January 28, 2011

Baptism Cake

A Baptism cake for my little niece.  10" square and 8" round Vanilla cake filled with Lemon Mousse and covered in a pale pink, Lemon Italian Meringue Buttercream (IMBC).  The flowers, butterflies and ribbon are MMF and the cross is made out of modeling chocolate dusted in pearl dust.
This was also the 1st time I covered a square cake in IMBC and I must have spent about 2 hours just smoothing it out to get the perfectly sharp corners and sides.  Round cakes are so much easier!  I love using the upside down technique to ice my cakes - Helps with getting nice, leveled tops and nice, crisp corners with.  Here are other posts about using the upside down method which I use on basically anything that firms up in the fridge with...regular buttercream, IMBC, ganache:
- Covering a Cake in Ganache
- Music Themed 80th Birthday Cake (and IMBC Recipe)

There were so many challenges with this cake and it introduced me to things I never had to deal with before.  First,  I have to figure out how to keep the cake stable and well chilled for the hour drive to the church, the 2 hour church ceremony, then another drive to the reception in the midst of a California heat wave during winter (SoCal!).  So to ensure the cake stayed intact throughout the day, I took extra precaution in adding a stiffened, American buttercream dam for extra support between each layer of cake and to contain the lemon mousse filling.  To assemble to cake layers, add a stiff dam, fill with mousse, top with the next cake layer, tightly wrap the cake with saran wrap or use a springform pan to help hold the layers together and in place and allow the mousse to set overnight in the fridge.

The following day, add a layer of IMBC on the cake board, place the bottom of the cake on it, add a thick layer of IMBC along the top and smooth it out.

Right Side Up

Add a layer of wax or parchment paper and use a straight-edged dough scraper to smooth that out and get rid of any air bubbles caught under there.

Upside Down

Place a larger, stable board over that and quickly, but carefully flip the entire cake over so it's upside down.  Use a Leveler to make sure it's leveled, if not, gently press down where needed to get it leveled.

Still Upside Down

Add a thin coat of IMBC around the sides of the cake filling in any grooves and gaps - be sure to press and mash the IMBC into the gaps and fill it up really well.

Still Upside Down

Layer by layer, add the IMBC around the cake just until you are about 1/4" out past the cake board.  You want to add more than needed and then scrape off the excess.

Still Upside Down - use the cake board as a guide to scrape off the excess IMBC

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Keep scraping away using a clean and warm blade with each swipe.  With IMBC, you don't want to use too hot of a blade or it'll turn the BC slightly yellow - patchy yellow.  I just heat up a moist dish cloth in the microwave and wipe the scraper with it to warm it up just enough to glide smoothly over the IMBC.  Stick the entire cake back into either the freezer or fridge for at least a 1/2 hour.  Remove from the fridge, flip the cake back over and carefully peel off the parchment/wax paper off the top.   Smooth any imperfections you may have with an angled icing spatula and put the entire cake back into the fridge to stay firm while you prep the decorations.  It's much easier to decorate an IMBC cake while it's cold and hard.  As soon as it starts to come back down to room temperature and the IMBC gets soft, just stick it back in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up again and continue decorating.

I did keep the bottom tier in the freezer overnight all smoothed and covered in IMBC and the top tier with the fondant ribbon and name plaque in the fridge.  On the morning of the baptism, I stacked the cakes and added the flowers and butterflies, packed it all up inside a large box and headed out the door.  We made sure to park the car under a tree for some shade and checked on the temperature of the car throughout the morning to make sure the interior temperature in the car didn't get too hot.  A well chilled cake kept the inside a sealed box, helped keep cool and made it to the reception intact and not melted - yay!  The cake tiers defrosted and came down to room temperature just in time to be served and enjoyed.

The butterflies were made using a PME Plunger Butterfly Cutter then lightly painted in pink gel colors and dusted in pearl dust.  The cross was molded by hand, an impression mat was used to add some texture to the front and back and then dusted with pearl dust.  I used 2 different sized PME Plunger Flower Blossom Cutters to make the flowers and dusted those with pearl dust as well.

I completely lost track of time with everything else going on that day that I had to quickly covered the silver, foiled lined cake board with royal icing.  I really wish I had covered it in fondant for a more cleaner look.


  1. Thanks for all the great tutorials! I have a question. Will the fondant melt on the buttercream? If so, how do I get around that? Thanks for your help.

  2. Hi Co Loan, I haven't had a problem with the MMF melting into the buttercream. I did do a cake covered in whipped cream with MMF decorations I brushed the back of each piece with a little bit of melted chocolate to act as a barrier.

  3. I love your blog. I do a lot of cake decoring, and love your tutorials and just looking at your awsome cakes. I nominated you for the Stylish Blog Award. You can check it out at: http://aroundthedinnertable.blogspot.com/2011/02/around-dinner-table-got-nominated-for.html


  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to show the world your fabulous technique!

  5. Wow I just discovered your blog and am enjoying perusing all your gorgeous cakes! Can you tell me though - how did you stack the cakes after frosting with IMBC? Without marring them that is? Does the fridge get it that solid? Any special tips? Thanks for sharing your beautiful work!

  6. Hi Christina - Yes the fridge gets it solid, just like a cold stick of butter. I put each tier in the fridge to firm up. Once firm, prepare the bottom tier by inserting some dowels into it. I like to use jumbo, boba straws and I used 4 on the bottom tier (take the tier size, divide by 2 and minus 1). Spread additional IMBC along the tops of the straws and in the middle of the tier then stack the top tier right over it. Wiggle the cake a little to settle it into place then place a longer wooden or paper dowel (sharpened on one end) down the entire cake through both tiers and hammer it down into the board. Plug the hole on the top with additional IMBC or with some decorations and that's it.

  7. AnonymousMay 09, 2011

    I have used the upside down method to ice my cakes but I still get a lot of air bubbles. How do you recommend smoothing these out? Thanks for all of your tutorials.

  8. Air bubbles are usually caused from beating the BC on high rather than at your lowest setting or not filling your bowl up to the max so the beater is inside the BC and not pulling air into it. You can do some research on this but I personally have tried 2 ways to get rid of the air bubbles in the past which worked for me. One, take a butter knife or small spatula and kinda whip and slap the BC up against the side of the bowl really fast - you'll notice it get thicker and smoother. Two, spread the BC up against the cake in a thin layer and use a small angled spatula to press and smooth the BC up against the cake, go all around and repeat until you get the right thickness, this way, you fill in any air pockets with BC layer by layer. HTH!

  9. AnonymousMay 16, 2011

    Have you used the upside down icing method for cakes as large as 14"?

  10. a 10" square and a 12" round are the largest I've used the upside down method with and they're pretty heavy. Another alternative that I would like to try one day and especially on a larger cake is to place the board on top of the cake that is the same size of the cake, ice, then peel/slide the board off, no flipping over the cake. See it here: http://www.notquitenigella.com/2010/11/04/how-to-make-a-two-tier-wedding-cake-with-faye-cahill/

  11. AnonymousJune 10, 2013

    Have you done any videos? Icing, fondant, decorating?..Jen

  12. what size cake boards did you use for each layer?

    I plan on doing 10" 8" and 6" tiers so what size boards would I need to use to do the upside down method??

    1. The board under the cake should be the same size as the cake: 10" cake = 10" board, etc. As for the cake board you use to flip the cake over with, any size that is at least 3 inches larger than the cake so you have a surface to slide the scraper over: 10" cake/board = 13"-16" board to flip over onto. Hope that makes sense.