Alright, so I am a little late to the party, but... actually I do not have an excuse for delaying the post of this fabulous, pastel, Easter-wonderland of a cake. Or at least not a legitimate excuse. Binge watching Quantico? Laziness? Trying desperately to find a full-time job because I am tired of sitting on the couch eating cake five days a week? Thank baby Jesus I have a gym membership again or else this slow season would make me gain an extra twenty pounds. I mean, how can you say no to a bite of this rainbow deliciousness???
Or like five bites.
WHATEVER I AM A GROWN UP AND I LOVE EATING COLORS.
This Easter I celebrated by going to church with my brother and having a couple of friends join us for a late Easter lunch. While the food was delicious, some of us couldn't wait to dive in this colorful creation. Roasted chicken and veggies are great but dessert will always hold a tender spot in my heart... or on my hips. (#worthit) Somehow the Easter basket my mom left behind for us just wasn't enough on it's own... I had to put it on top of a sugary-confection. Ain't no shame in the unicorn cake game!
Vanilla cake can be delicious on it's own, but frankly, I find vanilla a little... well, vanilla. I decided to jazz up my super white cake recipe with some pink, blue, and purple pizzaz. Without the food coloring you would have a simple, moist sheet cake but why stop there? I wanted this to capture the essence of an Easter basket. My favorite shade of the batter was the violet so I was inspired by my extract collection to go with lavender: little sophistication to this otherwise kitschy cake. I knew I wanted the top to be a grassy-green; the perfect shade for an Easter egg hunt and matcha just happened to be in my cabinet. What can I say? Sometimes inspiration is just one, tasty, cabinet door away!
So while I may be a little late to the Easter festivities, I encourage you to try out this recipe for a kids birthday in the meantime. Just replace the peeps with some other wildly colorful candy and you'll be a winner. Or make it for yourself. Who says only kids like color and candy?! My birthday is coming up and this just might be on the menu.
Vanilla Pastel Swirl Cake
- 3 1/2 cups cake flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups milk, at room temp
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 7 large egg whites
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Americolor Gel Paste: rose
- Americolor Gel Paste: violet
- Americolor Gel Paste: sky blue
Preheat oven to 350°F and butter and flour a half-sheet baking pan. Line with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift your flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Put the mixer on a low speed and add in the cold, cubed butter gradually. Beat until the butter is fully incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly and pebbly.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together 1 cup of milk and lemon juice. In another small bowl, whisk together the remaining milk and egg whites.
Increase the mixture speed and slowly add the lemon juice-milk and beat for five minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on at a low speed and gradually add the egg white mixture and mix for two minutes. Add in vanilla and scrape the sides again making sure everything is incorporated. Divide batter into four parts, coloring each quarter of batter with your respective blue, purple, pink and leaving one white. Vary different color spots into your baking sheet and use a small spatula to swirl colors together. Bake for twenty to twenty five minutes or until a fork comes out clean. Let cool for an hour and then refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, until ready to assemble.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Lavender and Matcha)
- 7 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 tsp lavender extract
- 2 drops Americolor Gel Paste: violet
- 2 tbsp Trader Joe's Matcha Green Tea Latte mix
- 3 drops Americolor Gel Paste: leaf green
- Assorted colorful sprinkles for in between layers
- Vanilla Delight Peeps and Whopper Robin Eggs for topping
Now, I could easily list out all the instructions for how to make buttercream yourself but the genius at Sweetapolita covered all the bases for me. Check out her step-by-step guide to learn the wonders behind this most magical frosting.
Clean the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar. This removes grease which makes meringue not rise properly. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling---double boiler technique), whisking gently. When the temperature reaches 160°F or when the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot, remove from heat and place bowl back on the mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
Whip until the meringue is super thick and shiny and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch. It took my meringue about ten minutes.
Switch the mixer to the paddle attachment on a low speed, add the butter in chunks until incorporated. Mix the frosting until it has reached a silky smooth texture. Don't worry if it curdles! It will eventually become creamy and thick again. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined. Extract one third of the frosting for your matcha layer and set aside. Beat in lavender extract and violet coloring until you reach the color you desire.
In a separate bowl combine the other third of frosting with your matcha mix and green coloring to create your topping.
For those of you that follow my blog, you know that this "momofuku milk bar" style, naked cake is my favorite to assemble. It requires a little effort, but this cake could easily be frosted in extra swiss meringue buttercream, just double the recipe and assemble like a three layer cake.
Otherwise, follow the step by step guide in the Raspberry Rose Reverie outline.