No one has taken the world of cake decorating by storm quite the way Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes girls have and so their brand new book has been hotly anticipated by their fans world-wide. The Contemporary Buttercream Bible by Valeri Valeriano and Christina Ong is a masterpiece in cake design innovation, oozing with ideas, concepts, textures and brand new techniques in the art of buttercream cake decorating.
Beginner decorators have been traditionally been wary of decorating with buttercream, leaning in favour of sugarpaste/fondant instead. Valeri & Christina have made it their personal mission to bring the beauty of buttercream art to the fore of cake style in the UK and world wide. And with the publication of their new book, they can consider that mission: accomplished.
To get you started on your own buttercream adventure, we have a fabulous tutorial for you from The Contemporary Buttercream Bible for the stylish and unique buttercream crochet lace cake featured above.
To create this cake, you will need:
- 20 x 20cm (8 x 8in) square cake (bottom tier), 15 x 10cm (6 x 4in) square cake (top tier)
- 2.35–2.75kg (5lb 4oz–6lb) buttercream
- Dowel rods
- Paste colours: green (Sugarflair Gooseberry), violet (Sugarflair Grape Violet), dark green (Sugarflair Spruce Green)
- Cocktail stick (toothpick)
- Piping bags
- Small petal nozzle (Wilton 104)
- Cake stand or covered cake board
Crumb coat, dowel and stack the cakes and place on a stand or covered board then, referring to the photograph, mark the pattern. Cover the lower part with 800–900g (1lb 12oz–2lb) of green buttercream and the top with 800–900g (1lb 12oz–2lb) of plain buttercream, giving both a smooth finish.
Colour the remaining buttercream in the following quantities: 500–600g (1lb 2oz–1lb 5oz) violet and 250–350g (9–12oz) dark green. Refer to the photographs and tutorial below to pipe the crochet in violet.
1. Using a cocktail stick (toothpick) or any pointed implement, mark patterns on the cake (below left).
2. Using tinted buttercream in a piping bag, cut the tip to create a small hole. Start with the outermost line and pipe over the marked guide lines. To create the crochet effect, continuously squeeze your piping bag and as you move it along, turn your bag with a small circular motion, clockwise (above right). Pipe another crochet effect line right next to the first line but do it counter-clockwise (below).
3. Repeat the process to complete the rest of the patterns on the cake (below left). Create some variations by making some lines double and some just a single crochet line.
4. You may pipe a guide outline, rather than following marks, if you find it easier. Pipe a very fine outline first (above right), then pipe over it using the circular crochet-making motion (below left).
5. To give volume to the hydrangea on the corner, either pipe a big blob of buttercream or pile up a small ball of cake sponge and stick with buttercream.
6. Use dark green buttercream to pipe the hydgrangea flowers (the two-toned example below was piped with two colours of buttercream in the piping bag).
7. Using a small petal nozzle (Wilton 103), hold the bag at a 20 to 30 degree angle with the wide end of the nozzle touching the surface, then give it a good squeeze until buttercream creates a fan shape. Stop squeezing the bag when and then gently pull it towards you (below left).
8. Repeat the same process and pipe three more petals making sure that all petals will start at one common point (below right).
9. Pipe clusters of flowers to create the flowerhead of a hydrangea. Use green tinted buttercream to pipe dots in the centre of each of the flowers (below left).
10. Pipe some leaves using a leaf nozzle (below right).
11. To finish off the cake design, pipe a crochet border in dark green (with a piping bag with the tip snipped off) all along the base of the bottom tier.
From The Contemporary Buttercream Bible by Christina Ong and ValeriValeriano, published by David & Charles/FW Media.
Learn more on Christina & Valerie’s buttercream art techniques in their Craftsy class here: Innovative Buttercream Cakes.
You can also watch Christina & Valeri demonstrate their buttercream flower piping skills plus lots more in their online class on Craftsy: Unbelievable Buttercream Techniques.
Join us on Facebook for more on cake design trends, ideas and inspiration.
Readers may also be interested in our features on:
- Floral Buttercream Hatbox Cake Tutorial by Valeri Valeriano & Christina Ong
- Vintage Floral Buttercream Cake Tutorial
- Buttercream Flowers & Floral Wreath Cakes
- More on Buttercream Flowers
- Cupcake Bouquets & Piped Buttercream Flower Tutorials
- Doile Lace Cakes
- Stained Glass Cake Art
- Stiletto Cupcakes & Tutorials
- How to Pipe Buttercream Roses
- How to Pipe Buttercream Ruffles & Frills
- How to Pipe a Buttercream Petal Cake
- Pretty Cupcake Cakes/Giant Cupcakes
- Pastel Swirl Watercolour Cakes
For more on lace cake designs, see our features on:
- Lace Wedding Cakes Part 1: Applique Lace
- Lace Wedding Cakes Part 3: Stencilled Lace
- Lace Wedding Cakes Part 4: Lace Trim
- Doile Lace Cakes
- Floral Lace Cakes
- Lace Veil & Mantilla Wedding Cakes
- Lace Wedding Cakes – Pearl Beaded Lace
- Lace Wedding Cakes – Suspended Lace Edging
- Lace & Metallics
- Edwardian Inspired Wedding Cakes
- Broderie Anglaise/Eyelet Lace Cakes
For more on the latest buttercream techniques, check out Erica O’Brien’s Better Buttercream classes on Craftsy below.
Learn to create beautiful buttercream flowers on Make Fabulous Cakes, below.
You’ll find more buttercream flowers classes online with Crafty’s Fresh Arrangments: Buttercream & Beyond class (below left) and Buttercream Basics teaching the pretty buttercream flowers cake and piped buttercream messages (below right).