Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ballerina Cake: Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Cake with Mocha Buttercream

Pretty girly cakes are my absolute favorite to decorate, and this one was no exception.  I loved the "Vintage Ballerina" theme of this baby shower, and creating a cake was so much fun.

The cake itself is simply decorated.  Soft, from-scratch pumpkin cake, full of fall spices, is frosted with a rich mocha buttercream; the pumpkin, spices and coffee flavors pair beautifully.  Using a small star tip, I piped tiny pink roses up the sides of the cake, leading to the center, where all eyes are on the dainty ballerina.

To make the ballerina, I traced the silhouette of an image I liked onto black card stock, and cut it out twice, so that the topper would be reversible, then glued a wooden bamboo grilling skewer between the two pieces of card stock.  You can't even see the wooden skewer, and it adds so much stability to the topper, as well as provides a base to stick into the cake.

To dress my ballerina, I hot-glued pink tulle around her waist for a tutu, and rolled up a strip of tulle into a flower to glue onto her bun.  Pink bows at her ankles added the perfect finishing touch.

She's dancing under a ribbon arch, easily made by hot-gluing a strip of ribbon to two wooden bamboo skewers.

Besides the cake, I also made chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, dipped in pink and white candy coating, and decorated with mini silver and gold foil cupcake wrappers, to look like each truffle was wearing its own little tutu.

The baby shower was held at my office, and the office dogs were thoroughly excited about the fact that even they got to wear tutus.

Recipe for Cookie Dough Truffles

Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Cake with Mocha Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons, cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 can (14 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2-3 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray the bottoms only of three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Cook the butter, swirling occasionally, until nutty brown solids form on the bottom of the pan; remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Whisk the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, then whisk in the browned butter until smooth.

Divide the batter between the pans.  Bake until the centers of the cakes spring back, and a toothpick comes out clean, about 22-26 minutes.  Cool in the pans, on a wire rack, covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and espresso powder for several minutes.  With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder until combined.  Add the milk and vanilla and increase the speed to medium high; whip for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy.

Frost the cooled cakes with the buttercream.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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