If only I was as regular with posting my recipes as I am at baking. This post has been months and months in the making. The top layer of this 2 tier cake was a moist chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream frosting. I’ve always found berries hard to work with. It’s easy for the buttercream to break with the acids in the berries. This time, I tried something slightly different, that might feel a bit like cheating, but was pretty delicious and well received.
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups of sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup strawberry preserve
1/4 tsp salt
1. Cream the butter with a whisk. Add the sifted powdered sugar at a low speed until incorporated. I prefer my buttercream slightly tart and not too sweet – so I recommend adding 1/2 cup at a time and tasting as you go.
2. Whisk the strawberry preserve/jam so that its nice and smooth. When the buttercream is smooth, gently fold in the strawberry preserve. Add salt to your taste.
You may want to add more jam or sugar to your taste. But these are good proportions to start from. If you’re looking for a thinner buttercream, simply add some whipping cream, a tablespoon at a time.
For the chocolate cake, here’s the recipe I used.
Also see: Part I: Eggless Orange Cake with Almond Buttercream
I have a philosophy. It usually goes like “only cook with the ingredients that taste delicious”. Because food needs to be delicious in its entirety, not just in bits and pieces. But I also believe that food engages 4 out of 5 senses, and the visual cues it brings up are just as important as the havoc it plays on your taste buds. So I did something I don’t usually do, recently. I worked with fondant.
A close friend of mine is having a baby girl in 2 months and as I helped her husband organize the baby shower, I took it upon myself to make the dessert, and to challenge myself with something different. There were many firsts with this cake:
- First 2 tier cake
- First time working with fondant
- First time working with gumpaste
- First attempt at creating a strawberry buttercream recipe
The results, though not perfect, were still fantastic. I learned a ton about working with fondant and the different types of fondant in the market. Since this was a 2 tier cake with 2 different cake flavors, and I have much to share about working with fondant and gumpaste, I’m divvying up the blog post into 3 parts.
Part I: Vegan Orange cake with Almond Buttercream
3c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Naked Mighty Mango juice
1 cup Tangerine/Orange juice (unsweetened)
1.5 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp grated fresh orange zest
4 tbsp water
1 c oil
1.75 c sugar
2 tsp orange extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting
2c unsalted butter at room temperature
3-3.5c sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- Dust and grease a 9 x 3 round pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix juices, oil, extracts, orange zest in a bowl.
Tip: You can substitute the 2 different juices with any available orange juice if you don’t have access to the Naked and Cuties brands. I’ve just found that the flavor is great with Naked in it. I might also recommend trying adding 1/2 cup of mango juice to 1.5 cups of orange juice as a substitute for the brands called out in this recipe.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
- Gently fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not beat.
- Add the water to easen up the mix and pour into the greased and dusted pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Tip: If after 20 minutes it seems like your top is cooking without the bottom, cover the pan with foil to avoid the top of your cake from burning.
- Cream the butter. On the low speed of your beater, add the powdered sugar until just incorporated.
- Increase your speed to medium, and add the extracts, salt and cream and beat till you see stiff peaks.
Note: I don’t like my frosting too sweet – so I typically prefer to add 1.5 cups of sifted sugar to 1 cup of butter. I’d suggest adjusting the amount of sugar to your taste.
- Once your cake has baked, let it cool overnight, or at least 2-3 hours – first on a cooling rack and then in the fridge.
- Cut the cake into 3 even layers with a sharp serrated knife.
Tip: Wash your knife with boiling hot water and wipe down quickly before cutting the cake. The hot knife cuts through the cake much better.
- Frost your cake between the layers and also cover the cake with frosting all around, smoothening it.
- Stick it in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes. Spritz some cold water over the cake (not a ton!) and then cover with fondant. Tip: Since I didn’t have a spritzer, I brushed it with some water instead.
Whenever I describe this cake to people, they wonder about it. It’s not a flavor they immediately gravitate towards. But every time I’ve served it, people go for seconds and thirds. It’s my secret weapon that’s guaranteed to please.
Up next: Part II – Eggless Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Buttercream.