Strawberry Shindig Ruffle Cake for a Special Birthday

My friend Darla of Bakingdom is having a birthday today!

Because I love birthdays - and Darla more so - I want to help celebrate! She's an inspiration to me and I feel that we are, in many ways, kindred spirits.  For example...
  • She's not afraid to wave her geek flag high.
  • She hates spiders as much as I do (okay, clearly more than I do).
  • Without a doubt, her heart beats for artistry in sugar. 
  • She agrees that pink is one of the four major food groups.
Now, I could list about a dozen more reasons why I love her, but I'll name just one more.  She's a fellow browncoat. A Firefly fanatic. And if you don't know what that is, then Darla will tell you all about it here.

The inspiration for this cake is taken from Kaylee's dress in the "Shindig" episode, and Cap'n Tightpants even calls it a "layer cake" when they are at said fancy shindig.  I'd have to agree!  It's a confection made of satin, and just as sweet as the person who wears it.

This cake is appropriately strawberried through-and-through, and there's a gold button on top because, well,  shiny.

This was my first time ever making fondant ruffles.  I bought a large ruffle cutter over a year ago, and have never used it until now. I was surprised at how easy it is to make ruffles! The cutter does a good bit of the work for you.

I recommend using a pointed fondant modeling stick for frilling (creating the ridges) and it comes in this nice set of gumpaste tools (unfortunately I can't find it sold separately).  It works especially well with the large ruffle cutter, just be sure to place the tool's point as close to the center as possible (see picture). To create the frills you gently rock the tool back and forth against the fondant, working your way all the way around the circle.

When you're done frilling, cut the circle between a scallop and gently lay the piece flat. You may find it easiest to cut the large fondant ruffle into 3 smaller pieces, making it easier to place without tearing. Reconstituted dry egg whites or meringue powder makes a good adhesive with which to adhere the ruffles onto the cake.  Apply it to the cake with an artists' brush just before you add a ruffle.

The cake gets its strawberry flavor from a generous helping of strawberry preserves. I also kicked it up a notch with some LorAnn strawberry flavoring oil.  It's dense texture is ideal for torting, and can stand up to the many layers of fondant ruffles. The frosting is simple American buttercream with a little cream cheese added.

In addition to birthdays, I think this cake would be great for any girly-girl party, like bridal showers, sweet-sixteens and spring tea parties - anywhere ruffles are already welcome.

Happy birthday Darla, hope it's the best one yet!

Thanks to Tina who arranged this virtual "shindig"!  Be sure to check out what she's baked up for Darla over at Sugar Bean Bakers

Strawberry Shindig Ruffle Cake
Yield: One 7-inch layer cake
Cake/Icing prep and bake time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total time with ruffles: All day. Don't plan to do anything else.
Source: cake recipe from Food.com
[click for printable recipe]

It doesn't take an expert fondant artist to make this cake, just a ruffle cutter and some patience.  The entire cake is covered in fondant before the ruffles are attached, but since it’s completely covered by the ruffles, the undercoating doesn't have to be perfect.   Wilton ready-made fondant is the easiest for novice hands to work with, but I suggest Satin Ice brand fondant because it tastes good.

There were many interpretations for Kaylee’s dress colors by fans online, ranging from hot pink to tangerine.  Since the show was seemingly filmed through a warm filter, I chose colors more in the salmon/watermelon family.  Feel free to disregard my color palette and create your own.

