When Sally first posted her April challenge, I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate her idea into an Easter dessert. Usually the holidays are celebrated at my in-laws but this year my husband and I hosted Easter dinner. Our extended family is not real big on desserts in general but they tolerate my incessant need to bake, which I appreciate!
Sally usually presents her followers with a recipe that highlights a specific technique, but this time she focused on the technique itself, while providing a killer frosting formula to go with it! She posted a video on her blog, Sally’sbakingaddiction, that demonstrated the technique of piping simple roses. Her unique twist was to make them two toned and to use a star tip, which makes is much easier than the flowers we made in culinary school. If you have ever used a flower nail and a petal tip, then you know how tough that can be to master. Although, I am tempted to go back and try again now that I have Sally’s amazing vanilla frosting recipe (same link as above).
First I had to choose the cake flavor I wanted to make for our Easter table spread. I wanted something different and appropriate for spring. I searched for a strawberry cake recipe and was quite discouraged. They all seemed to rely on strawberry flavored jello and boxed mixes with artificial flavoring, as well as a lot of food coloring. I finally found “made from scratch strawberries and cream cake” from The Kitchen McCabe. It looked perfect for my needs. The recipe is enough for a four layer, 6 inch cake and 12 cupcakes. This would allow me the opportunity to try out Sally’s technique for roses on both the cupcakes and for decorating the top of the 6 inch cake. The cake on its own is moist and delicious! I had a lot going on during this time period and decided to break up this project over the course of a few days, so I have included my timeline here as well.
I followed this recipe exactly as written, no changes this time! The first step was to make the strawberry puree which I did by placing 2 pounds of strawberries into a food processor and mixing until smooth. I then strained out the seeds and ended up with 2 1/2 cups of puree.
Only 1 1/2 cups were needed for addition to the dry ingredients, so I saved the extra cup (more on that later!)
I panned up two 6″ rounds and 12 paper lined cupcakes and baked as directed. As soon as all the cakes were cooled they were double wrapped in plastic and popped into the freezer. I wasn’t planning on frosting them just yet. The next day I removed the 2 cake layers, defrosted them, leveled the tops and split both to create four layers. I made Sally’s vanilla frosting and decided to add in some of the strawberry puree to the portion of frosting that would be between each layer.
By adding in some of the puree I was able to boost the flavor. Also, the cake is not strawberry colored because I did not add food coloring to the batter. I knew I would be covering the cake with frosting and decided to omit the extra artificial additive. Of course, if you would rather your cake look like it is strawberry flavored, you could add some red or pink gel paste, but the flavor is still present without it. I then applied a crumb coat and put the cake to sleep in the fridge until decorating it the next day.
Finally, decorating day arrived. At the last minute I decided I wanted to make the cake look like a basket of flowers-actually, a basket of two toned roses! I took some of the vanilla frosting and tinted it red, hoping for a pink color. That did not happen and I had a batch of red frosting, so now I knew that my roses would be red and white! I put that aside and began again and got a lovely shade of pink, yeah! I used a basket cake decorating tip, like this one
I worked my way around the cake.
Now it was time to pipe some the roses. I was nervous about jumping right to the top of the cake so I did some practice flowers on the cupcakes first. I lined the piping bag with some of the red frosting that I had made, just as Sally directed in her video. But I had some pink left over from the basket portion, so I lined part of the bag with pink as well and then filled the bag with the vanilla frosting (so, three toned roses instead of two). I set to work on the cupcakes. I did not have the exact tip that Sally recommended in her video so I chose an alternate closed star tip
I was happy with how the frosting was flowing from the tip and how each color combination was different from one another. I then went to the cake top.
I could have stopped here and been really happy with the results, but flowers need leaves, and I could not help myself! I colored a little more icing and used both a small and large leaf tips to add a few details.
I placed a green dragee at the base of each leaf. Now I was happy! My family loved the look and taste of this cake!
A big thank you to The Kitchen McCabe and Sally’s Baking Addiction for the inspiration and a great holiday dessert!