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Oh So Trendy! Valentine's Day Cake

Strawberry jam parties with fluffy funfetti cake, blanketed underneath a generous layer of American buttercream. This cake is a love letter to some of the most popular trends in cake decorating.

Masked with colorful stripes, dripping in the softest pink ganache, and piled high with swirls of buttercream, this cake has got it all!

The buttercream stripe trend has become beloved by decorators in recent years. This style of decorating, which uses a comb to create deep grooves in the side of the cake that are then filled with colorful icing, has transcended viral fame to become an industry standard. Ganache drips are a 'trend' with even longer roots, a truly classic decorating technique that has seen a major revival recently, as decorators continue to push the boundaries with color and creativity.

For this cake, the white cake recipe I used came from a favorite blog of mine, Sally's Baking Addiction. Try it for yourself, here:

I've made this recipe a number of times by now, and find it to be a very reliable and delicious cake. It rises evenly, and is very soft but still structured enough to hold up to stacking and carving. When I make this cake, I veer slightly off recipe and whip my egg whites separately from the rest of the batter, and then carefully fold them in at the end.

I'm sure you can see from the close up, this cake is by no means perfect. In fact, I'd really only go so far as to say it was good.... for a first attempt. I definitely did not do much research before masking this cake, relying instead of memories of the eight bazillion videos I've seen of on instagram of other decorators using the same technique. As is usually the case when picking up a new skill, I am pumped off of this experience and ready to take my the hands on knowledge and try again.

I do have a few important considerations for next time. The first of which been that buttercream was far too stiff! For the sake of ease and food cost, I made an American Buttercream for this cake. However, my butter was so soft while I was mixing it that I added less liquid than the recipe really needed. After firming up up overnight it was quite thick, and while I did remix it with more milk before using, the texture was not ideal. I would like try again with a softer American Buttercream, working with it immediately after it is made. I am also very interested to try this combing technique with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Nothing beats Swiss Meringue for taste and texture. But the ease of American style frosting is always a tempting choice when I am considering how I am going to execute a cake. I am very curious to see how the two icings compare for striping!

Consideration number two, I believe this style of icing would be easier to execute using a metal comb, rather than a plastic comb like the one in my kit. In general, I rely very heavily on heating my spatulas with hot water when I am masking a cake. Not only does the hot water help to melt the butter off your spatula edge making it easier to wipe clean, icing does not immediately stick to a warm spatula. A clean, warm spatula really helps create neat and sparp edges when finishing a cake, so it makes sense to consider using the same principal to create neat and sharp stripes. I only have plastic comb to practice with at this time, but I think I'm going to put 'metal cake combs in various sizes' on my baking tool wish list.

Thank you for taking the time to read and check out this cake!

I hope by this point you're feeling hungry for something sweet, or better yet, inspired to work on learning a new baking technique this week. Remember friends, even if everyone else on the internet is already AMAZING at something you're interested in, it's never too late to jump on a bandwagon and teach yourself to do it, too.

Don't worry though, it's not all trends on this page! Stay tuned for more delicious food, tips and tricks learned over years of professional baking, and there IS video on the way! Truthfully, shooting and editing video is a steep hill to climb, but like I just said, it's never too late to start learning. See y'all at the top.

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