A Professional-Looking Cake for Amateurs

My baby turned 1!! I can’t believe it!

This is believed to be our final baby so I have really been cherishing every moment I can. Every last snuggle and stage of infancy. Now, of course since I just said that she probably will not be my last haha. That always seems to be how it works! :)

Needless to say, I don’t usually go too crazy for my children’s birthdays but my last baby turning one was kind of a big deal to me! And of course that centered around her smash cake. I feel like so many people pay a pretty big chunk of change to pay a bakery to make a shnazzy little cake, but I really wanted to see what I could do myself. I enjoy making cakes and while I am no professional, I think you can make some pretty cool cakes with very little experience and tools you already have in the kitchen. I don’t believe you need to go out and get all sorts of cake decorating extras to be able to make a beautiful cake for a special occasion.

Here is how her cake turned out.

I really liked the ombre effect of the pink frosting.  The cool bubble/scalloped effect of the frosting was really fun and easy to do.

Now, my sister who decorates cakes for a living just recently made my brother’s wedding cake and she made a gorgeous “naked” cake with the smoothest, most divine frosting I have ever seen. It is called Italian buttercream frosting.

One big way that this is different from your typical American buttercream frosting is that typical American buttercream is mostly all powdered sugar with some butter. You can get three cavities just from looking at it. Italian buttercream, on the other hand, is mostly butter and egg whites with some sugar. It is a much lighter version of buttercream and is smoother than can be. It pipes beautifully and doesn’t get a hard crusty, sugary coating like typical buttercream.

So if there is one thing I could have changed about this cake is that it would have been made out of Italian buttercream. But because of allergies to egg in our family, I stuck with the American kind that will keep my dentist in business a while longer. But I would highly recommend you try the Italian buttercream for your next cake. It is really nice because cake is plenty sweet enough so it’s a nice compliment and lets the cake really shine instead of just tasting frosting for days.

I just mixed up my buttercream and starting with white, added some of that to a Ziploc bag. I then added a little red food coloring and added some of that to a Ziploc bag. And finally, I added a few more drops of food coloring to achieve my darkest layer and once again added to a Ziploc bag.

I made sure to cut off the same exact shape corner so my little pipes would all come out the same shape. Then, working your way from the bottom to the top, pipe a circle dot and swoop it out to the right. You can use a spoon to press it down a little on the circle dot. I had a damp towel nearby to wipe the spoon off as needed.

I really enjoyed making this cake for my baby girl. She didn’t really work her way into the cake part at all. She was ever the little lady and just would dab her little fingertips into the frosting and lick them off. Then I could tell she had had enough of her sugar coma and we called it a night.

Do you enjoy piping designs onto cakes? And have you ever tried Italian (or even Swiss, which is very similar to Italian) buttercream? I’d love to hear in the comments below :)


    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! mary@dvo.com

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