Every year for my Mom's birthday, I make her some sort of coffee-flavored cake. It started out with tiramisu cakes, mocha cake, and lately it's been coffee chiffon cakes. For her most recent birthday, I made coffee chiffon cake again, but this time covered with Swiss meringue buttercream and topped with purple buttercream flowers! (I've been super into make wreath cakes lately, and this was no exception!)
I started out by making four 6-inch round coffee chiffon cake layers (I forgot to take pictures of the cake layers, but you can get the gist of it here). Normally with coffee chiffon, I like to use a whipped cream frosting because chiffon cake is so light an airy, and American buttercream is usually to heavy for it, but this time I though I'd try a lighter buttercream by using a recipe for Swiss Meringue buttercream (you can find the recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book).
I typically do a quick crumb coat of frosting first, the let the cake chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, and then do a final coat of frosting, smoothing it all out with a long metal icing spatula.
Then it was time to decorate with my buttercream flowers! I had piped onto small squares of waxed paper ahead of time - using a pastry bag fitted with a petal tip, I piped each flower onto a flower nail (which you can use to easily spin your flower around when piping petals). You can see this post for more details on this technique, but you basically pipe the flowers ahead of time, and then put them in an airtight container in your freezer, so that they can harden and are easier to handle when placing them on your cake.
Before adding the frozen buttercream flowers, I first piped a ring of frosting on the top of the cake, so that you have something to nestle and position the flowers on. Then I started adding my flowers, one by one.
The final step was to use a leaf tip to pipe green leaves all around the flowers - this fills in the gaps in between the flowers (and also hides the ring of frosting that you are placing the flowers on and around).
And then it was done! Don't the flowers look so pretty?
Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you!