At the end of every year, my school has an event called “Peace Day” at the end of our “Peace Week” where we basically celebrate the diversity and peace in our school and community with inspiring assemblies/talks and friendly competitions within the student body! On Peace Day, there are several games between houses (like in Harry Potter) at our school and one of the games is Cake Wars, where a group from each pre-makes a cake to a specific theme (this year it was nature) and brings it on Peace Day!
For our nature cake, my friends and I decided to make a tree stump with white chocolate bark surrounding it, green pretzel trees on top, and pink and white fondant flowers along the base of the cake. One of my friends made the cake (a white cake), I made the buttercream (vanilla and caramel), and together we made the decorations! So, I’m just going to be showing you how I made the buttercream and how we made some of the decorations!
I used the same base buttercream for both the vanilla and caramel ones and just added my homemade caramel to a section of the vanilla buttercream. I started by making the caramel sauce for the caramel buttercream with these ingredients:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
First melt together the brown sugar and butter in a saucepan.
Then, mix in the milk and vanilla extract and allow the sauce to bubble up and cook for about 2 -3 minutes.
When you can run your finger down your mixing spoon and the line stays, you know the sauce is thick enough and is done cooking!
Moving onto the buttercream base (which is the same as my SuperBowl cookies buttercream–> https://simmiskitchenblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/superbowl-cookies/), you will need…
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar (it seems like a lot, but just trust me)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 tsp milk
Start by whipping the butter until it is light and fluffy.
Then alternatively add the powdered sugar with the milk (1 cup powdered sugar for every 1 tsp milk). In the cycle, I would add the sugar first, mix it in with the butter, then add the milk.
You may have to use a spatula to scrape down what sticks to the side of your mixing bowl frequently.
Once it has completely reached its light and fluffy stage, I set about half of it aside for the inside layers of our cake and then added the caramel to the other half which we put on the top and outer layers (more of a tree bark color).
I whipped in the caramel until there were no lumps or specks of caramel left and I had a smooth, delicious caramel buttercream!
Time for decorating!!
Once the cake that my friend made cooled, we frosted the inner layers and part of the outside with the vanilla buttercream.
Then, we made white chocolate bark and drizzled some milk chocolate overtop it to create this bark you see surrounding the sides of the frosted cake! On top, we piped milk chocolate in a spiral design to mimic the rings on a tree!
To make the trees on top, we first melted some green candy melts and placed them in a ziploc bag with the tip cut off (just a little).
Then, by carefully piping back and forth and shortening the lines as we approached the top of each pretzel stick, we created about 10 trees, only 6 of which we placed on top of the cake!
Here were the finished trees! (And some flowers we made with the remaining chocolate 🙂 )
To make the flowers, we used fondant that we died pink (using 2 drops of red food coloring). In order to create each flower, we cut out 4 circles using a water bottle cap.
Then, with each cut out circle, we wet it with a little bit of water by using a toothpick.
With the water in the middle, we were able to press the sides of each edge of the circle together to create a petal!
Once we made each petal, we used another dab of water in the middle of 4 petals to stick them all together!
Once they were all stuck together, we placed a small yellow fondant ball in the center to make it a flower!
We placed the flowers along the bottom of the cake and the trees on top of the cake! I’m confident that we will do well in the competition!