This is a real showstopper that almost turns a cake into an Easter basket with basket-weave piping on the sides, grass on top, and Easter candies, jelly beans (representing eggs), and chocolates filling the basket on top. I've got to be honest with you, this cake isn't a walk in the park: The basket-weave piping takes real skill and precision, so this is for more advanced cake decorators. However, if you have some experience with a pastry bag and turntable, or are a quick study, go for it and make this for your next Easter celebration. It's a fun, festive, unforgettable cake that might become a tradition for your family, as it has for mine.
3 pastry bags; a #6 star pastry tip; a #48 interchangeable basket weave pastry tip; a #233 interchangeable grass pastry tip
For the chocolate fudge frosting: Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until smooth, with no lumps, approximately 3 minutes. With the motor running, add the sugar, one cup at a time, adding the next cup only after the previous
addition is absorbed.
Stop the machine and add the cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Paddle on low-medium speed until completely smooth, approximately 2 minutes. Add the water and continue to paddle until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Put the chocolate fudge frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a #48 interchangeable basket weave tip.
For the white American buttercream: Combine the butter and shortening in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Sift in the confectioners' sugar and mix on low speed to prevent the sugar from spilling out of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the mixture aerates and becomes smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn down the speed to low.
With the motor running on low speed, add the salt and slowly pour in the vanilla and oil in a thin stream. Increase the speed to medium and combine until the mixture is light, fluffy and smooth.
For the green American buttercream: Put 3 cups White American Buttercream in a large bowl.
Add a small amount of the green food coloring gel and combine with a rubber spatula until the cream is uniformly colored. Add more gel as you mix until the frosting is the desired shade of green.
Put the green buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a #233 interchangeable grass tip.
To assemble: On a turntable, prepare a double-layer cake of your choosing on a doily-lined cardboard circle, filling it with the filling of your choice.
Put 3 cups of the White American Buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a #6 star tip. Dirty ice the cake with the buttercream by covering the cake with a thin layer to create a crumb coat.
Take the chocolate fudge bag in hand, and working from bottom to top, using the straight side of the tip (the basket weave tip has a plain/straight side and a ruffled/serrated side), pipe vertical lines around the side of the cake, 1/8-inch apart, turning the turntable after each line.
Next, starting at the bottom, and turning the turntable as you work, pipe horizontal bands over every other vertical line. Pipe another set of bands above the first set, piping them over the lines you skipped on the first level.
Continue in this fashion, piping over alternating sets of lines, until you have created a basket weave that covers the entire side of the cake.
Take the green buttercream bag in hand and squeeze-and-pull grass around the border, letting the grass come slightly over the edge. Cover the entire top of the cake with grass.
Top the cake with the jelly beans, Peeps, Reese's peanut butter cups, and other candies.
The White American Buttercream recipe yields 9 cups. Since 6 cups are used in this recipe, reserve the remaining 3 cups for another purpose. The buttercream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Adapted from "Family Celebrations with The Cake Boss" by Buddy Valastro. Courtesy of Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.