Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Watercolor Cake with Macarons

Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange CakeOne of my favorite decorating techniques is watercolor buttercream - soft pastel hues, blended together to create the look of watercolor.  It's just so pretty.  For this cake, I chose pale shades of pink and orange, swirling them together into a soft ombre watercolor effect, finished with a little piping, swirls of buttercream and pink macarons.

When I test my cake recipes, I like to test a few different variations with different mixing methods, adjustments to the leavening and other ingredients, etc, to come up with the best possible recipe.  One method that I've long heard about is the "reverse creaming" method, which, instead of first creaming the butter and sugar together, the butter is creamed with the sugar, flour and other dry ingredients until sandy and crumbly, and then the eggs and liquid are added at the end.  The purpose of this method is to coat the flour with fat, creating a luxurious mouth-feel and very tender crumb.  I have to admit, it was a bit odd to me, since I'm so used to creaming butter with sugar, then adding eggs, and then alternating the dry ingredients with the liquid while mixing on low.  The reverse creaming method finishes by mixing on high speed after adding the remaining liquid, which threatened to fling batter all over my kitchen.  But I forged ahead, following the recipe for Funfetti Cake to the letter, and then folded in the sprinkles.  The batter was thin, and I suspected that the sprinkles (which were very tiny nonpareils)  would fall to the bottom of the pan, which they did.

In the end, though, the cake was delicious, soft, moist and tender, although in my opinion, not any more so than by using the traditional creaming method.  So, would I use this method again?  No, I'm happy with the results I get using the traditional creaming method, and my recipe for Funfetti Cake is so incredibly moist, tender and fluffy, but also sturdy enough to suspend the sprinkles throughout the batter.  You can see my original Funfetti Cake here, but I've also included the recipe at the bottom of this post.

For the watercolor buttercream on this cake, I frosted the whole cake with pink buttercream, then tinted a small amount with a few drops of orange gel food coloring.  I dabbed the orange buttercream around the base of the cake, and then blended it all around the sides of the cake with a bench scraper.  Aren't those soft colors just beautiful?





Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange Cake

Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange Cake

Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange Cake

Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange Cake

Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange Cake

Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange Cake

Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange Cake

Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange Cake

Watercolor Cake, Cake with Macarons, Funfetti Cake, Pink Birthday Cake, Pink and Orange Cake



Funfetti Cake
printable


Cake.
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles
Buttercream.
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1-3 tablespoons milk or cream, if needed
  • rainbow sprinkles and French macarons, for decorating

Cake.
Preheat the oven to 350, and spray the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 10 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating each for about 15 seconds before adding the next egg.  Scrape the bowl down and beat for 15 more seconds.

In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk with the vanilla and almond extracts.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour, being careful not to over-mix.  Add the sprinkles and use a large spatula to briefly fold the sprinkles in, as well as any remaining bits of flour.

Divide the batter between the pans, weighing each to make sure the batter is evenly divided.  Use a spatula to smooth out the top of the batter.

Bake the cakes on the center rack for about 30-32 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean and the centers spring back when lightly touched.

Set the pans on a wire rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for one minute until smooth.  With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar by spoonfuls, and the meringue powder, mixing until combined.  Add the vanilla, salt and milk, then whip on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Fill and frost the cooled cake layers with the buttercream, then immediately scatter the sprinkles over the surface of the frosting before it has a chance to crust over.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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