When Mandy Merriman’s debut book, Cake Confidence went straight to the top of the cookbook bestseller charts it was no surprise.
Her blog, Baking with Blondie, has long been the go-to destination for baking enthusiasts looking for inspiration amongst her beautifully decorated cakes and bakes presented in an accessible style that has won here legions of fans.
Whether your a complete baking beginner or a well-established whiz with a whisk, Mandy’s book caters to both audiences with aplomb. With so many new flavor combinations and exquisitely decorated classics, Cake Confidence will definitely be top of every baker’s Santa list this year.
Explaining the philosophy behind the book, Mandy says: “I’ve loved teaching cake classes and have enjoyed meeting so many kindred cake-loving friends through our shared desire to create the best-tasting and best-looking cakes. For a great portion of my classes, I demonstrate how to prep, stack, fill, crumb coat, final coat, add the drip, decorate, and transfer the perfect cake. I want you to have that same cake confidence they leave my class with and show you how to avoid the most common cake-decorating mistakes that tend to happen at a beginner level. Each step is outlined below from start to finish.
(To make your cake from scratch see Cake Geek’s Cake Recipes page which gives recipes for all different pan sizes as well as our Frostings & Fillings page which gives recipes and amounts also for different size cakes.)
How To Buttercream A Cake: Tutorial
On the top of a turntable fitted with a non-slip mat, place a small layer of tape on a cardboard round the next size up from the size of cake you’re decorating. So a 6-inch taped to an 8-inch, or an 8-inch taped to a 10-inch, etc.
Place a cardboard cake round the same size as your cake in the center of the larger cardboard round and press firmly to stick.
Add on a touch of buttercream in the center of the smaller cardboard cake round to act as “glue” for the bottom cake round. Using an offset icing spatula, spread out the buttercream in a nice even layer. (Don’t spread it too thin, though; just a little bit.)
Place the first cake round in the center of the small cardboard round. Make sure there’s even spacing from all the edges.
Pipe on an even layer of buttercream.
Spread the buttercream nice and even with the offset icing spatula.
Place the next cake layer on top. Look at the cake at eye level to make sure it’s straight and even.
If you are planning on adding a filling, spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cake round.
Next, pipe a dam around the outside rim of the cake layer. This will keep the soft filling inside without leaking.
Add about ½ cup of filling to your cake. A little filling goes a long way. Be sure to have a strong dam around it, and go easy.
Add on top cake layer. Look at it again at eye level to make sure everything is straight.
Fill in the middle layer areas with more buttercream.
Add a layer of buttercream to the top of the cake using an offset icing spatula.
Add a thin layer of buttercream to the sides, starting from the bottom, using a cake knife.
Crumb coat the entire cake with the cake knife.
Smooth out the crumb coat with a cake scraper, angling it at about 45 degrees from the cake.
Pull in the edges of the rim of the cake from the rim to the middle with an offset icing spatula. Freeze for 5 minutes.
Place a cardboard round on top of the chilled cake and make sure it’s straight.
Place one hand on top and apply buttercream to the top half of the cake to hold the cardboard in place.