2cups480ml full fat buttermilk, well shaken before measuring
Red gel food color
White chocolate buttercream
2cups1 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
8cups2 lbs. confectioner’s sugar
Milk or cream to thin
8oz.two 4 oz. bars white baker’s chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2oz.white chocolate shavingscut from a bar using a vegetable peeler
10oz.red candy melting wafersmelted
2Small food dedicated art brushes
Silicone ball moldslarge and small (2-inch and 1-inch half spheres)
*sizes are approximate
Piping gel or corn syrup
Red disco dustnontoxic cake decorator’s glitter
1” and 1/2” circle cuttersor the open ends of medium and large piping tips
3beads from a candy necklace
Edible gold paint
2Small food dedicated art brushes
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray four 8-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder; add to the egg mixture one cup at a time, mixing as you go. With the mixer running, slowly add the buttermilk. Mix well and stir in the vanilla extract. Add red gel food color a little at a time until a consistent, vibrant red hue is achieved (I used about 1 tablespoon).
Place 2/3 cup of batter into each pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool in the pans for 2 minutes (the cakes should pull away from the sides of the pan, or help them by running a knife around the edges). Turn the layers out onto cooling racks and wash the pans; re-spray with flour-based baking spray. Fill pans and bake four more layers as before. Repeat these steps until all the cake batter is used (my batter yielded about 11 layers). When all the cake layers are completely cool, they can be filled with buttercream.
White Chocolate Buttercream
Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high until creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until almost combined (the mixture may be a little crumbly). Add milk or cream a little at a time while mixing on medium high (I used about 5 tablespoons); beat until the mixture is thick and fluffy. With the mixer running, add in the melted chocolate a little at a time (make sure the chocolate is not hot or it will melt the buttercream!). Beat until the chocolate is completely incorporated.
Place a red velvet cake layer on a cake board or serving plate. Top with about 1/3 cup (level) of buttercream and spread as evenly as possible. Repeat steps until all the cake layers are used. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until the frosting firms. Cover the outside of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream (crumb-coat) and refrigerate again, 15 minutes. Cover the outside of the cake with the remaining buttercream, swirling the frosting as you go. Cover the top of the cake with the white chocolate shavings.
Coat two of the 2-inch silicone cavities with red melted candy using one of the art brushes. Brush the entire surface area including the very top edge of the mold. Coat six of the 1-inch cavities in the same manner. Chill until set, about 10 minutes. Re-heat candy if necessary and apply a second coat. Chill in the freezer until solid, about 10 minutes. Turn the candy spheres out onto a work surface. Let the pieces stand until they are room temperature. Save leftover melted candy for a future step.
Place a nonstick saucepan over low heat. Place open ends of the two matching 2-inch spheres on the pan until the candy melts slightly (about 2-3 seconds at the most) and stick the two melted edges together to form one 4-inch sphere. Repeat this process with the smaller half spheres, creating three 2-inch spheres. Allow them to stand at room temperature until set, about 5 minutes.
Wash the candy from the art brush under hot water and dry thoroughly. Lightly coat the large sphere with piping gel or corn syrup using the brush; immediately sprinkle red disco dust over the surface of the candy while holding it over a bowl to catch the excess glitter. Place the ball in the cavity of a muffin tin to dry (this prevents the ball from rolling around). Repeat this process with the smaller balls. Let stand until mostly dry, about 25 minutes.
Knead the gum paste until pliable. Roll to 1/2-inch thickness and cut out one 1-inch circle and three 1/2-inch circles. Use the pointed end of the art brush to push a hole through the middle of each piece. With the scraps, roll out a small rope under your palms and make a loop about 1/2-inch long; twist the ends together and cut away the excess. Apply a dot of piping gel or corn syrup to the twisted end of the rope and insert it into the hole in the larger circle. Let stand until firm. Re-heat reserved melted candy. Place melted candy on the hole in the smaller circles, top each with a candy bead. Let stand until set, about 5 minutes. Use more leftover melted candy to attach the hanger pieces to the glitter ball ornaments; let stand until set 5-10 minutes. Using the unused art brush, apply a coat of gold edible paint to the assembled hanger pieces. Allow the assembled ornaments to stand until completely dry, about 30 minutes.
Arrange the ornaments on top of the cake and give yourself a big pat on the back! (You did it!) Before serving, make sure the cake is room temperature. The flavors will be most developed when not chilled.
The cake layers use 2 cups of full fat buttermilk which is very thick. If you’re using a buttermilk substitute, such as a mixture of milk and vinegar, decrease the amount of milk to 1 1/2 cups.
Keyword candy ornaments, layer cake, Smith Island Cake, white chocolte buttercream