Sculpted Buttercream Pomegranates
Buttercream, what a beautiful use of just a few ingredients.
Color it, flavor it, pipe it into shapes, stencil it into patterns, fill and top cupcakes with it, festoon cakes, you name it! When I first began to work solely with buttercream, I was afraid that my cakes wouldn’t be special anymore or that they would look like every other cake if I wasn’t using fondant. I was completely wrong as I would soon discover that buttercream was much more versatile then I’d imagine.
My first experience sculpting and shaping buttercream was prompted because I entered a cake decorating competition and I wanted to do something to make me stand out. It definitely did stand out, thankfully in a good way! Ever since my first attempt, I have been able to apply this technique to make various shapes with buttercream.
With a little imagination and a bit of practice, you can create many different decorations for cakes and cupcakes by sculpting buttercream. There are however, two things to be mindful of when learning this technique.
Sculpting buttercream will not work with a recipe that crusts
If you are used to making American Buttercream, it simply won’t work in this case. You need your buttercream to become hard in order to mimic clay and be manipulated. Due to the high sugar content in American Buttercream, those recipes simply won’t be sufficient. If you have been afraid to try a meringue based buttercream, now may be the perfect time to get your feet wet! You can find my vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream recipe here or you can get your hands on this workbook to check out the best ever Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe.
Sculpted buttercream Pomegranate
Cookie sheet/ sheet pan
2 piping bags, 2 couplers and 2 coupler rings
Tip 233 (grass tip)
*Tip 352 (leaf tip)
Large parchment squares
Yellow food color or food gel paste
Burgundy food gel paste
2 bowls and rubber spatula ( for mixing colors)
4 ounce scoop
1 batch buttercream ( Italian or Swiss meringue preferred)
Gather all of your tools and supplies
Separate buttercream into 2 bowls. Tint one buttercream yellow and the other burgundy. Set aside to mature. * If you would like your colors to be darker, add a dab of brown to help your colors bloom.
Using your ice cream scoop, scoop out burgundy buttercream and place it on a large parchment square on a cookie sheet. Move cookie sheet to freezer to allow pomegranate bases to firm up.
Remove firm buttercream from freezer and with gloved hands, handle one at a time. Gently cup base in your hand and smooth the surface. Take care not to handle too long or else your body temperature could squish your buttercream. Return to freezer when smooth to your liking.
Allow your buttercream to slightly re-firm for a few minutes. Use this time to fit your piping bags with the appropriate tips. Fit your burgundy piping bag with your tip 352 and your yellow piping bag with tip 233
Remove cookie sheet from freezer, take your piping bag containing your yellow buttercream, place it where you would like the crown to rest and apply moderate pressure on your bag to begin the icing flow, pull bag toward yourself and release pressure
Using piping bag containing burgundy buttercream, closely to the yellow center without touching, apply moderate pressure to your bag to begin the icing flow, pull bag toward yourself and release pressure. Repeat this until the yellow buttercream is enclosed in leaf piping. Return cookie sheet to freezer so buttercream can re harden.
Remove cookie sheet from freezer, with gloved hand, gently smooth red petals to the pomegranate base until the appearance is seamless. Your full pomegranate is completed!
If you are interested to learn just how to make the sliced pomegranate with seeds, you’ll have to pick up the August 2018 American Cake Decorating Magazine to see the entire tutorial!