How to Make a Two-Toned Ruffle Cake

A step-by-step tutorial for creating a delicate, two-toned ruffled buttercream finish. Create these perfect petal details for a romantic, whimsical cake for spring!.

How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.

In honor of my new cookbook being available for pre-order, I wanted to create and share a brand-new cake decorating tutorial.  If you love this, then I think you will really enjoy my book!  For those of you who don't already know, the book is called "Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Layer Cakes."  The subtitle is a bit long, but it really illustrates all that the book entails.  It is 288-pages packed full of color photos, decorating tips, industry tricks, and about 150 delicious recipes.  

How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.
How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.

There are several buttercream textures and piping ideas throughout the book (including a similar ruffle cake), but nothing quite like this two-toned version.  Once I got the idea to create this cake and started to see my vision come to life, I fell instantly in love.  And really, the only reason it did not make it in the book is simply because I did not think of the concept until after the manuscript was submitted.  Instead, treat this post as a preview to the fun and flirty cake designs and tutorials that you can find if you buy the book.  Pretty great, right?  Are you going to run and pre-order your copy now? I hope so =)

How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.
How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.
How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.

For spring, I wanted to create a ruffle cake that resembled flower petals.  Instead of the popular zig-zag ruffle cake, I flipped the piping tip 90-degrees and went with a horizontal ruffle.  Using a petal tip, I was able to make delicate rows of ruffles, each one resembling a flower petal.  Instead of tinting the buttercream a solid color, I decided to stripe my piping bag – painting a bit of pink and coral buttercream just on the side where the narrow end of the petal tip would be.  This way, each piped petal would be two-toned!  Of course, I could have stopped there, but why not throw a color gradient into the mix?  As I progressed with my piping, I added a bit more orange to my pink each time I filled the piping bag to create a beautiful coral ombre effect.  I know the color gradient didn't turn out absolutely perfect (neither are all the ruffles for that matter), but isn't it still so pretty?  I just love all the texture and imperfect bits of color.  Can you tell I am fairly pleased with myself?  Hehehe.

When I posted a preview pic to Instagram last week, the lovely Courtney of Fork to Belly pointed out they looked like ginger leis.  I wholeheartedly agree!

Okay, on to the tutorial section.  To start, apply a crumb coat to the entire cake.  You do not need to make sure everything is perfectly frosted, but the crumb coat should be just slightly thicker than normal.  Unless you plan to create a petal design on the top of the cake (which would be really cool, too), ice the top of the cake before getting started.  You won't really get another opportunity to smooth or swirl the top, so be sure to take care of the top and edges now.

"Striping the bag" as I called it (not sure if I made that up or heard it elsewhere) can be a bit fussy, but not impossible.  First, fit a piping bag with a medium petal tip.  For stability, place the piping bag upright in a tall drinking glass then fold the bag open over the top edges.  Tint a small portion of your buttercream the color of your choice.  Using a thin metal spatula or butter knife, paint the tinted buttercream on the side of the bag where the narrow end of the petal tip is facing.  Did you get that?  The petal tip has a fat end and narrow end.  The narrow end will create the top of the ruffle.  That means, if that is where you want the color to go, then apply the tinted buttercream up the side of that part of the piping bag.  As you can see, this doesn't have to be perfect – but my ruffles did not turn out "perfect" either, so do as you wish =) 

Filling the remaining portion of the bag is much easier.  Simply fill a second piping bag with plain buttercream and squeeze it directly into the other bag.  I only kept my piping bag about 1/2-full at all times, allowing my to change colors as I refilled and to keep things from getting too messy.

How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.
How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.
How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.
How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.

To create the ruffles themselves, start about a half-inch or so down from the top of the cake.  Keep the narrow end of the petal tip pointing up (the coloured portion).  As you apply pressure, the buttercream being squeezed through the uneven opening of the tip will begin to curve and curl.  Moving with this natural curve, make a slight zig-zag motion with the piping bag (up and down the side of the cake) as you progress around the cake.  Slightly flare the narrow tip out (towards you), being sure the fat end of the tip is always touching the cake.  Continue around the cake until one row is complete.

To complete the cake, begin the second row under the first, allowing the top of the ruffle to overlap the bottom of the previous row.  Again, by slightly flaring out the tip towards you, the ruffles will begin to overlap.  As you progress and need to refill the piping bag, change up the colored portion as desired.  If your piping bag gets too messy, considering swapping it out for a clean one (I didn't end up having to do so until my very last row, but it was certainly necessary at that point for me).

How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.
How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.
How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.
How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.

So there you have it!  A Two-Toned Ruffle Cake!  

The perfectionist side of me wanted to go in and re-do every single ruffle that wasn't perfect, but the creative, carefree side said "leave it."  That side won.  Yes, I know each ruffle isn't perfect, but isn't that the beauty of it all?  It doesn't have to be perfect and I am still digging the flirty texture.  I sure hope that inspires you all to give it a try!

How to make a two-toned ruffle cake.

Now on to the awesome part of this post.  I've teamed up AHeirloom for a giveaway!!  That gorgeous, wood base cake stand that I know you've been swooning over this entire post?  Yeah, it's from them.  And you could win your own!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.  CONGRATS, AMANDA! Enter your information below for a chance to win a $75 credit to AHeirloom (that's worth one of their stunning cake stands!).  US and Canadian residents only.  The contest will run until March 8th, so be sure to enter!  I'll be announcing the lucky winner next week.

A quick note about flowers on cakes:

As a previous wedding cake maker, I've had to seriously consider the effects of fresh flowers on cakes.  Not to sound overly dramatic, but if someone were to become ill after eating a cake, I bet they would blame the baker before ever thinking about the flowers that were on it.

That being said, I advise that you never put the stems of fresh flowers straight into the cake.  Instead, wrap the ends in floral tape and gently place them on.  If need be, anchor flowers onto a cake by inserting a drinking straw first, then placing the flower stems into the straw.  

I got the "Okay" from my florist when selecting the blossoms on this cake, but be cautious of the blooms you handle around food.  Typically flowers like roses are perfectly fine, but double check when dealing with other varieties.

PSA over.  Happy Baking!