Stacked cakes always look stunning, even if they’re just a two-tiered cake, but I’ve been intimidated by them for a while. My decorating skills have certainly grown a lot since I started working at Wilton two and a half years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I made a tiered cake all on my own. Are you wondering how to make a tiered cake? If you’ve never stacked cakes before but would like to try, never fear! I’m here to walk you through just how I made this purple cake with neon flowers.
A few weeks ago, my best friend since kindergarten asked me if I could make a cake for her fiancée’s daughter’s eighth birthday. I told her sure, no problem! She sent me a photo off of Pinterest for inspiration. It was a typical round cake covered in purple icing with neon-colored flowers that appeared to be made from fondant or gum paste. There was a neon green grass border around the bottom of the cake and a few neon hearts, butterflies and stars scattered about. After taking a good look at the cake, I decided, “I can do this!”
I’d been wanting to try Wilton’s Cake Construction System for a while, but didn’t have an event to use it for yet. This was the perfect opportunity! I set out to make a two-tiered cake. I decided to work on the cake in stages, because I tend to get frustrated when trying to complete a project all in one day. A few days prior to the birthday party, I made a 50/50 blend of white fondant and gum paste. This is easy enough to do, just take a chunk of fondant and a similar size chunk of gum paste and knead them together until combined. I chose to make this 50/50 blend because the gum paste would help my flowers dry more thoroughly than pure fondant.
Next, I needed to color my fondant and gum paste blend. I knew I wanted pink, orange, yellow and green so I divided my fondant/gum paste into four equal parts. I used formulas from the Neon Palette of our Color Right Color Performance System. Since all the Color Right formulas are made for 24 ounces of fondant, I divided the number of drops in each formula by four. I knew I could add a few more drops of color if I felt the colors weren’t bright enough, but this approach worked perfectly!
After all four neon colors were made, I rolled out my fondant/gum paste to 1/16 of an inch thick. I then used the daisy cutters from our 28-piece Gum Paste Cutters Set. I really love this set and can’t wait to teach myself how to make more flowers! A 10-page instruction book is included with the kit and it was easy to follow along with the instructions. I had not worked with fondant or gum paste since taking Course 3: Fondant and Gum Paste over two years ago, but I really enjoyed it for this project. When working with fondant or gum paste, make sure you have some solid vegetable shortening on hand to prevent your fondant from drying out. It’s also important to work in as clean of a work space as possible. I opted to work on my cake at the Wilton offices because I have a cuddly cat at home whose fur can be found everywhere.
I used two different sizes of daisy cutters from my Gum Paste Cutters Set because I wanted to layer my daisies. After cutting out the shapes, I carefully peeled back the fondant/gum paste and then one at a time, I placed each daisy onto thin foam from our shaping foam. I then used the veining tool from our Fondant and Gum Paste Tool Set to give each flower petal more definition. To do this, I used the veining tool at the tip of each petal and pulled inward to the center. I then used a little bit of gum glue (which is just gum paste dissolved in water) and a food-safe paint brush to attach the center of the daisies together. Repeat, repeat, repeat until all your daisies are finished. Then, sit back and marvel at their beauty:
So summery! If you’d like, you can also roll a small ball of colored gum paste to attach to the center of each daisy, but I liked the look of these daisies without a center. The cake was going to look bold, and I felt they stood out even more this way. I let these daisies dry for 24 hours. It was a relief to have them finished! I recommend making extras of each, because I did break a few petals the next day.
The day before I had to deliver my cake, I baked two 8-inch cakes and two 6-inch cakes. I leveled each cake and filled them with decorator icing, then iced the cakes with purple icing. I used the purple formula from the Color Right Bright & Bold Palette, then added 2 drops of red to help dull the intensity a bit. Icing a cake takes so much practice! I’ve iced 7 or 8 cakes now and still have some trouble. I finally had to leave the cake be, because the more I attempted to “fix” it, the worse I would make it. Once my cakes were iced, I was ready to stack them!
I was rather nervous about this. I watched our YouTube video on using the Cake Construction Set several times beforehand! It was really, truly easy to use though! I started off by inserting one of the 4.5-inch center core rods into the middle of my cake, then inserted the 2-inch rod into the 4.5-inch one. I previously iced my top tier on a 6-inch cake board that already had a perforated center. If your cake board does not have a center hole cut out, you can easily cut one yourself. Finally, I needed to insert my support rods and caps. I placed one of the support rods along the side of my cake and cut them just a tiny bit shorter than the top of my cake – about 1/16 of an inch. I then used this rod as a reference for the other three rods I needed to cut. I placed each of the four support rods into the bottom tier of my cake, and added the caps for extra support. Now all I had to do was align the hole in the center of my cake board with the center core rod. You can see the fear in my eyes here!
Once the cake was sliding far enough that my fingers risked messing up the icing, I let go of the cake. Voila! I did it!
The most frightening part was over. Now I just had to add the finishing touches to my cake. I chose to add a zigzag border using the same purple icing instead of doing a green grass border. Then I used a dab of icing to attach each daisy to the cake.
I sure was thankful the daisies helped cover up the “oops” parts of my icing. The finished cake looked pretty fantastic:
My friend, her fiancée and his daughter absolutely loved it! Plus, thanks to the cake construction set, the cake survived a two hour car ride. Tell me: Have you ever stacked cakes before? Have questions on fondant, gum paste, coloring icing or stacking cakes? Leave it in the comments below!