Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cinderella's (Interpretive Cake) Castle

So....I have this friend who's wonderful husband has managed to forget about her birthday two years in a row. This year she made it perfectly clear that if he forgot again, there was a chance of being banned from the bedroom for a certain period of time.

In an attempt to save his marriage, he approach me for a cake. Said that she loved Disney World and was thinking of a sheet cake with a castle on it. I told him, that he needed something much better than that, and suggested a 3D castle cake.

"You can do that?!?" he said in astonishment.

"Sure," I coolly replied. "In fact it would be easier to do than piping a castle onto a cake."

And behold, a castle cake I'm positive anyone could make at home:

This cake took me about 4 days to make. Of course, I wasn't working 8 hours a day on it, I probably worked 4 to 5 hours a day on it.

Do ahead work includes making the rice crispy treat turrets, making turret roofs by covering sugar ice cream cones in fondant, cutting the turret roof bases, and other decorations like a castle front door and flowers.

For the castle turrets I started by following the directions for rice crispy treats that comes on the rice cripsy box, except that I worked in half recipes at a time because it was easier to manage that amount at a time. I would press the warm treat out flat on waxed paper and allow to cool until pretty firm. To cut them out, I used the largest circle fondant cutter I had and lots of powered sugar. Sometimes the cutter got really sticky and it was just frustrating to work with - this is where I would have to take a break before I threw everything at the wall screaming and throwing a tantrum about how nothing wants to cooperate with me.

But really, it wasn't as bad as I'm making it sound - I'm just being dramatic.

After all of the circles were cut out, I stacked them up and the smushed them together and smushed the sides to make all of the turrets even in size. For the four turrets to go around the bottom tier of cake, I cut them all to be the same size using a serrated knife. I think in the future I would also trim the bottom of the turrets in a like manner so that way they all sit flush with the counter (can you believe I didn't even think to do that).

Now, I will admit that making these turrets was rather labor intensive. Don't care for edible turrets? That's fine, you can use styrofoam cylinders, or save up paper towel, toilet paper, or wrapping paper rolls to cover in fondant. If you can find the styrofoam, I would say go with that as the styrofoam will be sturdier and easier to attach when it comes time to assemble the entire cake.

Back to the edible turrets - I stuck them in refrigerator to harden a bit and meanwhile make a triple batch of American Buttercream (yum). When the turrets were of the desired hardness (didn't take long, maybe half an hour, which is also enough time to clean something up or have a snack), I crumb coated the turrets to give am even texture on the outside, then stuck them in the freezer to really get them cold so I could cover them in fondant.

Covering these suckers in fondant was easy, you roll the stuff out, the cut a long straight edge and a straight short edge. Then you roll up like a taco, cut off a straight short edge and smooth the cut edge as well as you can (I let the edges overlap). For the top, I trimmed off with a paring knife. These turrets I kept stored in the fridge until i was ready to paint - oh yes, I said paint.

About this point in the project I pretty much ran out of room on the camera memory card and so I didn't take any pictures. But to paint the turrets (which I would also do later with the first cake tier), I used clear vanilla mixed with silver luster dust. It doesn't take much vanilla to get this into a paint-like consistency. Total number of vials used (I don't know what else to call the little container that the stuff comes in): 2.

Other decorations made ahead included a door and some drop flowers. The drop flowers are a piece of cake. They make best with royal icing and since you need to give the icing time to dry and harden, it's best to make these ahead.

To make the flowers: I used two difference size tips a Wilton #129 (for bigger flowers) and a Wilton #225 (for smaller flowers). On a piece of waxed paper, hold the tip straight up and touching the paper, squeeze and turn your wrist 90 degrees. See, told you it was easy. I used a Wilton #2 for the flower centers.

To make the door: take a piece of fondant and some brown coloring, but don't mix it in all the way. I believe this is called "marbling." Cut to shape and score down the center. For the door handles, I used clear vanilla to attach. Again, SO easy.

