By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Vanilla cake tinted and decorated in varying shades of pink and red as inspired by the ruffle on a certain Valentine’s Day dress.
top and above photo by Teresa Earnest Photography
PS I LOVE YOU CAKE
serves 24 (makes one 4 layer cake)
5 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups vanilla sugar* (can substitute regular sugar)
1 1/2 cups milk
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature, plus 4 tablespoons for the pans
10 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pink and red gel food coloring
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter four 8-inch round baking pans. Line the bottom of each buttered pan with a parchment round and butter the top of the paper round. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla sugar and mix just until combined. Add the milk, butter and vanilla and mix until combined (mixture will be very thick). Add the egg whites and mix until batter is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Pour 1/4 of the batter into one pan (this will be your white layer). Mix in just enough pink food coloring to the remaining batter to make a light pink batter. Pour 1/3 of this remaining mixture into another pan (this is your light pink layer). Mix in more pink food coloring to make a deeper shade of pink batter. Pour 1/2 of this mixture into a third pan (this will be your deep pink layer). Finally, add red food coloring to the remaining batter to reach a deep red color and pour into the final pan (this is your red layer). Smooth the top of each pan and bake until baked through (about 20-25 minutes). Set aside to cool. When cakes are cool, remove from pans and remove parchment paper. Prepare frosting and decorate (see below for how to decorate like mine using a simple star tip…it’s so easy and so cute).
*Vanilla sugar is sugar that has been with a vanilla bean in a jar for a few weeks imparting a mild vanilla flavor
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
yields about 5 cups (DOUBLE THIS RECIPE for the PS I LOVE YOU CAKE, you’ll probably have leftover frosting, but I like to make sure I have plenty!)
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (can sub vanilla extract)
4 to 8 tablespoons milk
Pink food coloring
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add 6 cups of the confectioner’s sugar. Add the salt, vanilla paste and 4 tablespoons of milk. Beat for 2 minutes. If the frosting is too thin, add more of the sugar (1/2 a cup at a time). If the frosting is too thick, add more of the milk (1 tablespoon at a time).
To make the PS I LOVE YOU cake, I divide the frosting into 4 bowls (with one having twice as much as the others. I used pink gel food coloring and added the smallest amount to the first bowl with twice as much frosting (this will be for your crumb coat too). Then, I gradually added more of the gel coloring to each of the bowls (increasing it with each bowl to intensify the color). Side Note: Once I got to the last bowl, I wanted more of a bright raspberry pink, so I added a different pink color to get the desired result.
1. Crumb Coat: Prepare the crumb coat of the cake by placing the layers down in this order. Red, dark pink, light pink, white and with a thin layer of the lightest pink frosting between each layer (because this cake has a TON of frosting all over it, a thin layer of frosting between the layers was perfect). Apply a thin smooth coat a frosting all over the cake and refrigerate while you are assembling the decorating bags.
2. Prepare Frosting Bags: Fill 4 disposable pastry bags (each fitted with the same size star tip/I used a big star tip) with each of the frosting colors.
3. Frost the Cake: Using one color at a time, polka dot all over the sides and top of the cake with stars. Change colors and do the same with this color next to each star you piped first. Continue this technique with the final two colors. Then go back and fill in any of the holes. Try not to have two of the same color next to each other, but no worries if you do. It really doesn’t matter. This is a super simple old school cake decorating technique with loads of modern day wow!
4. Top it: This cake really needs no topper, but I wanted to have fun with some balloons, so I filled a few with helium and tied bakers twine from the end. There wasn’t enough helium to keep them up, but I kind of love how they just hover!
photo by Teresa Earnest Photography
The perfect cake for the one you love.
OR…maybe you need a cake for the one you don’t love? Check out this VIDEO for inspiration!
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