Life is groovy baby with this Shag Pile Pom Pom Cake! This striking and colourful cake is actually easily achieved thanks to a set of grass piping tips! It's one of those cakes that also looks much harder than it actually is and if you are looking for a striking and deliciously moist cake, this is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!
This cake also has a surprise inside, designed for New Year's surprises. Once you cut into the cake, our pours colouful, confetti sprinkles. The cake itself is lovely and moist and cooks flat so that you don't have to trim it and the icing is an easy American buttercream frosting. I cannot tell you what joy this cake brings. The shag refers to shag carpet (haha not the other meaning but hey all our minds went there) and it also looks like pom poms.
What cakes are best for decorating? I love the moist texture of this cake which is what I look for with a celebration cake or one that may be served perhaps a few days after you bake it. Some cakes aren't really suited for elaborate decorations if they have to be eaten on the day they're baked or after. This cake stays moist for a few days.
Pure icing sugar or icing sugar mixture? I sued icing sugar mixture for this cake, mainly because it is easier to sift and when you're talking such a huge quantity, it makes a big difference. Icing sugar mixture is just icing sugar with some cornflour/fine cornstarch added to it to keep it from clumping. Pure icing sugar needs to be used in items like royal icing where the icing needs to set hard. It is imperative to sift the icing sugar very well for this because small lumps can get caught in the holes and ruin the whole grass effect and taking out a piping tip from a piping bag is messy stuff (unless you have lots of coupler sets).
Which is the best grass tip to use for a shag or pom pom cake? Piping tips come in small, medium and large sizes and the numbers can get confusing. I love using the #234 medium sized grass tip for a shag pom pom cake. Some people recommend the #233 small grass tip which but I found these tips way too tiny for the size of the cake (even this is a 15cm/6inch and not a 20cm/8inch cake). I found the #234 medium grass tips by Ateco at a really affordable price here (not sponsored) and postage was very fast and they were dispatched very quickly.
This cake is for 2021 which will hopefully be a better year than 2020. You know how different cultures usher in the new year with different superstitions? Some make sure that the house is clean, others rest up because it is said that the first day of the year spent toiling means a year of hard work ahead. Well I baked a happy cake in the hopes that 2021 would be a fantastic and happy year for everyone.
A week ago I was chatting to Nina. After we had to cancel dinner at their house because I was waiting on the results of my COVID test, she told me that a friend also had to get a test at the drive-thru testing clinic at Bondi Beach. It was during the peak of testing and she waited in a queue in her car for 4 hours unable to leave to go to the bathroom. During this time she was forced to relieve herself in the car using a bag.
"The result was negative but it was her birthday yesterday so she was pretty upset that she had to spend it in her car peeing into a bag," she said. "Nina, peeing in a bag on your birthday like 2020 in one story!" I replied.
So goodbye 2020, you were a challenging and interesting year. And let's hope that 2021 is a more benevolent year!
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your feeling about 2021? Are we in for more pain or will we get some relief?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Shag Pom Pom Cake!
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 2 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 120 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 3 cups/360g/12.6ozs. cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 280g/10ozs caster or superfine sugar
- 350g/12.4ozs. butter, softened
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 1.5 cups/375ml/13.2ozs. buttermilk
- 90g/3ozs. sprinkles
For Vanilla Buttercream
- 500g/1.1lbs. butter, soft at room temperature
- 1.4kgs/3lbs. icing sugar mixture, sifted
- 6 tablespoons milk or cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pink, teal, mint green, fuchsia, electric orange and baby
- 75g/2.6ozs sprinkles
- 7x #234 medium grass tips
- 8 piping bags (1 large, 7 small)
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 130C/266F. Line 2 x 15cm/6inch tins with parchment on the base and sides. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a beater attachment mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda and sugar together. Whisk the eggs with the buttermilk in a jug.
The mixture in Step 1 resembling buttercream
Step 2 - Beat in the butter and it will look like buttercream. Then add the egg milk mixture until it looks like a cake batter. Lastly, stir in the sprinkles. Divide into the two tins. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until the centre springs back when touched gently. Cool completely.
Step 3 - Make the buttercream. Beat the butter for a minute or until smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat on low speed at first and then increase and add the milk or cream. Beat for 4 minutes or until fluffy. Fill a large piping bag with the vanilla buttercream.
Step 4 - Slice the cakes in half horizontally and place one layer on a cake disc. Pipe two circles of frosting around the edges (I just snipped the end of the bag) and then fill the centre with confetti sprinkles. Repeat two more times. Then pipe icing around the edges and top of the cake and smooth down with an angled spatula (it helps if you have a cake turntable and can use a buttercream smoother). Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to set.
Step 5 - Meanwhile divide the remaining buttercream into a 7 bowls. Tint these in all of the colours leaving one vanilla. Place in a piping bag fitted with a #234 medium grass tip. Take the cake out of the fridge and start piping the shag texture onto the cake. I did it in patches making sure to touch the cake with the tip to avoid it falling off. Pipe on the sides and top. Place in the fridge to set the buttercream.
Use a bowl scraper to push down the buttercream in the piping bag
Piping bags with coloured buttercream
Piping onto the cake (you can see that I missed a bit spot with the buttercream!)