziness, of course.
One can dream, right?
But as I was saying, I have no idea if my mother still has that video. That’s not the point of the story. In my little school there was only one other person with my specific Charlotte Hornets Starter jacket. And that person happened to be the boy I was crushing on. And everyone knew I was crushing on him. So although I strutted into school, jacket in tow and a huge “Look at me, bitches!” grin on my face, it quickly turned into a frown when all of the kids accused me of getting that jacket so this boy would go out with me. And he of course avoided me like the plague. It’s not like I could just stop wearing the jacket, my mother spent a fortune on it! The winter felt eight months long, every day a punishment. The color teal became my scarlet letter, branding me as that creepy girl who wanted to Bennifer it up with her crush. And yes, the jacket was a little manlier than the ones the other girls were wearing, but my mother couldn’t have known! The tomboy gangster look was in, and she wanted me to rock it.
So yes, I blame the beauty of the color teal for this horribly scarring moment in my childhood. And it just now occurred to me that I paired it with purple for this cake. CHARLOTTE HORNET COLORS. It’s like I’m some kind of masochist.
With all that being said, I’m it back. I’m taking it all back. Charlotte doesn’t even own those colors anymore. They are mine now.
So here is how I decorated this beautiful drip cake:
I started off by making my delicious vanilla cake batter and adding a few tablespoons of some star shaped sprinkles I had left over. This is because I wanted to make it a funfetti cake! If you’re wondering, much to my disappointment the starts did not hold their shape after baked. Still pretty though!
I then poured all of the batter into a sheet pan and threw it in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until it was golden and springy to the touch. You can of course just use cake tins, but I still only have one six-inch cake tin and I was feeling particularly lazy.
I used a pot lid (I’m so inventive, right?) to stamp out several layers of cake. Then I used an empty can of tuna to stamp out some smaller cakes. I put the smaller cakes and the scraps in a plastic bag and threw it in the freezer. The smaller cakes will make a cute top tier for a future project, and the scraps can be used for cake pops.
When the cakes were finished I ended up baking some meringues. Use 1/4 c (50 g) sugar for every egg white. Heat the whites and sugar over a double boiler until the sugar melts. Then whip on high speed until thick, glossy peaks form. Transfer it all to a piping bag with a large star tip and go nuts on your parchment paper. I decided on swirls and stars. Then bake at 175º F (80 C) for an hour and a half. Turn off the oven and leave them in there for a couple more hours. The meringues in the above picture came out horrible so I ended up redoing them. Excuse the lumpiness!
I filled, crumb coated, and added supports via straws. The straws ensure that your cake won’t topple over and your layers will stay aligned rather than slide around everywhere. I then put the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes so the buttercream could set. Afterwards, I took it out and gave it another thick layer of buttercream.
After getting it as smooth as I could, I took some of the leftover buttercream and dyed it teal (using Americolor’s teal gel coloring). I then spread some just along the edge of my bench scraper and went around the cake again. I kept adding this teal buttercream until I was happy with the result.
Next, I made my ganache by microwaving 90 g of white chocolate and 30 g of cream (standard 3:1 ratio). Once it was all melted I added about a teaspoon of vegetable oil, then 2 drops of Americolor violet and 1 drop of Americolor red. This gave me a nice dark purple shade. I then added a few spoonfuls of the ganache to a plastic sandwich bag so that I could use it to create some artificial drips.
I spread some of the ganache over the top of the cake and used my spatula to guide it toward the edge. Then I snipped off the corner of my sandwich bag and quickly added some drips along the outer edge.
*Note: You may want to let the ganache firm up for about 10 minutes before using it. Mine was a bit runnier than I like, hence why the drips made it to the bottom of the cake.
My next step was to add some of those leftover sprinkles to the top of the cake, then plop the meringues right on top. The wet ganache helped them to stay in place, but I added more security by piping little purple and teal “kisses” using my leftover buttercream. To get the same purple color as the ganache, just mimic the same ratio: 2:1 violet to red. You don’t have to use full drops from the bottle either, since that would be a waste. I used a couple of toothpicks and just eyeballed it. I then added some colorful Sixlet candies in white, teal, and purple to add some visual interest.
The last thing I did was add this hilariously ugly border that I wish would have been purple. Actually I wish I would have just left it off altogether. But hindsight is 20/20. If you do this, make sure your buttercream is stiff, as mine clearly wasn’t. 😛
But there you have it! A wonderfully drippy cake that looks more difficult than it actually is. Freak Nasty would be so proud!
I demand you listen to that song while baking. In fact, it’s mandatory.
Until next time