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Monday, February 10, 2014

Pink Ombré Almond Cake with Petal Frosted Buttercream

If you're hosting a party or a small dinner for you and your loved one this Valentine's Day add a decadent kick of sweetness with this intricately frosted ombré almond cake.

If you're going to try an ombré cake you'll want to bake three layers (for the color range), which means a very tall cake. I decided to go with a very small cake pan so my cake would be narrow and tall. The pan I used is about 6" around.

Cake Recipe - 

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup) at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoons unsalted butter

Directions - 

• Pour milk, egg whites and extracts in a 2 cup glass measure, mix with a fork until blended.
• Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
• Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
• Pour batter into first cake pan. Add two drops of red food coloring into remaining batter and mix until it becomes a pale pink color. Poor into the second cake pan. With the remaining batter add two more drops of red food coloring and mix well. The color will be a darker shade of pink. Poor the remaining batter into your last cake pan and bake for about 20 minutes at 350º.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe -

2 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
Pinch of salt
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream (depending on how thick you want the frosting, if you are going to go for the petal design you want it to be quite thick to hold)

Directions - 

• Beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, almond extract, 2 tablespoons of cream, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed until sugar is moistened. Add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to achieve a consistency that is stiff enough to hold it’s shape but soft enough to pipe on to the cake.  
• Increase speed to medium-high (high if using handheld mixer); beat, stopping twice to scrape down bowl, until creamy and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Avoid overbeating, or frosting will be too soft to pipe.  If that happens, refrigerate frosting for 20 minutes before using.  If it is still too soft mix in more powdered sugar adding about 1/2 cup at a time until you reach the right consistency.

Once the cakes have cooled, scrape a thin layer of frosting on each with a thin spatula. Stack them and cover any open spots with the same thin layer of frosting. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes. This layer is called the 'crumb coat' because it keeps the crumbs from getting in your way when you are piping the design. 

While the crumb coat is cooling, prepare a frosting bag and a size 12 round tip. Begin making large dots of frosting in the above pictured pattern. After each row is placed, use a thin spatula to create the petal shape by dragging the dot toward the right. Repeat until your petals are complete.

On the top corner of the cake I placed offset petals after finishing the sides.

And there you have it, an intricately frosted (yet fairly simple to make) ombre valentine's cake.

Photo Credit: images of sliced cake by Alexis Sargent

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