Last week was my anniversary. You might wonder why I choose this cake for an anniversary. It is pink after all. But, I've been wanting to make an ombre cake for awhile and I knew my daughters would have fun with pink. And lets face it, my husband has two girls. He lives in a pink world!
This cake recipe came from a blog called ambrosiabaking.com. This is the first time I've made it and I'll be making it again. It was delicious with a nice vanilla taste and perfect sweetness. Easily the best vanilla cake recipe I've ever made.
I loved how the layers came out. The progression of the pink was fairly easy to do and looked great.
For the frosting I decided against a standard vanilla buttercream. Instead I choose to go with one of my favorite frostings, a white chocolate buttercream. The recipe came from Southern Living. I've made it several times to frost a variety of cake types. For my daughters birthday I paired it with strawberry and the combination was delicious.
Cake recipe2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg at room temperature
1 1/2 cup ice water
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven. Next prepare 3 round cake pans. There are going to be 5 layers so they will be baked in two batches. I use shortening to grease the pans. I also line them with parchment paper to make sure the cake comes out cleanly. The paper also needs to be greased. Then flour the pan, taping out any excess flour. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on, cream together the butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on medium until fluffy. I usually let this go for 2-3 minutes. When I first started baking I didn't cream the butter and sugar enough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Add the egg and beat until just combined. With the mixer on low add the flour, alternating with the ice water, in three additions. Begin and end with the flour. Mix until just incorporated.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites and cream of tarter until soft peaks form. This means that when you hold the whisk upside down peaks are starting to form but after a second they fold back onto themselves. You can also use a hand mixer to make this step easier - I did. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter. An easy way to do this is to take a rubber spatula and cut down the center of the mixture folding half over while holding the bowl in your arms. Repeat this gently until it is incorporated.
6. Divide the batter evenly into 5 bowls. The women I got the recipe from measured hers on a scale. I decided mine didn't need to be exact so I measured it out with measuring cups. They all ended up looking even. Using food coloring tint the bowls pinks gradually getting darker and leaving one white. I used Wilton Rose food color which is a gel. It would've been easier to use a liquid that you could count out drops. Bowl 2 gets 1 drop, bowl 3 gets 2 drops, etc. I just eyeballed the amount of gel that went in.
7. Pour 3 of the colors into the prepared pans. Place in the oven and cook 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Mine were actually ready in 18 minutes. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then invert cakes onto the rack and cool completely. Once the cakes have been inverted wash the pans and prepare two of them for the remaining two layers. Prepare pans and cook the last 2 layers the same as the first 3.
White Chocolate ButtercreamWhile the cake is cooling begin making the buttercream.
1 - 4oz white chocolate baking bar, broken into small pieces.
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup butter, softened
1 - 2lb - package of powered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (you can use table salt. However, table salt is stronger in taste. Use about half the amount)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Microwave chocolate and 1/3 up heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl at medium (50%) power for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30 second intervals. Be careful not to overheat it, once you do you can't go back. Let cool to room temperature. This takes about 30 minutes.
2. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add powered sugar and 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Beat in salt and melted chocolate until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla.
Assembling the cakeIf any of your layers are uneven you can use a serrated knife to trim them to level. Mine all came out close enough to even that I just left them as they were. Place the darkest pink layer (cut side down if you cut it) onto the plate. I prefer to put a little buttercream on the plate in the center to hold the layer in place. Spread buttercream on top of the layer. Add the second darkest pink layer on top of the buttercream cut side down. Evenly spread a layer of buttercream on top. Repeat with the remaining layers.
Some people use crumb coats to make the cake perfectly frosted without crumbs in the frosting. It really isn't necessary. If you want to skip the crumb coat, the cake will still turn out fine.
Crumb coat - Place a very thin layer of frosting all around the cake to hold in the crumbs. This frosting should be slightly thinned with water so it won't tear the cake. Put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow the coat to firm up.
Frost the top and sides with the buttercream. One thing I like do is a trick I picked up from my mother in law. When the cake is frosted wet the cake a little and go over it. It creates a nice, smooth finish. My cake also has lots of dots of frosting at the base and edge - that was my daughter Maya's call. If it was up to her the cake would've been covered. The more frosting the better!