scroll through the pictures again, but this time imagine that the frosting is stitched thread. it could totally pass for embroidery, right?! especially the bird with both of its wings spread (fourth from the top).
otomi-style patterns come from the otomi people, who live in the sierra madre oriental mountains in hidalgo, mexico. the prints’ figures are said to have been inspired by cave drawings of flora and fauna. otomi embroidery became popular in the 1960s, when a severe drought forced farmers to make and sell embroidery as an additional source of income.
in my adaptation of the style, i added a donkey to the birds and bees because the democratic party is in need of some extra representation this week. that’s all i’m gonna say about that.
just like real embroidery, this cake took hours of tedious work. if you’d like to try this technique, set aside a good three to four hours.
how to do it: smoothly ice yourself a cake with white or beige swiss meringue buttercream (DON’T USE AMERICAN BUTTERCREAM! IT WILL CLUMP!). chill the cake in the fridge. meanwhile, find a picture of some colorful embroidered fabric (i used a picture of an otomi lampshade). separate the remaining buttercream into separate bowls and dye it colors to match the picture you chose. i recommend using bright but muted colors to imitate embroidery thread as closely as possible (this can be achieved by adding a little brown or black food coloring to each color). once your frosting is dyed, put it into ziplock bags and snip a tiny piece off the corner.
lightly outline your design into the cake with a toothpick. when you’re ready, pipe tiny horizontal zigzags to fill in the design and create the embroidered look. if you mess up/accidentally smear the frosting with the back of your hand, use a toothpick to remove the colored frosting and start again (this is another reason why it’s good to have the cake chilled — when you wipe off the colored frosting, you won’t make a mark on the white base).