a pink birthday cake

here’s the the pink cake i made for R’s birthday still on its work mat.  it did make it to its final destination in one piece!  then again, husband only had to carry it for a few blocks northwest, and it was nicely sheltered in a cardboard box. we were stopped a few times while walking there by curious bystanders.  everyone likes to look at cake, i guess.

i forgot to take a picture of a cake vivisection.  underneath the pink fondant wrapping, i had baked a matcha cake with a lychee cream filling dotted with raspberries and frosted with matcha italian meringue buttercream.  i think the lychee cream and raspberry filling was everyone’s favorite at the party.

i took the opportunity to experiment a bit with the cake.  i actually made the matcha cake using two different cake bases:  i based one matcha cake off of rose levy berenbaum’s golden dream wedding cake recipe (from rose’s heavenly cakes) and the other off of dorie greenspan’s perfect party cake recipe (from her book baking from my home to yours). i adapted each cake to a matcha taste by leaving out the lemon flavoring where called for and substituting for a very generous tablespoon of matcha powder.  in comparing the two cakes, i felt that dorie’s perfect party cake served as a better canvas for the matcha flavoring.  it also had a much tighter crumb structure, which made it easier (for my butterfingers, at least) to work with than rose’s version.  rose’s golden dream wedding cake incorporates almond flour in addition to regular flour, resulting in a richer and nuttier cake.

Pink Birthday Cake
(for a two tier cake consisting of a nine-inch bottom and a six-inch top)

  • 1.5 x recipe fondant.  Colour 1 recipe fondant with the scantest amount of red food colouring to turn it pink.  Leave aside a 1/2 recipe of the fondant white to make the flowers.  The flowers should be made at least 2 days in advance so that they have time to thoroughly dry.  To make the flowers, roll the fondant out until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  Stamp out the flowers using a cookie cutter and then dry at room temperature in half tubes so that they have some texture.
  • 3 x recipe dorie’s perfect party cake baked in 2 nine-inch rounds and 2 six-inch rounds.  Leave out the lemon flavorings and add in 1 generous tbsp of matcha powder
  • 1 x recipe italian meringue butter cream. Leave out chocolate from recipe entirely and add in 2 tbsp of matcha powder at the very end of the process.
  • 1 x recipe lychee cream. Leave out jackfruit and lemon zest.  Use juice from 1/2 lemon only.  Take 2 cans of lychees, drain them, and grind in a food processor until it becomes puree.  Add lychee puree into step 2 of recipe.
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • Simple syrup.  Boil 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of water until well-dissolved.

To assemble:

  1. Level all cakes with a serrated knife to make sure you have a flat surface. (I made a 2 layer cake but you can also cut the cakes in half to make additional layers.)
  2. Dab a bit of buttercream on a nine-inch cardboard round.  Place the first layer of cake on top of the cardboard.  The buttercream will help preventing the cake from sliding around.
  3. Brush simple syrup on top of the cake.
  4. Pipe a ring of matcha buttercream around the edge of the cake.
  5. Spoon in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of lychee cream within the buttercream ring, using an offset spatula to make sure it is evenly spread. Scatter raspberries on top of the lychee cream.
  6. Brush simple syrup on the interior end of the second piece of cake and place on top lychee cream.  (The end with the simple syrup should be touching the lychee cream.
  7. Frost (crumb coat) with buttercream, ensuring a clean smooth finish.  After you’re done frosting the cakes, put them back into the refrigerator to let the buttercream set.
  8. When the buttercream has set, the cakes can be covered with fondant and then decorated to your heart’s delight.  I covered mine with white fondant flowers, which I affixed to the cake using cookie icing.
  9. To tier the cakes, I used Rose’s method of pushing plastic straws into the bottom layer of the cake for structure. Wooden dowels work as well, especially for larger, heavier cakes.

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