To attach the turrets to the cake, I used toothpicks. Don't make the mistake that I made and just stick them into the turrets without noting how high up the turret the cake edges hit. Yes, I who makes no mistakes (over exaggeration) had toothpicks that were just sticking out of the turret and hanging out floating over the cake....

Also, this is a cake that will need to be dowled properly, including one long dowl going through the top tier into the bottom. And as a note, this cake traveled very well. Make sure everything is glued together with royal icing and give plenty of time for the icing to dry.

Cake Schematics:
Bottom Tier - 8-inch square cake, vanilla cake filled with raspberry jam
Top tier - 6-inch round cake, vanilla cake filled with raspberry jam
Entire cake iced with American Buttercream and covered in fondant.
Cake board size used - 14 inches square
Number of people this cake will feed - I dunno, these things are so subjective. Since it's not a wedding cake it will feed less. I would say the 6-inch cake could feed 5 to 8 people, and the 8-inch cake 10 to 15 people. People will just have to arm wrestle for the turrets.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2009 BikeMS Ride

I promised you a report of our ride...but let's face it, you're probably here for pictures.

Unfortunately, I do not have any from the starting line. My wonderful, wonderful mother took a bunch, but she said that there was rather large man that happened to be blocking us - so she wasn't able to get a good pictures. Bummer.

But here are pictures from the second rest stop when we remembered that we had a camera and should take pictures. At this point in the ride, we had pretty much finished with all of the hill work and were still feeling really good.

I thought about cropping out the guy in the back who's bending over and fumbling with his bike, but then I decided that I would keep him there for the ladies. You don't have to thank me.

Now back to the ride. I kept looking around hoping to see something very pretty and Florida so that I could share with you all the cool stuff that I saw. But all I saw was a lot of orange groves, and they didn't smell good, so I was always just trying to pedal away from the stinky smell.

The last 15 miles of the ride really kicked our butts. Especially when we turned onto this one very windy road. It was like hitting a wall. Seriously. We had been cruising at 16 - 18 mph, but on that road, 12 mph at the most. It was tough. Then we got to a rest stop and ate the juiciest oranges ever.

Then we left the rest stop and continued on to the Caribe Royale Hotel (that was the end point for the ride) where we were riding on busy roads. Lots of cars. We didn't get honked at too much. However, because there were so many riders, it was awesome because it was just like, "Yes, I am taking over this lane right now and you in the car cannot do anything about it." But I really didn't take over a lane because my legs were BURNING so I stayed behind the husband and drafted off of him.

When we got to the finish line, they gave us each a bright orange t-shirt (see them in our hands?) and snapped out picture. But the kind lady that took our picture wanted to take one more. So we decided that instead of looking defeated, we wanted to be the strong riders that we are! Whoo!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Day Presents

Husband and I - we love our mothers. So we decided to give them each a present cake for Mother's Day. Don't worry - one of us doesn't have two mothers, we just have a mother who currently lives with an aunt and we didn't want to leave auntie out!

It's seems to be a widely accepted perception that working with fondant is a pain in the butt (especially the part where you have to cover a cake), but I actually enjoy working with it. Outside of the baking, crumb coating, and icing - all three of these cakes took me only a couple hours to complete.

Oh, what's that? You want to make one yourself. Why sure - I think I can show you how to do that.

Step 1: Cover cake in Fondant. Using a good chunk of fondant, roll it out to a little less than 1/4-inch thick. How big to make the piece of fondant? Well, that all depends on how big the cake is that you're trying to cover. Just take a ruler measure the height, multiply that by two, then measure across the cake and add that to the current total. That's the minimum diameter the size your piece of fondant needs to be. For me, I add a few inches because I find it easier to smooth the fondant when it is generously draped on the cake.

Using a fondant smoother, just rub it on the cake to work the fondant onto the cake and to get it to stick. To get around the corners, grab the fondant and stretch it a little bit as you use the fondant smoother to work the fondant around the corners. Once the fondant is on the cake and looks beautiful, take a sharp knife and cut off the excess.

