Hi friends! Last week I had every intention of attempting my somewhat-horrible buttercream marble cake design again, but at the last minute I decided to switch it up and attempt a scrape cake instead.
I’ve been completely obsessed with all of the ones I’ve been seeing on Instagram lately by amazing cake decorators such as donttellcharles (#unachievablegoals :P). These cakes are characterized by their scraped “stucco” sort of look to them using bright contrasting colors. They are pretty similar to the (also popular) watercolor cake designs that you see everywhere, but the technique is a bit different and the colors are less blended. Keep reading to see how it’s done!
I recently started trimming my cakes prior to icing them. If your cake pans are anything like mine, they taper a little bit, which means you don’t get a nice straight edge when you stack them. I found that cutting them down a little bit with a bread knife after stacking really helps it to look vertical. Of course, that also means that there will be more crumbs, so don’t skip the crumb coat! By the way, if you want to see a list of my must-have cake decorating tools, just click here. 🙂
Once the crumb coat is done you can pop the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes so that the buttercream sets. This will make the final coat so much easier. First I spread it on with a large angle spatula, using wave motions to prevent any air bubbles…
Then I smooth it all out with the bench scraper. This isn’t actually how I hold it, but I’m left handed and for some reason always try to take photos of myself doing things with my right hand 😛 You need to apply a bit of pressure to not only secure the icing onto the cake and smooth it out, but to form a sort of ridge at the top.
That you can then use a smaller angled spatula to drag into the center of the top of the cake, creating a nice clean edge. By the way, the color I chose for my base is called Wedgewood by Americolor. It’s a very cool toned gray that goes with everything. I only used a few drops because I wanted it to be nice and light. Once the cake was iced it went back in the refrigerator for another 20 or so minutes so the base color could get nice and firm. If this were a watercolor cake I’d skip this step because I’d want my accent colors to blend right in with my base color.
So while it chilled, I prepared the other colors. If you’re wondering how much buttercream you need to set aside for this, the answer is not much. Even a tablespoon of each color (which is what I used) goes a long way since all you’re doing is smearing it on the surface of the cake. My cake was about 6×6 inches and I had plenty of colored icing left over. The colors I chose were burgundy and electric blue. I realize that not everyone has a million colors at their disposal, but experimenting with what you have is half the fun! I love this post by Sugarbelle because she shows you how to make tons of colors using just a few staples.
Once the buttercream was nice and firm, it was time to scrape on the icing! I started with white. Notice how little I put on the edge of my spatula. That’s because the aim is for minimal texture. You can always add more later.
Now just have fun with it! Scrape the spatula along the cake. The firm buttercream means the base is safe. Overlap colors for added interest. And don’t forget the top!
Notice how in this picture I added blue to the top and had it continue down the side. Much more interesting than random globs of isolated colors.
When you’re happy with the color placement, give it a nice slow scrape with your bench scraper to smooth it all out. It won’t be totally smooth, but really you’re just trying to get rid of any major globs of icing.
Until it looks something like this!
Now, if you clicked on the marble cake at the beginning of this post then you definitely saw some pitiful looking icing globs on the top. I can’t even click on it again…they were so bad. So I really, really want to thank Claire (a.k.a. Sweet nor’westerly) for her tip to microwave (yes, microwave!) your icing for a few seconds to make it the perfect “icing blob” consistency. I set my microwave to power level 3 (low) and only heated it for about 10 seconds. It really did the trick!
See?! Yay for awesome icing blobs! Definitely the highlight of the decorating for me. 🙂 After letting the blobs firm up a bit in the refrigerator, all that’s left to do is transfer the cake to your cake stand. Not bad!
So, I hope this tutorial helped you out a little. I know that I can’t wait to experiment with even more colors. I really want to do something in varying shades of gray and other unconventional tones. I just think they are so chic, especially when those colors are contrasted with bright orange or something.
Cake decorating is seriously the bees knees.
Before I go! I thought I would show off my completed pallet garden. The bottom row is supposed to be reserved for some lettuce that I’m currently growing from seed, but now I’m thinking I might not be able to get it in there. lol. We’ll see. At the top I have some edible flowers that will be great to decorate desserts with (violas and pansies). Underneath I have oregano, rosemary, dill, cilantro, basil, mint, and parsley. Pretty exciting!
I also have a few pepper plants going, as well as some tomatoes and strawberries. Good stuff! I’ll keep you updated on whether or not it all stays alive. 😛
Until next time <3!