- • 1 recipe of your favourite chocolate cake batter recipe or cake mix, enough for three 8-inch round layers. Add 2 tsp AmeriColor gel paste food colour in Super Black to darken batter
- • 3 recipes Swiss meringue butter cream (recipe follows)
- • AmeriColor gel paste food colours in Regal Purple and Electric Blue
- • 3½ lb white ready-made fondant
- • non-slip squares
- • 4-inch, 6-inch and 8-inch round, thin cake boards
- • small offset spatula
- • ¼-inch wooden cake dowels
- • 10-inch round cake drum or platter
- • edible food markers
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease bottoms of three 4 × 2-inch, three 6 × 2-inch, and four 8 × 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment.
- Divide the cake batter among the pans. Bake two 8-inch pans in the centre of the oven until a wooden pick inserted in the centre comes out with a few crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes. Repeat with the final two 8-inch pans. Bake the 4-inch and 6-inch pans three at a time. Let the cakes cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen, and carefully turn the layers out onto wire racks. Peel off the paper and let cool completely.
- Tint 3 cups of the butter cream bright purple and 2 cups bright blue. Using a small offset spatula, fill the four 8-inch and three 6-inch and 4-inch tiers of cake with the tinted butter cream on the co-ordinating round, thin cake boards (the 8-inch tier will have 2 layers of purple butter cream). Frost the outside of the cake tiers with the untinted butter cream, working to create a very even finish for covering with fondant.
- Cover each cake tier in the white fondant, using 1 lb plus 8 oz for the 8-inch tier, 1 lb for the 6-inch tier, and 14 oz for the 4-inch tier. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
- Dowel and stack the tiers onto a cake drum or platter. Refrigerate until firm and the fondant is dry, 2 hours.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and doodle using a black edible-ink marker. If the fondant is sticky from condensation, let it dry. Let the black ink dry, about 2 hours.
- Colour in the doodles with bright edible-ink markers. This is best done while the cake is cold and firm, but serve at room temperature.
SWISS MERINGUE BUTTER CREAM
- • 7 large fresh egg whites
- • 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- • 2 cups unsalted butter cut into cubes, at room temperature
- • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- • pinch of salt
- Wipe the stainless steel bowl, whisk and paddle attachment of an electric mixer with a paper towel dampened with a little lemon juice. Add the egg whites and sugar and put the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly but gently, until the temperature is 130° F.
- Return the bowl to the mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high until it reaches the stiff peak stage (very thick and glossy), about 2 minutes. Decrease the speed to medium and beat until the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm, 10 minutes.
- Switch to the paddle attachment, and with the mixer running on low speed, add the butter one piece at a time. Beat until the mixture is silky smooth, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed for 2 more minutes.
- Bring the butter cream to room temperature when ready to use.
- For a spreadable consistency, beat on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes. If your butter cream still isn’t fluffy, microwave about 1 cup of it for about 10 seconds to soften (it’s OK if it partially melts), and then add it to the remaining butter cream and beat again.
Rosie Alyea’s first cookbook — named for her popular blog Sweetapolita, which she operates from her home outside Toronto — is like a spell book for birthday baking. It brims with decorating and design ideas sure to enchant kids (and adults!). Her treats are delicious, too. Rosie’s own kids, her eightand six-year-old daughters whom she calls her “cakelets,” have given the recipes their approval. – Chris Daniels
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