Step 2: Make the Bow. This step will have several steps to it, but I think you'll be able to keep up with the madness.

First thing to do is to roll out another chunk of fondant in the color of your choice. How much fondant will you need? Well, less than what you used to cover your cake. I know that's pretty vague, but it depends on the size of your cake and how big of a bow you want to have. But I digress, roll out your fondant anywhere between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch thick. Then cut two long strips for the ribbon that "ties" onto your cake. Place it on your cake, and move on to making the bow.

The bow is not a long piece of fondant of tied into a bow. It's 5 pieces of fondant put together to look like a bow. For the bow loops, cut another long piece of fondant and then fold the outside ends into the middle. Now, step back and decide if that is how big you want your bow to be. If not, trim or start over as necessary. If you like what you've got, then take a sharp knife and cut down the middle so you have two separate bow loops.

Take the ends of the bow loops and fold each side of the ends into thirds. To make your bow look more life-like than mine, you can fold it so there are creases. Next, take some clear vanilla extract (or liquor) and using a food-dedicated paint brush (which means, a brand new brush that has never been used to paint) brush some of the clear vanilla onto the inside of the ends and press together. When the alcohol evaporates, the ends will be stuck together. To help the bow keep a fluffy shape, stuff some paper towel scraps into the loops and keep 'em there until the loops are dry enough to hold their shape. Next, cut another piece of fondant for the middle of the bow, place the loops (with the top side down) onto the center of the new piece of fondant and paint a little clear vanilla on the ends of the loops and the ends of the middle piece to hold the bow together.

Make sure that you press this together to seal it and then set aside and start on the bow's tails. For tails, cut two strips of fondant to the length that you would like the tails to be. I like to cut a triangle out of the bottom end of my tails because I think it looks pretty. But you can cut it on an angle or leave it straight. Next, for the end of the tails that will connect to the bow, I folded the sides toward the center and pressed it down, but you can crease and/or gather your ends however you like. Next step is to place the tails and the bow on your cake and glue them together with clear vanilla extract. If you haven't done so yet, trim the ribbons on the cake and fasten the ends to the bottom of your cake with a little clear vanilla.

And voila! You've made your cake look like a present! How darling!

Now, you can take the paper towel scraps out of the loops when the loops are dry enough so they don't fall.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The ABC's of Cake

Oh...I'm sorry for the deceiving title of this post. I just couldn't resist. I wish I had something as clever as list in alphabetical order for cake making. In fact - that's not a bad idea. Maybe when I find some time, I'll make one.

But really, this is just a birthday cake with ABC's on it. I got a new set of fondant cutters, I had to use them!

This lovely little cake had one of my favorite things in the middle: Lemon Curd. Yum. I could drink the stuff out of a juice box - if it came that way (in fact, that's not a bad idea).

By the way, I did mean to take a picture of the first layer with the curd poured in the center, but then my mom called, and I was talking to her on the phone and assembling the cake at the same time. Great multitasking, but I was just a little distracted.

At any rate, making this cake was a piece of cake (pun intended):

A Few Days Before Delivery: Baked the cakes, triple wrapped them, and placed in the freezer. I pulled them out the day I planned to decorate.

Two Days Before Delivery: Made the lemon curd. My new favorite cake book has a recipe, but I didn't want to use it. I'm in love with Alton Brown's lemon curd recipe which is so easy, and smooth, and flavorful. Don't worry, I've included it at the end.

The Next Day/Evening Before Delivery:

1) Made the fondant cutouts. Now, I buy my fondant. I don't mess with making the stuff because making it just isn't worth it. And let's face it - fondant isn't that delicious (at least not as delicious as lemon curd mixed with some buttercream...Oh my!). But I disgress, I buy my fondant, and the brands I use are as follows: Pettinice if I'm going to plain, white, vanilla fondant. If I need something colored (and for bold colored fondants such as red or black, you're better off buying the stuff and saving yourself a massive backache and headache) I use Satin Ice. It's good, but I've gotten better compliments on the pettinice fondant. So, like I said, if you need a really, really bold color - just buy the stuff. I don't know if Pettinice makes colored fondants (I haven't seen anything other than ivory or chocolate which I'm assuming is brown), but maybe the store I shop at doesn't carry it if they do.

