Juliet Sear’s brushstrokes and blooms cake

I adore this cake, it’s certainly a strong contender for top favourite in my book for me. I particularly love the sculptural pastel shards of chocolate candy, which support the pretty roses as they nestle around. I love the clash of the spiky strokes of chocolate with the delicate soft flowers.

A wonderful grower, Maddocks Farm Organics, grew the roses on this cake. Really all the work in this design is done by nature (and Maddocks Farm) with just a little bit of melting and spreading. There isn’t much skill needed for the brushstrokes but I think you and your guests will agree they look really spectacular!

brushstrokes cake
Jason Jenkins

FOR THE CAKE

For the tall celebration cake pictured, I bake five 25cm vanilla sponge cakes, layer them with jam and vanilla buttercream, and use more buttercream to cover the top and sides. You’ll find my favourite basic sponge cake recipe and buttercream frosting, plus complete instructions for different sizes, in the book (see below).

FOR THE BRUSHSTROKES

You will need 600g Wilton Candy Melts, in as many pastel shades as you want. I used white, yellow, pink, light green, navy and purple. I make my own shades by mixing the brighter colours with white ones to soften the hues.

METHOD

To make the brushstrokes heat the Candy Melts carefully in the microwave or over a bain-marie until fully melted; mix up your shades and place the coloured chocolate into piping bags.

brushstrokes cake
Jason Jenkins

Use a spoon or a piping bag with a fairly large hole snipped at the tip to dollop mounds of melted chocolate, approximately a generous teaspoon to a tablespoon in quantity, onto baking parchment or trays.

brushstrokes cake
Jason Jenkins

Vary the sizes to give you different lengths and widths. Then use a large palette knife to swipe gently by holding on the top of the chocolate, then sweeping downwards in as long a length as you can, until the chocolate becomes thin at the end and a stroke is formed. Leave the brushstrokes to set for 10–15 minutes until they are completely hard, before trying to move them.

brushstrokes cake
Jason Jenkins

Use the brushstrokes to decorate your cake using a little extra buttercream to stick them onto the top and sides. Pipe a little buttercream onto the cake surface, then gently press the brushstroke on. I went around the base and then created a topper to finish. You can use some cocktail sticks to support the brushstrokes until the buttercream has set, then remove them.

brushstrokes cake
Jason Jenkins

Gently tuck your roses in and around the brushstrokes, and sit them on the top and sides of the cake. You may need to add cocktail sticks to support the flowers on the sides of the cake too.

brushstrokes cake
Jason Jenkins

Get the look and the book

From Botanical Baking: Contemporary Baking And Cake Decorating With Edible Flowers and Herbs by Juliet Sear (Sewandso, £16.99). To order a copy for £13.59 until 9 June, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640.