Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of letter cakes and desserts decorated with flowers and macarons all over Instagram and Pinterest. They are so pretty and so artistic. While I’m not an artist, I thought I would give it a go and share with you how I made them and the best tips I learned through my trial and error process. This was so much fun to make and the presentation was just lovely! I made this for my Mother’s Day Alfresco Brunch.
For my cake I used my Old-Fashioned Orange Buttercream Cake, but you can use any cake flavor you like. You can make this from scratch like I did or spruce up a white boxed cake mix like my Easy Strawberry Cake or my Easy Black Forest Cake. In a pinch you could purchase a plain sheet cake from a local bakery along with the buttercream and just assemble at home. Any way you do it, it will turn out wonderful!
HERE’s HOW I MADE IT
I few weeks ago I purchase these letter copper cookie cutters from TheFussyPup on Etsy. The cutters have a great size and weight at just a little over 3X3X.75. They have a sturdy construction and the vendor promptly fulfilled and shipped my order. I will be ordering more from her. My orange buttercream cake recipe yields enough batter for a 11X16X2 large sheet pan, three 8-inch round cake pans or two 9X 13 sheet pans.
I baked and frosted the sheet cake the night before. Since this specific cake has an orange syrup drizzled over it, the top is sticky and the frosting, once cold, provides additional structure to help prevent the mini cakes from falling apart. I also doubled the buttercream frosting recipe and used half on the sheet cake and reserved the other half to pipe and decorate the mini cakes.
Tip: I lined the baking sheet with parchment paper so I could easily lift the letters out without breaking them apart. I found this step to be so beneficial! Buttercream hardens and becomes compact when refrigerated, so in the morning, beat the buttercream with a hand-held electric mixer to whip it and make the texture creamier.
The morning of my brunch I brought out my sheet cake from the refrigerator. In my first attempt, I tried to cut a letter out of the cake using only the cookie cutter. This proved to be a little tricker to do since separating the cake from the cutter was time consuming and it got stuck. Because the sheet cake was cold, I found it easier to slightly press the cookie cutter into the sheet cake and use a serrated knife to cut around the cookie cutter.
When using a serrated knife, insert the knife and drag it along the outline instead of inserting in and out. Dragging will yield a clean cut, while inserting in and out will pull up crumbs from below. After each letter, clean both the cookie cutter and knife with hot soapy water to remove any crumbs and buttercream and dry both with a kitchen towel before reusing. This step was necessary to ensure a clean cut each time much like when slicing a birthday cake. After a few times, you find your rhythm and the process speeds up and becomes more efficient.
Once your letter is cut, and the excess around it has been removed, lift the parchment paper up to assist in removing the delicate letter cake from the baking sheet, then proceed to gently nudge and remove the cookie cutter from the cake. I found it easier to push the cake down, paying special attention to the corners. The hard, cold frosting made it easier for me to press down on without damaging the cake itself. Wash, rinse and repeat until all your letter are cut out. For two rows of MOM, I cut out 8 Ms and 4 Os.
I placed the ugliest cuts as my first layer and trimmed any golden bits with the serrated knife. Using a 1M Wilton piping tip, I piped stars on the letters M and a circle with starts in the center on the letters O. I set the second cake layer on top and piped the buttercream following the same pattern.
I garnished the mimi cakes with extra orange zest, a light dusting of powdered sugar and some small edible flowers. It’s very hot and muggy in south Florida in May so I kept these refrigerated until it was time to bring them to the table. They held up nicely and didn’t dry up. If your weather allows, leave them at room temperature once you decorate them.
Note: You can purchase edible flowers from a local vendor if you have one or online through Amazon, Chef’s Garden, Gourmet Sweet Botanicals or any other number of available vendors. Here’s an article from Southern Living on the 10 Best Edible Flowers.
I was very pleased with the outcome and it was a lovely addition to my brunch table, not to mention this Old-Fashioned Orange Buttercream Cake is absolutely delicious, delicate, moist and has a perfect crumb. The subtle hint of orange comes through and it’s just lovely! I hope you enjoyed this and try your own letter cookie cutter cakes! Please leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you. Wishing everyone a blessed Mother’s Day!