Anyway, a little trick I found with the fondant letters that I cut out: because the cutters were so small it wasn't enough to dust the cutters in confectioner's sugar, it helped to mix a little sugar with the fondant to stiffen it up a bit. Normally, when covering a cake, I wouldn't do that in order to prevent the fondant from drying and cracking, but in this instance, it really helped when it was time to coax the cutters away from the fondant letters.

2) Leveled, filled, crumb coated the cake - then cleaned the kitchen. Next applied final layer of buttercream. Decorated! I used a Wilton #12 round tip for the boarders.

Lemon Curd
By: Alton Brown

Makes 1 pint

5 egg yolks (save the whites!)
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, zested and juiced
1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled

1) Add enough water to a medium-sized saucepan to come up about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

2) Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized metal bowl (I used a glass one, oh well) and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.

3) Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to equal 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth.

4) Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl over saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit over saucepan without touching the water.)

5) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.

6) Remove promptly from heat and add butter one piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt completely before adding the next.

7) Remove to a clean container and cover by placing a layer of plastic wrap directly to the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

And the BikeMS Cake Raffle Winners Are....

The long awaited day has come! I can't tell you how happy we are that so many have supported us for this bike ride. This raffle was so successful and we had so much fun fundraising, that we've decided to make this an annual gig. So for those of you that wanted to win a cake, and didn't (I know, I wish we could give everyone a cake) there is always next year!

I'd like to admit that I was nervous doing this video (and when you watch it you'll see why). I wanted to make sure that I didn't mess up or have a booger on my nose or anything embarrassing like that. I think I'm quite a ham. When we watched it right after we finished recording, Husband chuckled at me and said I was a cheeseball, but still cute. How endearing.

Thanks to everyone below for donating:

K. Beckford
M. Beriswill
A. Cabibi
S. Coffel
B. Dieterich
K. Eckert
E. Eison
S. Engel
T. Forrester
E. Frieri
M. Fuller
L. Fuller
A. Funk
W. Funk
C. Gore
L. Harford
M. Hauser
G. Henderson
M. Henderson
L. Hill
J. Hinsley
H. Hoffman
M. Holasek
E. Hoover
M. Jones
S. King
M. Kirkover
R. Kucharsky
S. Kumar
V. Lancy
C. Maynard
D. McGowan
E. Mieswinkel
R. Minnear
M. Nix
D. Perkins
J. Pickett
L. Prince
G. Owen
B. Rusk
F. Samples
J. Santino
J. Sellers
L. Shutt
P. Spivy
K. Stogsdill
J. Staral
E. Taylor
R. Tomas
S. Vaclav
J. Waters
E. Wider
B. Wesp

We couldn't have done it without your help! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Oh - and don't worry, we do plan to take pictures before, during, and after the ride. What I'm anticipating is that we'll look happy and stoked at the beginning and then tired and beat toward the end. There might even be a picture of me passed out on the ground still clipped into my bike.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Adventures in San Francisco

I know you recognize that national landmark. No, we did not buy that picture. And yes, Husband took it - with our digital camera. If only pictures of food could turn out as well....

I'm sure you have been wondering where I've been and how come I haven't posted anything about cakes. For a while there I was doing about two or three cakes a week. Which was AWESOME. However, making that many cakes, working 9 hours a day, and trying to fit MS bike ride trainings was getting a bit stressful. So Husband whisked me off to San Francisco - and how happy I am that he did.

I fell in the love with the place. I decided that if it wasn't cold and windy - I could live there. But I hear that if you want San Francisco, then you have to accept the cold and wind, so I suppose I won't be living there any time soon.

