In Monday's Cakes class, we made a 7 inch square cake. The cake itself was coconut, which I love and the icing was a Swiss Buttercream. To make this cake, we spread out large amounts of batter in a full sheet pan; after baking, we cut 7 in squares of cake which was definitely an easier process than slicing the round cakes.
The Buttercream was made like we've done in the past. We decorated the cake in a similar fashion, putting buttercream and simple syrup between the cake layers, and covering the entire cake in buttercream. Icing the sides of a square cake is a new challenge, particularly in trying to get straight sides, firm corners and generally nice edges. We also used buttercream to pipe a shell border on the bottom of the cake and around the edge of the cake.
In our downtime, we also made marzipan rosebuds and leaves which were used for decoration atop the cake. I had never worked with marzipan (which is almond paste and sugar) so this was another new experience for me. And finally, we used chocolate to pipe a message on the cake.
I had some difficulty with my edges, particularly the corners, and my shell border was a bit too big. My rosebuds and leaves turned out pretty good and my piping was OK. I had to take my initial attempt at "happy" off the cake, thus ruining the flat top, but the new piping was much better so it was worth it overall. In general, it was a pretty good day for the first attempt at a square cake, but I am starting to understand more and more why fondant is a popular choice for cake decorating.