I have been itching to try my hand at one of these for ages, but it seemed a little daunting with all that piping. (Piping and myself aren’t very good friends. This is because I am bad therefore I don’t like doing it, therefore I never practice, therefore I never get better, therefore never-ending cycle of hopelessness).
Ta-da, the finished product:
The pink turned out waaay pinker than I wanted it (probably because I added half a bottle of electric pink colouring….) but it tasted all the same and looked good with the chocolate contrast.
A Note on Swiss Meringue Buttercream
I used Swiss Meringue Buttercream from Sweetapolita’s recipe but all the ones I looked at were pretty similar. My only comment would be that she said to make 3 x quantity for the ruffle cake (yes, that includes 1.3 kg of butter and 15 egg whites…) and I probably used 1/3rd – 1/2 of it! Perhaps I used a smaller piping nozzle, or perhaps my cake was not as tall, or perhaps I could have filed it more – I don’t know, but I had a heck of a lot left over.
Freezing & refrigerating Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Okay so this was a stressful incident. I made the SMB the day before assembling the cake (thinking I was saving myself time). It said it could be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen indefinitely.
I refrigerated it over night, but when I pulled it out of the fridge the next day it was literally rock hard in my kitchenaid bowl and would not move. I tried to loosen it with a spatula but it became grainy, with a consistency of Ricotta cheese. I tried to pipe with it and all the colour separated from the icing and clogged up my piping nozzle.
“Holy crap I have a mixing bowl full of icing that probably cost $20 in ingredients and now I am going to have to throw the whole thing in the bin and my cake is going to be a disaster and people are coming in 4 hours and I have no standby icing on hand!”
This was me, only with more expletives in between.
BUT NEVER FEAR! The icing needs reconstituting before you can use it again – with so much butter it only makes sense that it will set rock hard when refrigerated! Loosen the mixture as much as possible (I set the bowl i warm water in my sink and found the edges loosened up nicely) and make sure it is in a bowl that is not the one you will mix it with (this meant I had to spoon it from the kitchenaid bowl into a separate bowl). Using the paddle attachment on your mixed, beat on medium (about 4 on the Kitchenaid) and slowly add more of the icing in. It will eventually start to look more like it did when you initially made it. Finally, when you have around 1/4 of the icing left to add, put it in the microwave and heat on a low setting until it is soft to touch (and slightly but not overly warm). Add this into the mixer and it should return the icing to it’s original state.
Note that it cannot be overbeaten and if it curdles, just keep beating!
You need a rose petal tip, and a large icing bag (I used 12″ and it was annoying, I recommend bigger if you have it available!). You MUST face the fat end of the rose tip towards the cake (i.e. the skinny edge is on the outside) – otherwise it looks stupid (I would know, I did it multiple times!). The greatest thing is that if you make a mistake, just get a teaspoon and scrape the row off and pipe it again!!
You can leave the top plain if you like. If you want to ruffle it, you just use the same technique however now hold the piping tip at an angle rather than at 90 degrees! Practice on some baking paper first if you are unsure.
I was decorating this on a 30* day – not ideal!! I had to keep resting my piping bag between two esky ice bricks so it would come out stiff enough to hold its shape. This meant the process took a lot longer than it could have!