We went on an adventurous bike ride from about Pier 39-ish, over to the Golden Bridge (didn't cross...yet), down along the bay to Golden Gate Park, through Golden Gate Park, up a STEEP hill, took a short cut back to the Golden Gate Bridge, rode across said bridge, and down the hill into Sausalito because that's the kind of crazy thing us kids like to do with our time on vacation. We estimated it was a 30 mile bike ride. My legs were twitching when I got off the bike in Sausalito (we went to have a late, light lunch) and I declared that I could not pedal that 60 pound (or at least that's how heavy it felt) bike up another hill. So we took the Ferry back to San Francisco. I will say this with much shame: San Francisco got the best of me.

And yes, we did all the stuff that tourist's LOVE to do: Ghirardelli Square, Lombard St (which was pretty, but I think a little overrated), the seals at Pier 39 (I want one!), Alcatraz, saw the redwood trees (breaktaking), Trolley Car rides, China Town, and of course took a ba-gillion pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. I also ate this cupcake:

Yum. I ate all kinds of stuff. By the fourth day I wasn't hungry anymore, but I was still eating because I didn't know when I would be in San Francisco to eat again! But you can rejoice! Because I'm back, and it looks like there will be plenty of cakes coming (very) soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Older Than Dirt Cake

How fun! A cake that insults you on your birthday?!? Who wouldn't want one? Oh, you wouldn't? Well, I suppose that's because you don't have a playful sense of humor. Your loss....

I had a lot of fun making this cake. I might even venture to say I've never had more fun making a cake. And despite the few little upsets baking the cakes (more on that later), the cake weighted a billion pounds (give or take a few) and filled many bellies.

Three days before delivery: Baked two of the cakes. The recipe I used yielded a lot of batter. I was WAY surprised with how much I had left over and even happier when I realized that I was going to have to bake three layers instead of the typical two because these cakes didn't rise as much as I thought they would while baking. The next time I use this recipe, I will be filling the pan three quarters of the way full (I typically fill halfway).

Day Before Delivery: Since I had family over the weekend before delivering this, that's why I baked the cakes so far ahead of schedule. But don't worry, it wasn't a dry cake.

1) Made cream cheese icing, leveled cakes (I only had to cut the edges down), filled, crumb coated, set in the fridge, then applied the final layer of icing. After that I used a Wilton star tip (#18 to be exact) and piped a shell border on top and bottom of the cake.

2) Made some dirt. That was fun. Used some oreo cookies and my make-shift "food processor" and grinded them away. I made WAY more dirt than what I needed. I guess I got a little too excited.

3) Made a dirt bag. See the pictures below. I took a small piece of fondant and colored it brown. Then rolled it very thin (about 1/16 of an inch), and cut myself a rectangle. I wanted the "dirt bag" to have some movement to it, so I crumpled up some paper towels and laid the piece of fondant down to let it dry a bit.

4) Piped (part of) the message. However, if you notice I was a little careless. If you didn't notice, then you shouldn't try.

5) Finished the decorations. I did put some of the "dirt" under the dirt bag to give it some support to hold it's shape. But other than that, the rest was easy. I dumped a couple piles of dirt on the cake, commanded the bugs and snakes to get crawling, and then threw some dirt at the cake to make it look even more dirty. Making a cake...and then ruining it? Who wouldn't have fun doing that?

Chocolate Butter Cake
adapted from Sky High Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

This recipe will yield a 6-inch cake, but it would definitely be enough for an 8-inch cake or quite possibly one layer of a 1/4 sheet cake. For this cake, I used one recipe each of the 6-inch and 8-inch adaptations.

2 cups cake flour*
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch process
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk**
2 eggs
1 cup water

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 6-inch square cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper. (I used Pam instead of a stick of butter.)

2) In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

3) Whisk the eggs and water together, and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only until blended after each addition. (Baker's note: REALLY scrape down the sides of the bowl. When I made the first batch of batter, I thought I was too good to have to scrape down the sides of the bowl. I was so wrong.) Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans; each 6-inch pan will take just slightly more than 2 cups.

4) Bake the layers for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes. Carefully turn them out onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. Remove the paper liners only when they are cool.

