Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!

I know I’m a little late with my Valentines day cake… but I’m officially back! Yes, I’ve said this before, but when my husband, Stephan, designed this gorgeous new blog, I vowed to start blogging again. Thanks honey!

As I mentioned in my blog post last week, um month… OK, fine – a YEAR ago, we’ve changed our eating habits and THIS is even more reason for me to start blogging again. The meat and potatoes girl is now a (mostly) veg and potatoes girl.

Our new diet consists of lots of grains, veggies and fruits. We do eat fish/seafood once a week or so and I will admit… I can’t give up dairy. I loves me some cheese. Baby steps, people! Why did we change our diet, you ask? Check out this movie, Forks Over Knives,  and maybe you too will see the light.

So I saw a Ombre cake in the William Sonoma Catalog last week and I thought: what a cute and unique idea. I MUST make this. Then I googled “ombre cake” and realized that everyone and their dog has made it, blogged it and pinterested it. Oh well. I’m clearly out of the loop. Still made it and loved it, though.


Mini Ombre Cake Recipe
(Adapted from The Essential Baker)

6 oz butter + extra for greasing pans, softened
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 c cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 buttermilk
red food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare pans. Butter four 9” cake pans, line with parchment circles and butter parchment. See Note below.

2. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat (with flat beater) for 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add the sugar and keep beating for several minutes until well creamed. Stop and scrape down the bowl often.

3. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Again, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl often. The mixture may look a little curdled, but will come back together.

4. Add vanilla and keep mixing.

5. Combine the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and sift over a large piece of parchment.

6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in 3-4 stages, alternating dry and then wet. Blend well after each addition and scrape down the bowl often.

7. Divide the cake between 4 bowls. I used 4 large soup bowls and weighed them after adding the batter to ensure I had the exact same amount of batter in each bowl. If you don’t have a scale, then use a measuring cup.

8. Add a drop of food coloring to one bowl and stir well. This is when you have to use your judgement and preference… After you color the first bowl, add a few drops to the 2nd bowl and a few more to the 3rd bowl. Leave one bowl plain. Remember, you can add more color, but can’t take it away so start sparingly.

9. Scrape the batter into the 4 prepared pans and bake for about 20 minutes. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and remove from pans to cool completely.

Swiss Buttercream Recipe
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Website)

1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
2 cups (4 sticks or 1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoons almond extract (or vanilla)

1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.

2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add almond extract, and beat just until combined.

4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Simple Syrup Recipe

1/4 c sugar
1/4 c boiling water
1 tsp vanilla, rum, almond…

1. Combine all ingredients and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to cool.

Ombre Cake Assembly

1. To make one big cake, set the darkest layer (top side down) on a cardboard round. With a pastry brush, apply simple syrup to the cake layer to flavor and moisten the cake. Don’t use too much as you don’t want the cake to be wet. Top with a thin layer of buttercream. Set the 2nd darkest cake on top and repeat with the other two layers, simple syrup and buttercream.

2. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining buttercream and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, dip your knife in hot water (and dry it) to ensure a clean cut.

Note: I made three mini cakes from the 9 inch rounds instead of one big 9” cake. If you want to make mini cakes, use round cutters. You end up with scraps, but those scraps still taste good.