Special equipment
  • Large fondant ruffle/frill cutter
  • Fondant/gum paste modeling stick
  • Artists’ brush
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup strawberry preserves
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Pink gel food coloring
1/3 dram bottle LorAnn strawberry flavoring oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottoms and sides of of two 7-inch cake pans (can also use two 9-inch pans) with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (this may take up to 4 minutes to fully incorporate).  Add the strawberry preserves and then beat in eggs one at a time.  Scrape down sides of bowl and add vanilla extract and enough food coloring to achieve desired color. You may also omit the coloring, but the interior is a much prettier color with the addition of food coloring.
  4. Mix in flour alternating with the buttermilk. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Add the flavoring oil, if using.  Divide batter equally between the pans
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean.  Turn cakes out onto a wire rack and peel of the parchment paper. Let cool completely.  Torte cakes so there are four layers.
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 oz. cream cheese softened and cubed
1/2 dram bottle LorAnn strawberry flavoring oil
  1. Combine butter and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and mix on low speed until just combined.  Switch to high speed and add cream cheese a little at a time.  Finally, add the strawberry flavoring oil. Scrape down bowl and mix again on high speed until light and fluffy. 
  2. Fill cake layers and apply an even crumb coat to the outside of the cake with frosting.  Refrigerate until frosting develops a crust, or until ready to cover in fondant.
Fondant cover and ruffles
1 lb. vanilla pale pink ready-made rolled fondant such as Satin Ice brand
1 lb. vanilla white ready-made fondant such as Satin Ice brand
Pink gel food coloring
Golden yellow gel food coloring
Clear vegetable shortening
Meringue powder or dried egg whites reconstituted in water
  1. On a work surface lightly coated with shortening (or powdered sugar) knead well 1/2 lb. white ready-made fondant; reserve the remaining 1/2 lb. for later use (keep air-tight). If there are dry crusty areas on the fondant, knead in a little clear vegetable shortening to soften it, or remove and discard the pieces.  Roll piece out with a large fondant roller or rolling pin until the pieces is 1/4” thickness.  Roll fondant onto the rolling pin and drape over cake. Smooth down edges and trim with a paring knife or pastry wheel.  Place fondant-covered cake on a cake stand or serving plate.
  2. Divide the pink fondant in half, tint both portions with pink and yellow gel food colorings, but make sure one color is darker and more pink in color that the other.
  3. Roll out the darker pink color fondant and cut a ruffle using the large frill cutter.  Remove excess pieces and keep air tight.  Frill/ indent fondant piece using the fondant modeling stick. Be sure to place the tool’s point as close to the center as possible, then rock the tool back and forth.  When you're done frilling, cut the circle between a scallop and gently lay the piece flat. You may find it easiest to cut the large fondant ruffle into 3 smaller pieces, making it easier to place without tearing. 
  4. Mix the meringue powder or egg whites in a little water and have the artists’ brush ready. Hold the fondant ruffle up to the cake to approximate the placement.  Apply meringue mixture to the cake with the brush, then press ruffle onto the cake.  You can also overlap a little of the ruffle onto itself to create ruffles that stand out.
  5. Re-roll fondant scraps and cut out another ruffle piece.  Repeat the entire process, continuing with the lighter color fondant and then with the remaining 1/2 lb. white fondant.   At the very top, I cut out a 3-inch circle and gently ruffled the edges by pressing with my fingers.  An edible gold chocolate button was pressed in the center, but you could omit this or use a scrap piece of colored fondant rolled into a button-shape.
Step #4: "You can also overlap [...] the ruffle onto itself to create ruffles that stand out."

link Strawberry Shindig Ruffle Cake for a Special Birthday By Published: Strawberry Shindig Ruffle Cake for a Special Birthday Recipe


  1. That is such a beautiful cake!

    Happy Birthday, Darla.



  2. I'm DYING. It's SO SO SO SO gorgeous. I mean, I knew it would be, but EhMehGah.

    Love love love.

  3. Oh this is lovely, and I just love Bakingdom and Darla! I know I only know who she is based off a her blog, but she's a winner. Happy Birthday Darla!

  4. This cake is stunning!!
    Reminds of the Gone With The Wind dresses I love so much :)
    Such a beautiful birthday gift for your friend.

  5. oh this is stunning Heather!! and Happy Birthday Darla!

  6. Wow oh wow!!! I bet Darla is OVER the MOON with this cake!!! Stunning!

  7. This. is. GORGEOUS!!! I just know Darla is dying over it!!!!

  8. I haven't used much fondant in my decorating travels but this is really something else! Wow this cake is positively beautiful and thank you sharing how you made the ruffles! It's gorgeous!! =) Happy Birthday to your friend! =)

    Ergo - Blog

  9. Oh wow, this is such a beautiful cake! Happy Birthday Darla!

  10. Rimango sempre incantata da ciò che fai...i colori che adoperi, le tecniche.Non smetterei mai di ammirarle, bravissima!!!

  11. This cake is gorgeous! So beautiful and perfectly pink. I love it! Perfect for a birthday cake :)

  12. Please tell me where you found the gold buttons? Fancy Flours carried them, but I can no longer find them on their site or anywhere else in the states for that matter!

