After making a birch stump cake last month, I've been wanting to try more buttercream designs and practice the technique of chilling/smoothing swiss meringue buttercream. Luckily, we decided to throw my mom a belated birthday party which gave me the opportunity to whip up some cake and icing. Birthday parties = the perfect and most appropriate occasion to serve birthday cakes.
Normally when I make a cake, I plan out the design a few days before with little sketches and a colour scheme and get started on any details that need to be made in advance. But this time I was preoccupied with the main course which was going to be slow cooked brisket (learning to make ALL THE MEAT was a New Year's resolution of mine). I had finally tracked down a nice cut at a local butcher and the thing was as big as my front car seat. So all my party-food-planning was brisket based research to avoid messing it up.
When it came to the cake, I knew I was going to bake a couple of 6 inch vanilla layers, use a berry buttercream for the inside, and swiss meringue for the outside with a smoothed design. But beyond that hadn't really thought ahead to what the design would be. I figured I'd just wing it.. really living on the edge over here.
The cake was baked the night before and iced with the berry buttercream. I used my laid-back mish-mash method of making buttercream that I outline in this Eat North article. Basically, I just mix together Stirling unsalted butter, icing sugar, berry puree, and some whipping cream until it tastes good and spreads nicely.
The day of the party I made a batch of swiss merginue buttercream (SMB) using Stirling's Churn84 to make it extra rich and satiny. Unlike regular buttercream, I always follow the recipe for SMB to avoid a curdled bowl of sadness. Nothing puts a kink in your decorating plans like babying a batch of buttercream gone bad.