Sueded Buttercream with Sprinkle Snowflakes – how to make a suede like texture on a buttercream cake plus the prettiest sprinkle snowflakes. A new cake tutorial by our contributor Erin Gardner.
I’m going to share with you a little bit of my journey down the rabbit hole to sueded buttercream, because it’s a good one. It all started while watching a YouTube tutorial on how to “bake” concealer. (I know, I know.) Basically, it’s when you heavily dust your freshly concealed under eyes with a setting powder, then dust the powder off. It sets the creamy concealer and leaves behind a silky, matte finish. Since all roads lead to food, I thought, “Could I do this with cake? That looks an awful lot like powdered sugar…I bet I could add color.”
Dusting cocoa powder on ganache and fondant to create a sueded effect is a well-known cake and pastry technique. After researching my bright idea I found a few posts online about dusting fondant covered cakes with tinted powdered sugar to create the look of suede (namely Ashlee Marie), but none with buttercream. If it hadn’t been done before, why not give it a try? The result is a modern and fun-to-do buttercream finish.
It’s a soft, dreamy look perfect for pairing with sparkly winter themes. I also think sueded buttercream would be gorgeous in pinks or purples and paired with spring flowers. One of the other things I love about this technique – no need to stress about smoothing your buttercream within an inch of its life. All of the tapping and puffing helps to erase any so-called buttercream blemishes. American buttercream is the way to go here. It’s propensity to crust helps to set the dusty, matte finish. I strongly suggest doing this on a cake that will sit at room temperature. Humidity from the fridge would almost certainly gloss the cake back up again.
SUEDED BUTTERCREAM AND SPRINKLE SNOWFLAKES
a tutorial by Erin Gardner
- Cake with American Buttercream (I’m working on on 8” round, freshly frosted – icing not yet set)
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon petal dust
- Rubber band or string
- Small flat-edged paint brush
- Silver rod drageés
- White Diamond Sprinkles
- White Sugar Pearls
MAKE THE SUEDE BUTTERCREAM EFFECT
Pour the confectioner’s sugar and half of the petal dust into a small bowl. Whisk together to combine.
Cut a 4-inch square of cheesecloth and add a tablespoon or so of the colored sugar to the center of the square. Gather up the corners and sides and secure the little powder puff with a rubber band. Gently tap the puff against your work surface or a paper towel until the powder makes it to the surface.
Tap the powder puff all over the surface of the cake until the sides and top are coated. Tap very gently as you move over the top edge of the cake to prevent denting the buttercream. If you do ding or mark your finish at any point, just smooth it over with the tip of an offset spatula, and go back over the area with your puff. Slide a cookie sheet under your cake while you work to help collect the excess sugar as it falls.
Set the cake aside for 10 minutes or so to allow the color to develop and for some of the sugar to be absorbed by the buttercream. Stop here if you’re going for a pale shade.
To give the color more dimension, dip a clean piece of cheesecloth directly into the petal dust and dab a few dots of the deeper shade around the cake over the dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Repeat with more layers of colored sugar until your desired look is achieved.
If you have an excess of sugar in any particular area or if ring marks develop from the powder puff, brush the sugar away using a clean piece of cheesecloth. Using a paint brush will remove the sugar entirely, but sticking with the cheesecloth will leave the dusty, matte finish intact.
Clean up the bottom edge of your cake with a small flat-edged paint brush. Brush the excess sugar off of your platter or stand, then poke the bristles of the brush under the cake to smooth the bottom edge.
MAKE THE SPRINKLE SNOWFLAKES
All snowflakes have 6 sides, so to keep things looking snowy instead of random-trapazoid-y, start by creating a center shape that has 6 sides. I used the silver rod dragées as my starting point. From there add sprinkles, pearls, or candy branching out from each point in a symmetrical fashion. I would give you the play-by-play, but that would belabor an otherwise fun and free-form experience. As much as I love words, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Just like no two snowflakes are alike, my sprinkle snowflakes will probably look a little different than your sprinkle snowflakes. If you aren’t able to get the white diamond sprinkles, replace them with a larger pearl or another white sprinkle or candy you might have on hand. If you aren’t into dragées or can’t find them, use any other long thin candy like Good-n-Plenty’s or even pieces of candy cigarettes.
NOTE: silver dragées are considered safe for cake decoration but have not been approved by the FDA for consumption. To play it safe, instruct your guests not to eat the silver rods.