  13. I absolutely ADORE Darla and this cake just fits her to the Nth degree!! Both D and the cake are stunners :) Happy Birthday Darla!!

  14. Eres una artista...!!!
    Me encanta todo lo que haces, me gusta mucho tu blog.

  15. What a beautiful cake! I particularly love the way the single slice looks but the whole thing is precious. I'm sure Darla will love it - Happy Birthday to her! : )

  16. Gorgeous cake!! Looks so girly frilly and perfect. I would love to have this with some afternoon tea :)

    And this may be a dumb question but are the gold buttons edible? They are so pretty!


  17. You did a beautiful job rendering Kaylee's dress into a cake. I think this would rank right up with her dress as one of Kaylee's "pretties." Thrilled to find a fellow Firefly addict.

  18. Beautiful! I love the ruffles!! Haven't watched Firefly, but I love Nathan Fillon on Castle!

  19. Oh my! This is SO beautiful!

    giveaway over at my place :)


  20. nom nom, this looks so divine!
    i may attempt the recipe soon :)



  21. absolutely adorable! you. bakingdom. all of it.

  22. Oh my freaking goodness!! You rock my world plain and simple. Love this cake!!...my birthday is December 8th...you know, if you were wondering. xo

  23. You are such a talented gal. And patient! Beautiful...

  24. Oh my word, I LOVE this!! Before I saw the description I thought, "Wow, this looks just like Kaylee's dress!!". I was pretty floored to see that was the inspiration. Happy to know there are other Browncoats out there :D

  25. oh ms heather, the things you can do
    we need to get you a food show on PBS or food network

  26. Btw -- definitely just tweeted one of the Firefly writers about this. It's way too cool to keep in the food blogosphere :D

  27. I love Darla's blog!! And these ruffles are the cutest thing ever!

  28. A special cake, definitely! It could not be any more beautiful!

  29. This is such a beautiful cake! Fabulous way to celebrate!

  30. I love it. Shiny! That is one of my favorite episodes. So much fun, and swordplay. Love the dress, love the cake, love the show.

  31. Sorry for such a late reply. Did i really win the pink mixer? Yvonne How can i get you my address?

  32. This is so so beautiful!! Leave it to you to turn a dress into a cake :) Happy Birthday Darla!

  33. Shiny! Kaylee would be in heaven over this cake. It's so elegant and pretty even Inara would approve.

    Happy Birthday to Darla.

  34. Oh, sorry. check your e-mail there you will find my address for the mixer. yippee! I cannot believe i won. thank you! thank you!

  35. This is probably the prettiest cake I've ever seen. Like EVER!! I'm so impressed!


  36. Beautiful, gorgeous and elegant! Thank you for sharing :)

  37. This is truly the prettiest cake!

  38. This is wonderful! Just from the title I knew what this was ... thanks!!
    Happy Birthday to Darla ...
    From a fellow Browncoat.

  39. This is one of the prettiest and coolest cakes. Ever. :D I want to eat it AND watch the Firefly series all over again now.

  40. This is one of the prettiest cakes I've ever seen. wow! I've never worked with fondant before.. maybe i should try. so so pretty! btw i have the same ring with a light blue stone!

  41. How gorgeous! I love the ruffles. And Happy birthday to Darla!

  42. Prettiest cake EVER! It looks absolutely perfect. I think I'll try to make it one day, but I doubt it'll look anything like this :D

  43. Oh my this is a lovely cake! If I were Darla I'd be way too excited about this. :)

  44. What a beautiful cake! And it sounds DELICIOUS, too! But I have a question: Do you have a good recipe for fondant? I tried Wilton fondant many years ago, and it tasted horrible. I've also used many recipes for homemade fondant and usually opt for marshmallow fondant because it doesn't taste terrible, but it doesn't taste great either. I once made a cream cheese fondant that was delicious, but it was crazy difficult to work with. :/ Do you have a recipe that people actually really want to eat? Or does Satin Ice fondant actually taste good?

  45. This is Gorgeous! I am so delighted by this cake I can't even believe it. I totally want to try to make fondant ruffles now!

  46. This is exquisite. Probably the most beautiful cake I've ever seen! What a lucky friend Darla is!!

  47. I just wanted to give you the maddest of props on the cake and the geekery. Anyone that thinks differently is a 流口水的婊子和猴子的笨兒子.

  48. I love your inspiration picture. The cake is as beautiful when sliced too!!


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