It is no hidden secret that we love our delicious sweet treats here at Glam Adelaide. Cakes, desserts, ice-cream, you name it. We proudly raise our dessert spoon and toast to its delicious goodness. When the opportunity presented itself to create our very own 3-layer Unicorn cake with Cakemonger last weekend, we knew we had to say yes.
Kate Roberts, owner and creator of Cakemonger, is a self-taught baker and cook. She has a passion for all things food, both sweet and savoury. As a caterer, Kate was often requested to provide cakes and desserts for functions. The cakes soon developed a following and in 2016, Cakemonger was born in Adelaide. We are not going to lie that we don’t drool at the sight of her mouth-watering, visually tempting and contemporary looking cakes.
Last Saturday, we had the opportunity to participate in the Unicorn Cake Workshop with Kate. A small group of 7 home bakers all came together for the same reason – to expand our skills and techniques beyond creating a plain looking, as-long-as-it’s-not-burnt-cake. Let’s be honest, we want to learn to make our cakes look insta-worthy!
We all had our own work station, with all the essential cake decorating tools a cake decorator should have. From the turn table, cake boards, offset spatula, piping nozzles, scraper, paint brush etc, it looked overwhelming with the number of tools required. Kate talked us through all the equipment, explaining all their uses and need for the cake decorating process.
Next, Kate explained the dos and don’ts of cake decorating. She explained that it is virtually impossible to decorate freshly baked cakes, as the heat from a freshly baked cake will melt the buttercream icing. Therefore, she had already pre-made all 24 vanilla sponge cakes AND lemon curd, for us to use to assemble our 3-layer creations. Talk about being super organised!
Kate was generous enough to share her top tips for making fluffy buttercream with us during Buttercream 101. The ingredients required, the specific measurements, the method. Kate demonstrated to the class, a step by step guide to assembling the layers of cake. We learnt how to cut, stack, fill a round cake, layering them with buttercream and lemon curd, and finally assembling them together into a mini-tower. Let’s just say we are going to ignore the amount of butter required to make the perfect buttercream, as every single dollop of butter is worth it.
The next part of the class put our patience and skills to the test – crumb coat. To put quite simply, a crumb coat is to icing like a primer is to paint. Or a primer is to make up foundation. It is a foundation that will provide the perfect base for our creations. The crumb coat is a very thin layer of buttercream icing that will “glue” any crumbs down. We had to skillfully thin our buttercream icing to a consistency that will not tear our cake as we spread it on. We are not going to lie, we had to take a few deep breaths to calm ourselves down, as we swirled our turn tables to crumb coat our cake. And yes, we did get some extra help from lovely Kate.
Having completed the crumb coat, we allowed it to set in the fridge until the next equally tricky step – sharp edges. We learnt how to render a very smooth buttercream and develop sharp edges on our cake. We had to repeat smoothing out the chilled buttercream icing over a few more times, a process which Kate made look effortless and graceful. We were neither.
Next, it was time to paint our Unicorn features! Yes, our Unicorn cake has gold features to give it the “bling” effect. Using rose spirit combined with gold lustre dust, Kate taught us how to convert edible gold dust into paint for the unicorn features. Yes, the gold dust is perfectly safe and edible. No, you won’t choke on them, don’t worry.
Soon, it was time to colour the buttercream. A few drops of colours into the mixture resulted in coloured buttercream icing, which we then filled our piping bags with different colours and tips/nozzles needed to decorate our Unicorn cake.
The fun moment we had been waiting for finally arrived. Following Kate’s detailed instructions and swift movements, we started piping flowers using different tips. As we trialled different nozzles producing different flowers, we decorated our Unicorn masterpiece.
For our final touch, we sprinkled edible gold glitter for that extra shimmer and sparkle. We finally completed our first Unicorn cake! Not too shabby at all for a first timer!
Having a taste of how much effort goes into creating that perfect cake, we have new-found respect to all bakers/cake decorators out there. The time, effort, and costs involved is certainly no easy feat. Kate not only is meticulous with her creations, but also ensures that she uses top notch, quality ingredients for her cakes. If you’re a budding baker or just wanting to learn as a hobby, Kate does conduct private workshops for those who are interested. Learning from Kate was a delightful and a fun experience. We would gladly get our hands dirty and do it again in a heartbeat!
Now, who says that one can’t have cake and eat it too? Excuse us while we do!
Cakemonger – Kate Roberts
22 Bath Street, Adelaide, South Australia | 0417 869 783