*Cake flour substitution: In a one cup dry measure, put in two tablespoons of corn starch, then fill the rest of the cup with all-purpose flour.

**I didn't have buttermilk, so I tried out this substitution. I don't think I'll ever buy buttermilk again. For each cup of buttermilk called for in a recipe, place 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a wet measure then fill with milk to the 1 cup line. Let sit for 5 minutes then use.

Monday, April 13, 2009

German Chocolate Cake

The two most often favorite cakes I hear about are German Chocolate Cakes, and Red Velvet Cakes. I don't often hear people say, "Oh, I love a good French Vanilla Chiffon Cake soaked with a raspberry syrup with mango curd and coconut cream cheese icing." First of all, I don't know even know if that would taste good. And second of all, everyday home bakers don't bake like that. So when it comes to favorite cakes, they tend to be something that can easily be made with a box cake and a can of icing. Just follow the directions and voila! A fancy, favorite cake.

I don't want you to believe that I am complaining because I love German Chocolate Cake. It's nice and light with a moist crumb. The icing is not too sweet and the coconut and pecans add a wonderful texture. It's really just a delicious invention. But it's still not my favorite.

However, once again, I'm not making a cake for myself, this is for my brother-in-law who's favorite cake is German Chocolate. And who also brought his family for a short, last minute trip to visit us this past weekend. We decided that Saturday would be a family day of fun and the night would be a wild party in honor of his upcoming birthday.

Family day of Fun: Included a picnic at the park and then a stroll through the Harry P. Leu Gardens. I've lived in Orlando practically my whole life and the only time I've been to the Leu Gardens was when I was a little girl. And I don't remember a thing about it, so I'm glad I went.

It was the perfect day for walking around and looking at flowers. It was overcast, but not rainy. Cool, but still warm. Breezy, but not too much. The Gardens even featured an old house which we took a tour of. It was awesome. However, I love that which is old, so my opinion is biased.

Wild Party at Night: The hardest Easter Egg Hunt. Ever. (okay, not really) Dying Easter Eggs. Then, cake and ice cream. To answer your question, yes - there were some serious sugar highs in my house.

But I digress, isn't this blog supposed to be about cakes? And isn't this post supposed to be about German Chocolate Cake? And more importantly - Isn't this the part where you tell us how to make one? Yes, Virginia. It is possible to make a delicious German Chocolate Cake at home in your own kitchen. Chances are you've done it (with a box mix and a can of icing). Well, I say keep the box mix but nix the can of icing. Behold, I give you German Chocolate Cake icing....from scratch (you'll never go back to the canned stuff).

German Chocolate Cake Icing
recipe from my mother

Note: I used 7-inch cake pans because I wanted nice thick cake layers (otherwise I would've used 8- or 9-inch pans). I baked the cake 2 days in advance, wrapped, and stored in the fridge until I had to time to ice it.

1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
1 heaping cup brown sugar (packed really well)
3 egg yolks (save the whites!)
1/2 cups (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (feel free to add a bit more if you like. I did.)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut, toasted

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chopped pecans and coconut together on a cookie sheet. When oven is preheated, toast and watch carefully. My advice is to make sure this step is completely finished before moving forward. Pecans can burn pretty easily (so check this every 5 minutes). Toasting took me about 15 minutes with two stirrings.

2) In a large saucepan, combine milk, sugar, egg yolks, and butter. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until thick. This will take 20-25 minutes. (Toward the end, I got impatient and turned the heat up to medium and just kept whisking to keep anything from burning on the sides).

3) Remove from heat. Stir in pecans and coconut.

4) Cool to room temperature, then move to fridge for the icing to set up before icing the cake. This is a runny icing coming right off of the stove, it spreads fairly easily coming right out of the fridge, so I would say there's no reason to let it come to room temperature.

Word of warning: This makes JUST ENOUGH to fill and ice an 8-inch cake. I watched my mother do it once and doubted if she had enough. So just ration out accordingly when icing your cake.