I love the impact of a monochromatic finish! it’s so graphic and bold. this look is spectacular as a wedding cake or an elegant birthday cake.
The white-on-white look can be created with any seasonal elements—snowflakes, leaves, flowers and vines, etc. A key to this cake is preparation.
Creating the elements ahead of time makes for a much faster and frustration-free assembly. You can make them up to a week in advance and store them in an airtight container in a dark, dry place.
Another key to the success of this design is texture. In the absence of color, texture adds depth and interest.
for the cake
1 pound 50/50 Mix
6-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch round cakes, f illed and crumb-coated
6 1⁄2 pounds white fondant
1 cup royal icing
2-inch- and 1-inch-wide butterfly cutters
8 x 11 card stock or poster board 2-inch- and 1-inch-long leaf cutters Silicone leaf press and flower press (optional)
1 1⁄4-inch-long rose petal cutter
1-inch five-petal blossom cutter Plastic egg molds or flower formers Small paintbrush
Piping tip with a small, round opening (#2 or #3) and piping bag.
To make The butterflies
1. Divide the 50/50 Mix into four pieces. Wrap three of the pieces in plastic wrap and set them aside for later.
2. Roll out the unwrapped piece of 50/50 Mix until it’s about 6 inches square and 1⁄8 inch thick. Cut out butterfly shapes.
3. Use the tip of a knitting needle to indent the 50/50 Mix where the body of the butterfly would be. Add shapes and lines to the wings, mimicking the details on a real butterfly’s wings.
4. Fold the piece of card stock lengthwise into an accordion. Open it up and place the butterflies into the folds. Allow the butterflies to dry overnight or until firm, at least an hour. T hese should dry the longest so that they maintain their shape.
To make The leaves
5. Roll out one of the remaining pieces of the 50/50 Mix to 1⁄4 inch thick. Cut out the leaf shapes with cutters.
6. Press the leaves with a leaf press to create realistic details, or use the tip of a knitting needle to gently score vein lines onto the leaf.
7. Crumple up a piece of aluminum foil and then slightly open the foil back up, leaving it wrinkled. Place the leaves on the foil to dry for at least 30 minutes. When you place them on the foil, let them droop and fold in random places, just like real leaves.
To make The flowers
8. Roll out another piece of the 50/50 Mix until it’s about 6 inches by 4 inches and 1⁄8 inch thick. Cut out four petals using the rose petal cutter.
9. Place one petal in front of you so that the pointed end is facing you. Use the pointed tip of the rose petal cutter to cut a small V into the top edge of the petal. Press the petal in a lettuce press or use the knitting needle to add texture to the petal. Using a knitting needle, gently roll the top right hand corner of the fattest part of the petal toward you just enough to slightly curl the top of the petal no farther than to the tip of the V. Turn the petal over and place it in an egg mold, rolled side down, to dry. Repeat with the rest of the petals. Create enough petals for seven flowers.
10. To make a bud, start with a small ball of white fondant, about the size of a large pea or a small grape, and roll it in your hands until it’s round. Apply more pressure to one side to create a teardrop shape. Make a total of 9 buds.
11. Using the side of a knitting needle, press lines coming from the tip of the teardrop down toward the rounded part.
12. Set the buds aside to dry for at least 30 minutes. You’ll f inish the flowers directly on the cake.
13. To make the smaller flowers, roll the last piece of 50/50 Mix until it’s about 6 inches by 4 inches and 1⁄8 inch thick. Cut out the small five-petal blossoms.
14. Add texture to the blossoms using a knitting needle or f lower press. Place the flowers in egg molds to dry. To finish The cake
15. Cover the cakes with the remaining 6 pounds of white fondant. Gather all of the elements you’ve made and have them ready to apply as you decorate the cake. Decorate the cake the same day you plan to serve it.
17. Create the branches by hand-rolling the remaining 1⁄2 pound of white fondant into long, bumpy ropes that range in length from 2 to 8 inches. Hands are really the best tool for this job—the bumps in the rope help make them look like real branches.
18. Brush a thin line of water onto the cake where you’d like the branches to go. Gently apply the branches to the cake. Use the tip of the knitting needle to add texture to the branches.
19. Fill a small piping bag fitted with a #2 or #3 tip with royal icing. Often, I use a small spatula when applying royal icing to glue on decorations. This cake design has so many pieces, however, so you’ll save yourself time by using a piping bag.
20. Decide where you want the flowers to go—along the branches or at the ends of the branches. Pipe a small dot of icing onto the bottom tip of each petal before you place it. The points of the petal should all face the center to create an open f lower. To finish the flower, pipe a small bead of royal icing in the middle of it. Place a pea-sized ball of fondant in the center of the flower. Use the tip of the knitting needle to add texture to the flower center. Continue until you have placed all of your f lowers. Place the buds and smaller flowers along the branches.
21. When placing the leaves, place them alongside the branches or the flowers. You can get creative when placing the butterflies. Channel your inner Bob Ross—and add a bit of artistic interpretation. Maybe a little butterfly lives on top of the cake; place a few little leaves here or there. There are no mistakes in nature, only happy accidents.
22. Place the completed cake in a cool, dry place until ready to serve—your fridge might be too humid, and that could cause the cake’s molded elements to soften. This design is best done the day the cake will be served.
The finish is monochromatic, so why not play with that idea and change up the colors?
all one color: This same idea would be gorgeous in a rich chocolate brown or icy pale blue.
splash of color: Pick one element—I think the flowers or butterflies would be most successful—and make it bright and bold. To keep the look clean, apply a bit of restraint and stick with one statement color.
Scale down the size of this cake to meet the needs of your event.
• The cake would look beautiful as a small twotiered cake or even as a single cake. If you create a single cake, concentrate your decor on the top, as opposed to the sides, since that will be the focal point of the cake.
• The elements would also make a simple but dramatic cupcake display. Create the leaves, f lowers, butterflies, and buds and use them to adorn cupcakes baked in silver wrappers and topped with white frosting. Arrange them on platters or cake stands to create an edible porcelain garden.