I must say this was the most tedious cake I have done so far, took me almost two days to complete. Nonetheless I liked how it turned out, given that it was my second attempt at making Korean buttercream and third attempt at practising flower piping. The piped flowers were not perfect yet, as compared to the ones you see on internet or instagram but I'm happy with the current result :)
I couldn't remember, did the Korean buttercream flower cake craze start last year or the year before? I always marveled at how pretty the cakes look, so dreamy and sweet looking right? However, I have somewhat a concern over the amount of buttercream used. First of all, I'm not a buttercream fan, don't really eat much of it as it's too heavy and sweet for my palate, and secondly the aftermath washing up is rather tedious with the tools, bowls, utensils used oily and messy.
So I usually prefer just a simple rose design using a star tip which can turn out quite pretty too (check out those designs at http://megpastrystudio.blogspot.sg). There are customers who asked me whether I could make Korean buttercream flower cakes, which I had to turn down their requests or provide them with alternative of simple rose design.
Well, I know I wanted to learn if given the opportunity, but so far the workshops conducted by some baking schools here cost a princely sum of more than $2000 as they specially fly in Korean bakers to teach the class.
Then recently I chanced upon BakeFresh Studio which offered a basic hands-on class at $200+ which is so much more affordable, with a local baker teaching the class. She had learnt from a Korean baker and perfected her piping skills and hence started conducting classes.
Hence, I jumped at the opportunity and attended the Korean Buttercream Flower Cake hands-on workshop two weeks ago :) The class was 5-hours long and I learnt how to make Korean buttercream which uses Italian meringue buttercream technique with a twist to the method in order to make the buttercream look glossy. And thereafter 3 types of flowers, namely rose, ranunculus and apple blossom were taught, as well as flower bud and leaf. The learning curve was quite steep for me, and it took me a while to grasp the piping technique. Towards the end of the class where we were required to assemble the cake, I couldn't manage to create a proper wreath design as my piped flowers were too big and I make-do with a dome-shaped design. But was really quite disappointed with how my creation turned out :(
Hence within the next two days, I decided to make the buttercream at home as well as practise the piping techniques while I could still remember the steps clearly. Otherwise with my goldfish memory these days, I'm afraid I would forget and the workshop would have been wasted.
Making the buttercream is not difficult with the right tools and technique; however I'm working without air-con and hence the buttercream melted very quickly using piping. After piping a few flowers, I realised that it is important to have the right temperature and consistency of buttercream in order to pipe the flowers properly. After sweating it out the whole afternoon, these were the only more acceptable ones :(
I must therefore think of a better workflow (since there are a few flower designs and colours involved) and work on small batch of buttercream each time and keep the remaining in the fridge.
The following week, I decided to try again. Spent half a day making 3 layers of Japanese genoise sponge cake in ombre colours then fill and crumbcoat with chantilly cream frosting. Yes, I could have made my life easier by making any old cake which is simple, but I really wanted to see how the ombre cake layers would turn out with the flowers.
The next day, started with making the Korean buttercream. Thereafter worked on piping the flowers a few pieces at a time, and made sure to store them in airtight box and chill them in fridge prior to use. Then iced the entire cake with buttercream, chill sufficiently and finally assembly of the cake with touch-ups using flower buds and leaves. Had to chill the cake for 15-20 mins to let it set before I could finally take photos and cut the cake. *phew* really tedious and time consuming, and I haven't even mention the amount of washing and cleaning up!
Funny thing was, both hubby and I as well as the kiddo enjoyed the cake and chantilly cream and scrapped away most of the buttercream :p LOL! We are indeed not fan of buttercream. Managed to eat only 2/5 of the cake and gave the remaining to a friend :)
The cake layers would be my signature Japanese-style genoise sponge, made using Japanese cake flour, Japanese sugar, egg, milk and unsalted butter. The cake texture is tender and light, and less sweet.
The cake filling and crumbcoat is chantilly cream frosting, made using dairy whipping cream and mascarpone cheese and snow powder (optional, can be omitted for sugarless version).
And finally the Korean buttercream flowers, made using unsalted butter (French butter, either Elle & Vire or President), caster sugar, water and egg white. The buttercream would be on the sweet side.
This particular cake is 7" round and 3 layers, good to serve 10-12 slices.
Please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested!