Rose Covered Smash Cake

If you have a small child, or have been to a birthday party for one recently, then you've probably seen the popular smash cake.  A smash cake is a small cake just for the birthday boy or girl to enjoy.  These are usually done for a first birthday, and are a rare opportunity for the child to tear into and make a big mess while everyone happily looks on.  They usually accompany a larger cake, or cupcakes, for the rest of the guests at the party. I've made a couple smash cakes so far, one for a friend's little girl and one for my nephew.  It is so fun to watch the kids get excited about the cake, and get icing all over themselves. When my niece turned 1, she didn't actually have much to do with the cake.  She didn't seem too interested in eating or playing in it.  Just a few months later, though, she was all about tearing into some cake at my graduation party!

Photo sessions with smash cakes are now pretty popular as well.  Today's cake is for one of those sessions.  Some friends of ours have a little girl getting ready to turn one next month!  She is having a garden themed party and I'm excited to be doing the cupcakes and smash cake for that gathering.  I have lots of ideas on how to bring the garden theme into the smash cake using some fondant decor and my Cake Cricut.  For the photo session smash cake, though, I thought simpler might be better.  I am still alluding to the garden theme with roses, but going for a more feminine and special flair to the cake.  The photographer, wisely, has the babies just wear a diaper as they tend to get the tinted icing all over their clothes.  Because of this, I really wanted to make sure the cake was cute and girly for the little girl.

I looked around online to find some ideas, there are a LOT of smash cakes out there!  I decided on a popular technique of covering the cake with simple, yet elegant, buttercream roses. This technique looks very difficult, but is in fact easier than it seems.  The most important detail is getting the right consistency icing and the correct icing tip.

A 6 inch round cake is popular for the smash cake, as you want it to be a good proportion for the child. For this particular cake, you also want it to have some height so that the roses are a good size and you can include a couple through the height.

A few days before making the cake, I started working on a couple special fondant pieces for the cake. First, I worked on covering a cardboard cake board with white fondant and flowers.  I also used a cookie cutter to cut out a fondant "1" and placed it on a cookie stick.

Here's how I covered the cake board:
  • Roll white fondant out to 1/16 in and cut it down to approximate shape needed
  •  Cover the cake board with powdered sugar and water 
  • Lay fondant on top of the cake board and smooth out with a fondant smoother.  Cut off excess fondant leaving some for the sides
  • Apply water along the edge of the cake board
  • Fold the fondant over and smooth down
  • Let dry at least 12 hours
To finish up the "1" and the cake board, I added some fondant flowers.  I rolled out pink and purple fondant to just under 1/16 inch, cut flowers out using the small Wilton flower cutter, and attached them to both pieces using gum glue. (See final pic for the flower details, I forgot to take a picture of just those two components!)

Now for the smash cake! I used my go to doctored white cake mix recipe (given in the Cookies and Cream post) and my vanilla buttercream. Here's my tutorial on making the rose covered cake.
  • Start by cutting cake in half, filling with the purple buttercream (or whatever color you are using), and then replacing the top half. I filled the cake with buttercream so there is more surprise icing when she digs in the cake.  
  • Cover the cake in a thin layer of icing - this is just so no cake will show through in any holes between the roses.  It doesn't need to be completely smooth, just get a good covering.
  • Fill your piping bag with the 1M tip and plenty of medium consistency buttercream
  • Start with the bottom of the edge and pipe a star. Circle the tip around the star while applying consistent pressure. You want to hold your piping bag at a 90 degree angle from the cake.
  • Continue this process all around the side of the cake and then move to the top.  Start in the middle on the top.
  • Fill in any gaps with a dot of piped icing. If there is a large long gap, fill in with a line of icing piped in the direction of the rose.
  • If icing is not stiff enough and seems to droop, put in refrigerator to help it set up.

Here's a pic of the cake with the "1" on the stick.  I didn't want to put it in, since it would be traveling, and risk it falling down on the roses.  Can't wait to see how the smash cake pictures turn out!! 

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