Recipe

Cascade of butterflies

  • 1 hr preparation
  • Makes 1 Item
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Ingredients

Cascade of butterflies
  • 25 centimetre round cake of choice
  • 20 centimetre round cake of choice
  • 15 centimetre round cake of choice
Decorations
  • 2.5 kilogram store-bought white icing
  • cornflour
  • blue colouring
  • tylose powder
  • 3 x 30cm cardboard squares small
Royal Icing
  • 1 1/2 cup pure icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon strained lemon juice

Method

Cascade of butterflies
  • 1
    Trim cakes. Secure 25cm cake to 35cm (14-inch) round wooden cake board; secure 20 cm cake to 20cm (8-inch) round wooden cake board and 15cm cake to 15cm (6-inch) round wooden cake board.
  • 2
    Knead icing on surface dusted with a little cornflour until icing loses its stickiness. Using blue colouring, tint 200g of the icing very pale blue. Enclose in plastic wrap. Tint remaining icing pale blue.
  • 3
    Roll 300g of the pale blue icing on cornfloured surface until large enough to cover small cake. Using rolling pin, lift icing onto cake; smooth with hands then smoothing tools. Trim icing neatly around base of cake. Reserve scraps.
  • 4
    Roll 500g of the pale blue icing on cornfloured surface until large enough to cover medium cake in the same way as the small cake; roll 600g icing until large enough to cover the large cake in the same way. Reserve icing scraps. Dry overnight.
  • 5
    Push 3 trimmed wooden skewers into centre of medium and large cakes to support the next tier.
  • 6
    Assemble cakes, securing each tier to the tier below. Dry cakes overnight.
  • 7
    To make the icing ribbon: Knead the remaining pale blue icing and scraps together, divide into thirds. Reserve two-thirds for the butterflies, enclose in plastic wrap. Tint remaining third of icing a slightly darker blue than the covering on the cakes.
  • 8
    Use tape measure to measure around the bottom tier of cake. Roll out half the darker icing into a strip about 3mm thick and long enough to wrap around the cake. Use a 2.5cm perspex ruler and pizza cutter to cut a straight edge down one long side of the strip.
  • 9
    Use a fine artist’s paint brush to brush bottom 2cm of cake sparingly with water. Roll icing strip onto small non-stick rolling pin with cut edge at bottom of rolling pin; position rolling pin so that the cut edge is flush with the bottom and side of the cake. Unroll icing onto side of cake; trim ends, reserve scraps.
  • 10
    Use perspex measure and a small sharp knife to trim strip into a 2.5cm wide ribbon. Be careful not to cut through the icing underneath.
  • 11
    Use scraps and remaining icing to make and secure ribbon for the remaining two cakes in the same way; reserve scraps.
  • 12
    To make the butterflies: Knead darker blue icing scraps together with a pinch of tylose; enclose in plastic wrap. Knead a pinch of tylose into the reserved pale blue and very pale blue icing. Enclose in plastic wrap.
  • 13
    Fold each cardboard evenly into three to make a concertina shape.
  • 14
    Roll out one portion of the reserved icing at a time on cornfloured surface into 3mm thickness. Working quickly, use medium and large butterfly plunger cutters to cut out random numbers of butterflies.
  • 15
    Place butterflies onto the folded cardboard so that the wings fold upwards; leave the butterfly shapes in the cardboard overnight to dry completely.
  • 16
    To make royal icing; sift the icing sugar through a fine sieve. Lightly beat the egg in a small ball until mixture is just broken up (do not whip into peaks). Beat in the icing sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches desired consistency. Use a wooden spoon, mix in the lemon juice.
  • 17
    Tint royal icing the same colour as the cake. Half-fill a paper piping bag with icing, pipe small dots of royal icing onto each butterfly; secure to cake.

Notes

The butterflies can be made months ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature. Tylose powder is a hardening agent, it helps the butterflies maintain their wings in an upward position. Cascading butterflies of just about any colour will look splendid on a tiered cake like this. Keep the colour of the cakes pale, so that the flying swarm of butterflies becomes the feature. White icing is also known as fondant (it’s the traditional icing used on wedding cakes). It is available in packets from the supermarket and cake decorating shops.

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