When I think awards show, I always picture the steps the artists take up to the stage to accept their award. They’re so excited! I took that concept to the next level with steps honouring all of the Best Song noms from this year, and finishing it with the teeniest mic drop ever.
Baking Your Vanilla Cakes!
Ingredients & Tools You Will Need:
5 x 6 lbs Yo’s Ultimate Vanilla Cake - find my recipe here
12 x 18” Rectangle Cake Pan, lined with parchment paper
11 x 15” Rectangle Cake Pan, lined with parchment paper
9 x 13” Rectangle Cake Pan, lined with parchment paper
12” Square Cake Pan, lined with parchment paper
10” Square Cake Pan, lined with parchment paper
ChefMaster Sunset Orange Gel Food Colouring
ChefMaster Lemon Yellow Food Colouring
ChefMaster Violet Gel Food Colouring
Wilton Sky Blue Icing Color
Wilton Kelly Green Icing Color
Wilton Rose Icing Color
We’re going to start by baking five cakes, each in a different red carpet worthy colour. These cakes have got to make the best dressed list! Prepare your vanilla cake batter according to my recipe here. Divide your batter into the following portions, and fold in the accompanying food colouring. Then pour your colourful batters into their prepared cake pans, and bake at 350 degrees according to the following times, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I’ve listed all of my cake prep below to help you out:
12 x 18” Rectangle Cake Pan - 10 lbs batter - dyed orange - baked for 1 hr 30 min
11 x 15” Rectangle Cake Pan - 8 lbs batter - dyed rose - baked for 1 hr 20 min
9 x 13” Rectangle Cake Pan - 6 lbs batter - dyed yellow - baked for 1 hr 10 min
12” Square Cake Pan - 3.5 lbs batter - dyed teal with blue and green - baked for 40 min
10” Square Cake Pan - 2.5 lbs batter - dyed purple - baked for 40 min
Remove from oven once a toothpick comes out clean, and allow cakes to cool completely in their pans.
Icing Your Cakes!
You Will Need:
Simple Syrup - find my recipe here
Italian Meringue Buttercream - find my recipe here
Small Icing Spatula
Templates (or Measure carefully with a ruler) in the following sizes:
12 x 17”
10 x 15”
8 x 13”
6 x 11”
4 x 9”
To turn these cakes into evenly spaced steps, we need to ensure that they decrease by the same width and depth with each layer. We don’t want any Jennifer Lawrence moments on these steps. I made templates out of cake boards to help me with this step, but you can also mark them very carefully with a ruler.
Let’s get started! Remove all cakes from their pans and level them. Flip, and remove the caramelization from the bottom of your cakes. Next, I used my templates to reduce my cakes to the following dimensions:
12 x 18” Orange Cake cut down to 12 x 17”
11 x 15” Pink Cake cut down to 10 x 15”
9 x 13” Yellow Cake cut down to 8 x 13”
12” square Blue Cake cut down to 6 x 11” - stacked to get same height as the rectangle cakes
10” square Purple Cake cut down to 4 x 9”- stacked to get same height as the rectangle cakes
Again, you need to ensure that all of your cakes are also the same height. I levelled mine off to 1 ¾ inches high; stacking my purple and blue cakes to get to this height. If your measurements don’t match mine, or if you’re caking a smaller staircase, don’t worry - you just need your cakes to decrease by the same increment at each step, and that all of your steps are the same height.
Your cakes should now have the caramelization removed from the top, bottom, and all the sides of your cake. This really lets that bright colour pop!
Give all of your cakes a simple syrup shower, and allow to soak in.
Crumb coat each of your cakes individually and chill them. Bring them back out for another ice, taking a minute to measure the angles and ensure that the corners are still nice and tight. Return to the fridge. Once your buttercream is firm, remove for a final ice using a ruler to triple check your corners. Return cakes to the fridge while you prep the next step.
Covering Your Cakes!
You Will Need:
5 lbs Black Fondant
Take your black fondant and roll it out into slabs, making sure that they are just a bit longer than your biggest cake. We’ll be covering all four sides of all five cakes with black fondant slabs, so that’s a lot of strips!
Measure the heights of all of your cakes (your buttercream may have added a fraction of an inch or so), and cut strips of fondant for all of the sides, trimming the strips to the right length as you go. First cover the shorter sides of all your cakes,and trim the edges flush to the cake.Then cover the longer sides in the same manner. If you notice any dips between the top of your cake, and the height of your fondant, add a little bit of buttercream to level it completely flat.
Knead your black fondant scraps and reroll it into slabs that you’ll use to cover the tops.
Stack the cakes from largest to smallest, stacking them so that the backs of all the cakes were lined up, and there is about 1 inch on either side, and two 2 inches at the front.
Cover the tops of your cake using the same method you used with the sides. Going cake by cake, cut a strip wide enough to cover the two exposed sizes, and then cover the exposed cake at the front. The only difference I made here was that I created a diagonal seam - like a picture frame! Use a sharp knife to cut through the fondant and remove the excess. For the tippy top of your cake (the stage!), measure and cut one piece of black fondant to cover it completely.
Decorating The Cake!
You Will Need:
1 lb Gum Paste
Strip Cutter No.1
Clear Piping Gel
Gold Macaroni Dragée
Gold Paste Dragée
Silver Square Dragée
Silver Triangle Dragée
Silver Rice Dragée
Note: For your letters, it’s really nice to give them time to dry, so I would recommend making these ahead of time. You could even do them the day before.
It’s time for song titles! Now, I don’t want you to think that Beyoncé is on bottom because it’s my least fave single. In fact, she’s on the bottom because her vocals are strong enough to hold up the entire cake. That, and her lyrics were the longest. ;)
I looked up the art from each single, and created a template to match the font for each song. Make sure your template will fit in the height of your cakes. Colour five pieces of gum paste to match your five cakes, using the same food colouring to get it just right.
Roll out your coloured gum paste, and cut the titles from each song. You want each lyric to match the colour of the corresponding cake beneath. Create the rest of the lyrics with white gum paste and your tappit.
Using your ruler, line up the whole lyric with the title, and plan out how you’ll space it on your cake layer. Once you’re happy with the layout, glue your letters on with a bit of clear piping gel. I actually used a chopstick laid along the base of each step to help line up my letters.
Roll out a bit more white gum paste for your MTV logo. I used a strip cutter to create a bunch of white strips. Use a template to guide where you place your strips to create the “M”, and cut out a little “TV”. Apply these to your cake with a little bit of clear piping gel.
Now let’s have some fun with the bling! Work with the shape of each dragée to create a pattern based on each unique shape. I brushed the entire surface of each step with clear piping gel diluted with a little water. This will not only glue the dragées to your fondant, it will also leave a sheen on each step. Let your creativity run wild!
You guys know I’m a Beyoncé lover, but I’m from Toronto so I gave Drake’s step a little bit more love with the jelly diamonds.
You Will Need:
Small Fondant Rolling Pin
Non Stick Mat
Gold Luster Dust
Sculpt a little ball for the mic, and create a cross-hatched microphone pattern (I used a tea strainer and pressed it gently into the fondant). Wrap some more black fondant around a lollipop stick to create a little stand. Using some gold lustre to bling up some strips of fondant and the stand. Lastly, run a little bit of black fondant through a clay extruder for your mic cord.
You’re done! Itty bitty mic drop!