I am a firm believer that you can have cake at any time, at any place, and at any occasion. The flavor of the cake and frosting may need to be tweaked for the event (a celebration cake with confetti and balloons may not be appropriate for a funeral), but cake is always welcome. This includes just because cake, which is cake that is made just because a recipe looked good or better yet, you just want some cake.
The problem with just because cake is that you have a whole cake. Usually after one or two slices, just because cake has hit the spot, but there is still an entire cake left to go. A friend emailed me this cake months ago. I was thinking awesome cake and wanted to make it that weekend. My friend told me that she did not want a whole cake at her house and to wait for a special occasion, basically ensuring the cake would be shared and not consumed by one person.
That same friend just finished her chemotherapy treatment and decided to have a celebration to mark the end of the most difficult part of her cancer treatment/recovery to health. When my friend announced this celebration, I instantly thought of this cake. This would be the perfect time to unveil a cake my friend had been wanting for a while.
The original cake was gradient shades of purple. I know my friend loves purple, but I thought pink was more fitting for breast cancer. The cake was flavored simple enough, vanilla cake layers with a little bit of lemon curd smeared between the layers to hold the cake together. The cake was cover in a Swiss Meringue Buttercream and topped with SPRINKLES. Sprinkles always make everything better.
The cake went over well and came out amazing. Moreover, my friend forgot that she loved this cake and I promised to make it at some point. She was pleasantly surprised when she cute the cake, pulled out the first piece and saw all the shades of pink. That is what this cake is—a show stopper. It will surprise and amaze, and is even better when made not just because, but made for and shared with an amazing person who inspires and amazes, just like my friend.
Pink Ombre Cake
Adapted from raspberri cupcakes
*Notes: The original recipe divides the cake into five layers, I did six. I also increased the original recipe by half (as provided below) to create six nice height layers with an eight inch diameter pan. Lastly, it was easiest to multiple this recipe using the weight measurements, so those are provided below.
535.5g All-purpose Flour
1 ½ TBS Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
337.5ml Milk (~ 1 ½ cups), room temperature
4 tsp Vanilla Extract
600g Caster (Extra Fine) Sugar
337.5g Butter (3 sticks), room temperature
5 Large Eggs, room temperature
Lemon Curd, homemade or store bought is fine
Swiss Meringue Buttercream—ratio 5 oz. egg whites; 10 oz. granulated sugar; and 15 oz. butter (nearly 4 sticks) (instructions, kinda sorta but not really)
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare appropriate number of 8-inch circle pans. Cut out a parchment circle for the bottom, and flour/shortening the sides. I used three pans, cleaned them out, and used them again to bake six layers.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside. Mix together milk and vanilla in a measuring cup, and set aside as well.
4. Weigh bowl in which you will do your mixing and write down this number. Beat together butter and sugar until well blended, creamy, and pale. Beat in eggs one at a time.
5. Alternate adding flour and milk mixtures in 2-3 parts, beginning and ending with flour.
6. Weigh full bowl. Subtract the empty bowl weight from the new bowl weight. Take the resulting number and divide by six. This new number is the amount of batter to be placed in each of six bowls.
7. Divide batter evenly into six containers (or five if you keep the white in the bowl you are already using) using a scale to weigh each container to ensure it is even.
8. To create the gradient colors, keep one bowl white. Then using gel food colors (I used Ameri-gel), add 1 drop to bowl 2, 2 drops to bowl 3, 3 drops to bowl 4, 5 drops to bowl 5, and 7 drops to bowl 6. Gently mix until there are no more streaks of color. Be careful not to over mix.
9. Pour the batter in to the pans and bake for about 20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
10. Let cake cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. To get flat, even layers without trimming cake, try this method: Flip cake onto parchment paper and cooling rack. Cover cake with another piece of parchment. Place cookie sheet on top of cake with a bag or two of powdered sugar on top to apply gentle pressure and flatten the cake. Leave the cake this way for 20 minutes. Remove cookie sheet, weight (bag of powdered sugar) and top piece of parchment and allow cake to cool completely.
11. Once cakes are completely cool, layer from darkest to lightest, separating the layers with a thin smear of lemon curd.