Vegan Baking & Buttercream Cake Class

Vegan Chocolate Sponge and Vegan Vanilla Sponge

Vegan Buttercream and Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Ganache

Layering and drip effect

FAQs, Hints and Tips

This section shows you how to layer your cake, apply the drip effect and add crystalised edible flowers.



  1. Trim the tops of all the sponges. If you have baked them in 2 tins, then trim the tops and slice in half so you have 4 layers in total. Separate about ⅓ to ½ of the buttercream to use for layering & crumb coating.

  2. Place the display board for your cake onto a turntable. Remove the baking paper from one of the pieces of cake and stick it crumb side down in the centre of the board with a little buttercream. Spread a generous spoonful of buttercream on top and roughly spread out using an offset or flexible palette knife.

  3. Stick the next piece of sponge on top, check it is centred, then press the cake down to stick. Repeat with another layer of buttercream and sponge until you reach the last piece of sponge; place this one down with the flat base on the top, then press down, making sure it is straight.

  4. Spread the top piece of sponge with a thin layer of buttercream, then use the remaining buttercream to mask the sides with your palette knife.

  5. Use a side scraper to remove any excess from the sides, letting the extra buttercream overlap on top. Remove the excess at the top corners with a palette knife, pulling the buttercream towards the middle of the cake.

  6. Chill your crumb-coated cake in the fridge for about half an hour or more (no more than 24 hours) before decorating with the final layer.


Final Layer:

  1. Spread a little of the remaining buttercream on the top of the cake, then level off with a palette knife to leave a smooth even finish. Spread an even, thick layer around the sides of the cake with a palette knife, scraping off the excess to leave a roughly even finish.

  2. Use a side scraper to remove the excess, pulling around the cake half way round and holding it as straight as possible to leave a smooth finish. You may need to do this 2 or 3 times to achieve an even finish. Remove the excess buttercream at the top with a palette knife and chill the cake in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.

Layering & Decorating Steps


Layering & Crumb Coat:

Final Layer:

Layered sponges & buttercream
Layered sponges & buttercream
Spreading top & sides with buttercream
Covered cake before using side scraper
Removing excess from top corners
Final crumb coated cake
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Spread an even layer on top
Using the side scraper
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Final Masked Cake:


Applying Drips:


Piping and decorating onto chilled cake:


Drip Effect


  1. Make sure the finished buttercream cake is completely cold (straight from the fridge), and adhered to a display board or cake stand. You don't want to move the cake onto a different display board after applying the drips.

  2. Start by spooning a little ganache on the top of the cake, towards the back, and push it gently over the edge so that it runs down the side. If it leaves a good drip, and isn't too soft or firm, then continue spooning more ganache around all the edges, gently pushing it so it drips down the sides. Then quickly fill in the centre before the ganache sets.

  3. Vibrate the cake board gently to even out the top of the ganache and let it set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Store in a covered cake box in the fridge until ready to serve/transport to your event.

  4. The ganache can be further embellished with edible glitter or lustre spray, macarons, meringue kisses, buttercream blossoms or piped buttercream blobs using different nozzle effects (this can be a great way to use up left over buttercream).

Crystalised Edible Flowers


Large pinch of gum tragacanth, gum arabic or CMC (Tylo powder)

Selection of edible blossoms – eg primroses, violets

about 100g fine caster sugar


  1. Mix a large pinch of the powder in with a tablespoon of water and let it sit and 'gel' for at least half an hour. It will look lumpy to start with then gradually form a smooth thick gel.

  2. Paint a thin layer of the glue on the front and back of the blossom. Place the blossom front side down into a bowl of caster sugar. Sprinkle the back generously with the sugar. Lift the blossom up and shake off excess. Set aside on a parchment paper lined tray.

  3. Continue until all of the flowers have been covered in sugar.

  4. Place the tray in a warm dry place – either in an airing cupboard or in a switched off warm oven for several hours to dry out. I normally let them sit out overnight on the tray.

  5. Once dried through they will keep for several weeks stored in a loosely covered container (eg a cardboard cake box). They also keep their colour well.

  6. Store any left over glue in the fridge.

The cakes have been finished with crystalised rose petals and dried cornflowers.


Guidance Video

Copyright Marianne Stewart 2019, not to be reproduced without permission.

Vegan Chocolate Sponge and Vegan Vanilla Sponge

Vegan Buttercream and Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Ganache

Layering and drip effect

FAQs, Hints and Tips

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© 2018 Marianne Bakes