“THE VERY PINK OF PERFECTION.” Oliver Goldsmith.
May I just start off by telling you how much I LOVE pink desserts?! So when Paloma of The Coffee Shop, and leader of The Cake Slice bakers told us that The Pink Cake was up next, I was delighted. It most definitely is….a very pink perfection! The book we are baking from is Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson. And this particular cake is an original of hers and one that is featured at her bakery, Baker & Spice. Pink to me is such a shabby chic vintage color. And so this recipe fits really well into this lovely book of retro cakes.
This is a rich, moist but light chocolate cake surrounded by a silky Swiss buttercream. How does the buttercream get it’s beautiful pink color?
Raspberries! Raspberry juice is added to the buttercream at the end to give it a light sweet flavor and a pretty pink blush. I first thought to add some whole, fresh raspberries to decorate the cake, but I didn’t want to detract from the simplicity of this lovely pink frosting.
There is a deep chocolate flavor to this cake, I think due to the blend of both chocolate and cocoa. And it’s one that I will certainly go to time and again, even if I plan on using other frostings. It’s that good! And it may seem that there is a little extra work involved here, but it is well worth it. Don’t let the buttercream intimidate you. Just the way you might melt chocolate over a pan of simmering water; well you are just whisking egg whites and sugar in the same manner.
So let’s get baking. . . . .
Yields: 12 servings
Level of Difficulty: intermediate
- 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 of a cup of unsweetened, Dutch processed cocoa
- 3/4 of a cup of boiling water
- 3/4 of a cup of sour cream (full fat)
- 1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 3/4 of a teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 ounces of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup of firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of canola oil
- 3 egg yolks at room temperature
- 3 eggs at room temperature
Be sure your oven rack is in the center position and preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray 3, 8 x 2 inch round cake pans with baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper circles and then spray the parchment.
Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa in a bowl and pour the boiling water over the top. Allow it to just sit for a minute or so and then whisk it together to make sure the chocolate is melted and all is combined. Then whisk in both the sour cream and the vanilla and set the bowl aside.
Next, we’ll prepare the dry ingredients. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Then whisk the ingredients together to make sure they are all combined. And set the bowl aside.
So now, fit the paddle attachment onto your mixer. With the mixer on medium high speed, cream the butter and both sugars until they are light in texture, about 3-4 minutes. Be sure to stop the mixer from time to time to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn your mixer down to a low speed and add the canola oil. Then increase the speed to medium high and beat again until the mixture is fluffy; about another 3 minutes. Blend in the eggs and the egg yolks one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. You’re almost done….just add the flour in 3 additions and the chocolate in 2, beginning and ending with the flour. Do this with the mixer on low and don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl! Stop the mixer right after that last of the flour has been added. Be sure not to overbeat the batter, or your cake won’t be as tender as it could.
Now divide the batter evenly between the 3 pans. I usually do this by measuring a half a cup at a time into each pan and repeat this evenly until all the batter is accounted for. Smooth the tops with an offset spatula and tap each pan on the counter a couple of times to be sure there are no air bubbles trapped before you bake them. Bake them for about 22-24 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Flip the cakes out of the pan but leave the parchment on until you are ready to frost. I actually made these the night before I frosted them. I wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and left them on the counter.
I know this seems like a long process, which is why I put this together over two days. But hang in there and envision a beautiful slice of chocolate cake when you are done!
- 6 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
- 1/4 of a teaspoon of cream of tartar
- 4 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups (10 ounces ) of raspberries, fresh or frozen
I started by getting my raspberry puree ready. I also chose to use frozen raspberries which I thawed, because I felt like they would be easier to mash for the juice. I simply put the raspberries into a bowl and used my potato masher to smash them down. I put them into a strainer set over a bowl and continue to press them with a spoon until I felt I extracted all the juice I could and then set the bowl aside. This will be the last thing you add to the buttercream.
You will be heating egg whites in a bowl over simmering water. But the whole process will be easier if you can use the bowl of your mixer. Start by whisking the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar by hand in your mixing bowl. Set this over a pan of simmering water and continue to whisk gently until the mixture is not so thick and gloppy and it becomes more liquid. You want also to feel that the sugar has dissolved and the mixture should come to register 130°F on a candy thermometer.
Now move the bowl back to your mixer and using the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites while on medium high speed until they have tripled in volume and hold stiff peaks like a meringue. Look for a thick and glossy appearance as well. You also want to cool down the contents before you begin to add the butter. So once the egg whites are at your desired stage, turn the mixer down to low and continue to beat for another few minutes until the bowl is cool to the touch. Kick the mixer back up to medium high and begin to add the butter one piece at a time. Be sure the butter is combined before adding another. At one point the mixture may look a bit curdled. This is okay. Just keep beating. Once all of the butter is in, add a pinch of salt, the vanilla and the raspberry juice. You will need to scrape down the bowl at this point, because the butter content may resist some of the juice of the raspberries. Just continue to beat until it is completely blended. If you are not going to frost the cake right away, chill the buttercream, covered, in your fridge. You will have to beat it a little more before using it then.
Get ready to assemble, and then get ready to taste!
Place the first layer on your cake plate or stand. I always place the bottom side up so there is a flatter surface to frost. Place 3/4 of a cup of buttercream in the center and spread evenly out to the sides of the cake. Place the second layer on top, again, another 3/4 of a cup of the buttercream, spreading evenly out to the sides. Then place the final layer on top. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the top and on the sides of the cake. This is the crumb coat, so keep it thin and don’t worry about it looking nice. Refrigerate the cake for about 10-15 minutes for the crumb coat to set. And then add the remaining frosting on the top and sides, decorating as you wish.
So I have some nice thrifty finds here as well. There are two thrift stores in my neighborhood and each are good for certain things. One has a nice book section and some small tables and linens. The other is where I find my plates and baking things. For some reason, each time I’ve hit that store recently, I’ve found a fabulous cake stand. Here is the one I used for this cake. It almost looks like someone made it by attaching the stand to a cake plate. But I just loved it and it was only $4.79!
And of course, we need some plates! These I found at the same store where I found the cake stand (on different days over time!) and I just love them. These medium dessert size plates go for $1.25 each. I love mixing and matching plates on a table setting for a vintage, eclectic look.
I get the clean plate award and another chance to show you a pretty fork I found for 25 cents and I loved these plates so much I bought the entire set of 4 that they had!
Again, I am comfortable sharing this recipe because it was already made public with the permission of the publisher on Epicurious. The recipe can also be found there.
For more Vintage Cakes, please check out my Red Velvet Cake, Butterscotch Cream Roll Up Cake, Black and White Cake, Maple Pecan Chiffon Cake with Brown Butter Frosting, Boston Cream Pie-lets, Lemon Almond Streamliner Cake, Banana Cake with Coffee Walnut Buttercream, Honeybee Cake, and Shoo Fly Cake.
And visit the Cake Slice to see my fellow bakers looking pretty in pink!