Food and Food: Home Cookin'15 Jan 2014 11:22 am

sprinkle pink ombre cake

It’s been oh-so-long since I posted about food matters on here, so I made sure this one was worth your while. Two of my best friends, D+J, are magical friends who happen to share a birthday. Well, almost. They are a day apart, but it works out so well because we have an excuse to celebrate their birthday in big style every year. For us, this means feasting. A lot of feasting.

I don’t really consider cakes within my repertoire of baked goods. Cookies? Absolutely. Pies – for sure, and getting better all the time. Cupcakes, yup. But cakes – nope. Probably because baking a cake for two people is just an invitation to early onset diabetes. And I don’t love cake THAT much, probably because I’ve had one too many slices of Costco slab cake at work parties. Hell, even at my wedding, we did a dessert table of small Whole Foods cakes because fondant gives me the shivers and even thick buttercream kind of disgusts me.

But, I’m always interested in learning something new, and last year I made a cake for D+J’s birthday that, to be honest, left a little to be desired. It was a riff on the 11 layer Smith Island torte, and I ended up doing 8 layers because it just got too crazy after 6 and 8 was pushing it.

I did not think to level it, and my ganache frosting was thick in some areas, thin in others. In transport from Canmore to Calgary (in a milk crate because I’m an adult, god dammit) it kind of began to tilt. Oops. Still delicious though. And obviously, lots of room for improvement, which is great.

My cake carrier is in Edmonton so this is how the cake traveled to Calgary from home. Almost there!

Last year’s cake carrier set-up

I have always been obsessed with all things ombré and love the look of heavy applications of sprinkles, so this year I decided to make a basic vanilla cake with buttercream. I did this all without a KitchenAid or even a hand mixer (stupid, stupid) and without a cake leveller, but everything worked out well.

I think the cake was a bit too buttery and sticky as I prefer crumbier cakes, so I might change up the cake base recipe. Also futzing with the red food dye was the worst and I am going to be investing in gel if I ever do this again as I looked like I had an election red-inked finger.

I worked with two different batches of batter, the first one doing the yellow and lightest pink, adding the food colouring a drop at a time. Three for the lightest pink, and 12 for the darkest. It was easy to get the color gradient, although I likely would go darker with the red base layer next time, even if I need to add cocoa to get it to go dark dark red. The two bottom pinks kind of shade together, I think.

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Levelling the cake layers was serious business, obviously.

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Even without a mixer for the buttercream, it really was a dream to work with. The butter added richness and the shortening kept it light and also very white in color. 2 entire pounds of icing sugar, but never you mind that. Birthdays are meant to be icing sugar heavy, right?

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7 minutes plus another 7 whipping it by hand at each stage. Those calories burnt during manual whipping and creaming just allow you to sample as much icing as you like though. Right?

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And also thanks to YouTube I now know how to level a cake, dam, fill and crumbcoat it before icing, then douse it in sprinkles. Although it turns out rolling probably is the better way than the press and pack method I did.

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Sprinkle Cake - Crazy White Girl with a Kitchen

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I upgraded this year! No more milk crate, instead, a bankers box to transport the cake to Calgary!

Sprinkle Cake - Crazy White Girl with a Kitchen

The moment of truth! I was way too excited to see the inside, as there was no way to judge how it looked until that moment. As you can see, the two bottom layers kind of look the same.

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It is no doubt I will be finding sprinkles all over my kitchen until 2015, but it was worth it and the cake both looked pretty and tasted okay, too. Happy birthday, D+J!

Recipe Links:

One Response to “Birthday Cake: The Sprinkling”

  1. on 15 Jan 2014 at 2:31 pm Chris

    Slow clap! Amazing work. Looks delicious.