One of my favorite things to do with my homemade salted caramel recipe is incorporate it into buttercream. It ends up being such an awesome blend of sweet and salty, perfect for topping cakes and cupcakes or using as a cake filling. It can transform basic cake flavors like chocolate and vanilla into something above and beyond, and it also adds complexity to Fall-inspired flavors like apple spice cake. Whatever flavors you love pairing with caramel, this salted caramel buttercream is magic!
If you’ve been following along on my Instagram, you know that I’ve been completely nerding out on my Americolor Nifty Fifty Kit. Having 50 beautiful food color gels in my collection has been a complete game changer when it comes to coloring buttercream (and all the edible things!) and I’ve gotten to create some really cool, colorful cakes since getting the kit. You can see a few of the cakes I’ve created, real life color swatches, and read more about the kit in this post, but today I want to talk about this gradient rainbow cake. Can you believe it features 20 different colors from the Nifty Fifty Kit? I am in love.
In all my years of caking, Americolor has been my favorite when it comes to food color gels. They make them in just about every color you can think of, and are constantly rolling out new additions to their soft gel paste offering. Whenever I’ve needed a super specific color and don’t want to spend a bunch of time custom mixing a shade of buttercream, I’d scroll through Americolor’s shop and order the perfect hue. And the soft gel pastes help color more than just buttercream – you can use them to tint fondant, royal icing, macarons, cookie dough, cake batter, gum paste, and so much more!
When I first started baking cupcakes, frosting them was as simple as using a butter knife to heap the buttercream on top. Sure, you can do some cool stuff with a butter knife (can you really?), but the right piping tips and techniques make all the difference when it comes to decorating cupcakes that look uniform, professional, and sometimes too pretty to eat. My very first piping tip was the ultra-versatile Wilton 1M, and it’s still one of my go-to’s for creating buttercream designs on cupcakes. Today I’m going to talk about four of my favorite piping tips for decorating cupcakes, the 1M tip included, and 10 easy (and eye-catching!) looks you can create with them.
One of the most frequent questions I get as a cake decorator is how I get my buttercream cakes so smooth and sharp. To answer you, I’m going to be completely candid here and not pretend that my cakes are absolutely flawless every time. The truth is, with most of the cakes I design, there are plenty of opportunities to hide small flaws in the buttercream finish. A ganache drip over this crease, sprinkles around that bottom edge, and before you know it the cake appears flawless with all those problem areas covered up! Ok, maybe that’s just me being
lazy creative. Despite that, I have developed some skills and learned some tips over the years that help me get pretty darn close to a flawless buttercream finish, and I’m excited to share them all with you!
There’s something about me you’ve got to know: I really really love s’mores. I had my first one as a kid sitting around a crackling campfire under the stars and have been hooked ever since. There’s something about a perfectly toasted marshmallow, melty milk chocolate, and crunchy graham crackers that just gets me all shook up. Since discovering this fun little fact about me, my mother-in-law keeps her pantry stocked year-round with all the s’mores essentials to make sure I can have them any time I come over. No matter what time of year, you’ll find stacks of Hershey’s bars, jet puffed marshmallows, and honey graham crackers tucked away in my very own corner of her pantry and it makes me feel very known and loved. It was just a given that I would turn these flavors into a cake, and it’s one of the very first recipes I sought to master.
If there’s one thing you should know about my personal style, it’s the fact that I love all things striped. Wearing them, looking at them, and incorporating them into my cake designs whenever possible. They’re just a few of my favorite things. I first tried this horizontal striped buttercream technique about a year ago, and I was so skeptical at the thought of creating perfectly sized stripes by piping them with my own hands. I was certain that they would be wonky, but the stripes actually turned out near perfect and I was surprised at how easy it was to get the look with steady hands, a good cake turntable, and a few piping bags. And now you’ll get to see how easy it is!
Oh, chocolate. It’s made me weak in the knees since I was a kid sneaking it into the cart when my mom wasn’t looking. Some people prefer fruity desserts but I tend to lean toward the decadence of something chocolatey. If you’re in the same boat, then this recipe is for you: melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream that has been described by a friend as “the kind you need to put in the sink and fill the bowl with water because you can’t stop eating it.”
Of all the things you can paint with, buttercream remains one my favorite artistic mediums. Yes, it’s only temporary art because it’s the edible kind, but there are so many ways you can get creative with colors and techniques! One of the simplest edible art projects you can do is create a watercolor buttercream masterpiece as a cake finish, and although this tutorial focuses on how to get the look with a watercolor ombre, you can easily use this same technique on your entire cake.
If there’s one thing that always looks good semi-naked, it’s a cake. The barely-there buttercream is such a versatile look that works well for almost any kind of event. Whether you dress it with fresh flowers, drip it with ganache, or tint the buttercream, you can get pretty creative with this rustic or minimalist look. And the best part is, the semi-naked technique is extremely easy. You just need to know a few key things before attempting it to set yourself up for success.