Mom is a special lady. I am thankful for her every day even if I don't always show it the best. Anything that requires gift giving puts this sentiment on the spot. She's hard to shop for and I want to get something meaningful. Her tastes are simple and honestly, she never "wants" anything. In typical mom fashion, all she requests is others happiness and time with her kids. Gee mom, way to be difficult.
Her birthday and Mother's day are about 2 weeks apart.
We're all grown ups and not materialistic. It's the thought that counts. Last year, I went with one of her favorite flavors: tiramisu cake. It came out pretty well but visually it was lacking panache. Pretty sure I over mixed the frosting.
This year, I went for the wow factor: a Rose Covered Cake. She loves roses. If you ever go to her house, you'll find there is no front yard- just a sea of roses. They're out of control. As far back as I can remember, the Mr. Lincoln rose is her favorite.
You can imagine the excitement when I stumbled upon this ridiculously easy frosting technique on I am Baker. Rose frosting? Heck yah!
Rose Frosting requires 3 basic elements:
1. A good layer of crumb coating. Crumb coating is simply a preliminary layer of frosting that packs down any stray bits of cake in the decorating process. You can use the same buttercream frosting used in step 2.
2. Frosting that can hold its form like buttercream. <- This recipe is simple and sinful! Everyone loved it! You can also use the store bought stuff, just mix in some additional confectioners sugar to thicken it up.
3. The most important part: A STAR FROSTED TIP. The one recommended is the 1M Wilton tip. You can find this at Michael's craft stores.
After you frost your crumb coating, place the 1M tip on a piping/ziplock bag. Slowly swirl around a starting point- the center of the rose. Do a few practice ones on the side and reuse the frosting! It's just drawing a dizzy circle. The star tip creates this simple, basic rose effect. Don't be scared- you can't mess up.
If you want to add some color, add food coloring to the white buttercream. Or, you can go hard and get food coloring spray paint! Honestly, I liked my white version better but it felt too much like a wedding cake.
Now... the cake.
Vertical Layered Cake vs Checkerboard Cake
To make things super fancy, I made a single layer vertical cake. For the detailed tutorial, check out I am Baker's post.
I made one plain batch of batter, divided as to avoid too much extra batter. It's only one layer of cake! In one half of batter, I added coffee extract and unsweetened cocoa. The other half, I added almond extract with a little red food coloring.
Then, I did the vertical method and realized... I was creating an unstacked checkered cake. Damn it.
The vertical layered method requires two different flavors of cake. You have to make two cakes and merge them. This means making the cakes, leveling , freezing, cutting it into circles, and freezing again with some simple syrup for glue. It's time consuming because the cake must be totally chilled. Make the actual cakes the night before!
The old fashioned checkered cake method entails making one batch of batter and dividing it. You make the other half a little different- either add cocoa, food coloring, jello, etc. Then, you pipe (or use the checkerboard cake set) into the pans alternating circles of batter.
The only issue I foresee is if you're doing the checkerboard method of piping in the batter (as opposed to buying the pans), the layers may not be as thick as you want them to be for a single layer of vertical cake.
Why do the vertical method? Guaratneed, thick even layers and the flavor combination is endless. I'm very curious now-- can you use the checkerboard method with wildly different flavors?
Oh well. Another lesson learned in the kitchen! The cake was delicious! You couldn't really taste the individual flavors unless you ate small bites of each- everything blended together so well! Coffee and almond flavors with cocoa? Plus, the delicious, rich butter cream? It was well worth the effort- especially since it was for someone so amazing. Mom enjoyed it- and that's all that matters.