Hi, there! Today I’m going to share with you my method for creating an eye-catching, realistic fire hose cake with buttercream! I topped this tier with my firefighter’s helmet cake, so you can do the same, or leave it to stand alone! Either way, it’s a showstopper!
I made this fun edible creation for a friend’s grad party a few months ago. He passed his firefighter’s course and exam, and thus was born the theme for this party! I also decorated over 100 (!!) cupcakes as “fire” and “water” to make the cake come alive.
In this post, we’ll focus specifically on the fire hose cake portion, but you can check out my firefighter’s helmet tutorial here. And, to learn how I made these cupcakes be sure to sign up for my email list. I’ll be launching a complete cupcake course in a few weeks, and only my email subscribers will have access to it. Plus, it’s totally free of charge!
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Fire Hose Cake Tutorial
To start, peruse the list of needed tools to make sure you have all of the components necessary to create this cake! Then, check out my photos and step-by-step instructions. Finally, I’ve included some helpful storage and recipe tips at the bottom, so be sure to read through the full post!
Materials & Ingredients
I’ve included links (some are affiliate) to the tools you’ll need for easy shopping and reference:
- Stacked, layered, crumb-coated cake in any size on a cake board (for an in-depth tutorial how to do this, check out the written steps and video here)
- Leftover cake scraps, crumbs, or two cupcakes
- At-least one batch of white or off-white buttercream
- Food-coloring gels (tan or nude, blue, and black)
- Piping bag with an open circle tip (choose a larger size tip for a larger cake)
- Flexible, plastic bench-scraper, like the one that comes in the piping bag link above
- Offset spatulas (small and large)
- Food-grade clear alcohol (like vodka or white rum)
- Food-safe paint brushes
- Styrofoam or plastic cup
- Plastic wrap
- Larger display cake board, cake drum, or cake stand
- Optional: small amount of gray fondant
- Silver or steel-colored luster dust
Fire Hose Cake Decorating Instructions
Time to decorate! For easy reference, each step number below corresponds to a block of this image.
Step One: Pipe A Swirl On Top & Smooth The Edges
Color the majority of your buttercream a light tan shade. Create a ring of buttercream with your offset spatula covering the top third of the sides of the cake.
Then, insert an open, round tip into a piping bag and fill it with more buttercream. Starting from the center and moving steadily outwards, pipe a spiral of buttercream on top, letting the last “ring” hang over the edge of the buttercream you smoothed on already. This method is easiest with a turntable: apply gentle, yet constant pressure to the bag with one hand, while slowly rotating the turntable with the other.
Finally, use a plastic cake scraper very gently to smooth out the first layer of buttercream. You want to leave most of the buttercream on the cake, rather than scraping it down, similar to when making a fault-line cake. Gently bend your cake scraper to create curved edges, instead of the sharp edges we usually aim for on cakes. After all, this buttercream will represent one of the “loops” of the “hose,” which doesn’t have perfectly smooth edges in real life.
Step Two: Add & Smooth Your Second “Ring” of “Hose”
With either your piping bag or a spatula, cover the middle “third” of your cake with a nice, thick layer of buttercream. Be sure to overlap the first layer. This starts to build the illusion of a wrapped hose. Smooth it out again, gently, with your cake scraper. Then, as we did in the first step, carefully round out the edge of the top of this ring. (The bottom will be covered, so you can leave that as is.)
Step Three: Add & Smooth Your Third “Ring” of “Hose”
Follow the same steps above to create one more ring of buttercream around the base of your cake. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes, or until the buttercream is hard to the touch. (I used American buttercream, so it crusts nicely. This method is still doable with a soft buttercream, like Swiss Meringue, you’ll just have to be more gentle.)
Step Four: Paint “Dust, Dirt, and Scuffs”
Add a few drops of clear alcohol into a drop or two of your brown/nude food coloring gel and mix to create a paint. Then, make a small mark near the bottom of your cake to test the color. Diluting the gel with more liquid will lighten the color, whereas using the gel with no liquid will result in the darkest shade possible.
When you are happy with your color, gently paint inside of the rings on top and along the edges of the “hose.” I added a darker shade in the crevices to create depth, and then lighter “scuff” marks along the sides for a bit of realistic wear and tear. I used a dry brush to muddle and buff out the edges of the painted areas to make them look more like dirt.
Step Five: Make Cake-Ball Mixture and Mold
Mix your cake scraps and a few heaping tablespoons of extra buttercream in a bowl to create a cake-ball-like mixture. Press it into a styrofoam or plastic cup. Alternatively, you can line a plastic reusable cup (not glass) with plastic wrap, first, and then press the cake mixture into it.
Then, place this cup into the freezer for 20-40 minutes, depending on the size, until it is solid to the touch. This will form the base for your hose “nozzle.”
Steps Six & Seven: Remove The “Nozzle” From The Cup
If you used a disposable cup, tear it apart (use scissors if necessary.) If you made your nozzle form in a reusable cup, pull the edges of the plastic wrap until the piece comes out.
Next, use your hands to gently press the smaller end of the mixture into more of a cornucopia shape. At the very end, you want the piece as narrow and thin as possible. This way, it will blend seamlessly into the cake.
Step Eight: Frost With Buttercream
At this point, transfer the hose cake to your final display board, drum, or stand (if not already there.) Set it aside.
Next, add a layer of buttercream in the same color of your “hose” to the bottom two-thirds of the “nozzle.” Then, place your “nozzle” on the board as well, pressing the thin edge against your cake. This will form the front of your cake, so choose carefully where you place it.
Step Nine: Finishg Touches
Add some more buttercream to the connecting point of the “hose” and the “nozzle,” if necessary. You can use the buttercream to build the area up and out slightly, adding to the final illusion. The offset spatulas work well to smooth it out, though it doesn’t have to be perfect. Chill your cake again in order to add “scuff marks” and “dust” to this new area as you did in step four.
Finally, either use buttercream or fondant to create a band around the edge of the “nozzle.” If buttercream, pipe it with a circular tip to create the ridged texture. If using fondant, simply roll out some tubes and wrap them around the visible portion. With a small offset spatula, add some blue buttercream to the center of the “nozzle” to represent water!
Top it off with another layer of cake, or leave it as is! You can reference my instructions in this post for help adding the “helmet” on top of the “hose.”
Storage & Recipe Tips
Buttercream cakes are shelf-stable (at room temperature) for three days. After that, place leftovers in the refrigerator.
Keep in mind, too, that fondant cannot be stored in the refrigerator. So, if you choose to use any fondant on this cake (or other tiers) you will need to use a shelf-stable cake (no red velvet, for instance.)
Enjoy Your Fire Hose Cake Creation!
And, voila! With that, your fire hose cake is complete! This piece is a definite show-stopper, whether paired with other creations or standing on its own.
Don’t forget to check out my firefighter’s helmet tutorial, here! If you liked this cake, or have any questions, please leave me a comment below! Plus, you can connect with me on Instagram to continue the baking fun!
One last note: if you liked this post, be sure to join my email list to receive a quick notification the next time I publish one like it! Plus, only email subscribers will have access to my free cupcake course when it launches in a few weeks! You don’t want to miss it!
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