Red, White, & Blue Cake
My baby brother did his entire dorm room in patriotic red, white and blues. We all celebrated with an American feast when mom and dad got their citizenship. We’re a family that’s proud to be American. Though, the bittersweet irony of this post in relation to my last post can be pointed out.
Le sigh, I digress.
In the South, we take our BBQ pretty seriously so while everyone else focuses on the coming carnivorous feast (sorry veggies), I’m always the designated dessert-bringer. I’ve always thought that sugar cookies encrusted with hardened “frosting,” embedded with miscellaneous shards of pointy triangles that were once part of a star were blasé, so I took to bringing cakes to celebrate. Confession #765, I’ve never had a birthday cake, but in my mind, cake = celebration.
Now, of course you can enlist the help of fondant to create a neater presentation but golly do I hate fondant (oh, was I not suppose to admit that)? Admittedly, it looks great but I’m more interested in how something tastes. A good friend of mine who now lives upstate works in a bakery and churns out fondant cakes regularly for clients weddings, showers, etc but for her own wedding, she scrapped the play-doh and slathered her tiers in good, old fashioned buttercream. If y’all completely disagree, just let me know and I will consider doing a fondant tutorial.
For the past 3 years, I’ve done a variation of this cake whether it be in cake or cupcake form so if you’re not looking to wait around for its assembly, be my guest to take the individualized portion route instead.
- 2 sticks + 2 tb soft, unsalted butter
- 2 c sugar
- 2 ts pure vanilla extract
- 9 room temperature egg whites
- 3 c unbleached flour
- 4½ ts baking powder
- 1½ ts salt
- 1½ c room temperature whole milk
- 4 sticks soft, unsalted butter
- 6-8 c sifted powdered sugar*
- 2 ts pure vanilla extract
- 1/s ts fine salt
- 2-4 tb cream
- In your first bowl, cream together your butter and sugar. You want to cream for at least 5 minutes and reach a pale, fluffy blonde color.
- Tip in your vanilla and slowly stream in your eggs.
- In your second bowl, sift in all of your dry ingredients. Slowly add this to your first, "wet" bowl.
- Alternate with milk but begin and end with your dry bowl.
- In a third bowl, break up your butter with your mixer and slowly add in your sugar (1/2 c-1 c at a time). Add in your vanilla and salt and cream as needed.
Now for those of you that are concerned about food colors, here are a few alternatives to consider:
Natural Food Dyes: the only downside to these are that I found them to be a bit pricy and I went through mine in a couple months.
Homemade colors can be extracted from natural sources. The only cons for me: sometimes, it takes more to attain a brighter depth of color but this can possibly be taken care of with produce that is naturally richer in pigment and “stain” effortlessly (like beets) and sometimes this can impact the consistency of my batter/frostings not to mention, I always get paranoid about the taste bleeding in. This can sometimes be combated by utilizing a juicer to expel it’s liquid instead of blitzing them in a processor.
Red/Pink Options: Currants/Cranberries, Pomegranates, Cherries, Raspberries, Beets, Hibiscus Flowers/Tea, Red Wine
Blue/Purple: Blueberries, Blackberries, Acai, Grape Juice
Green: Kale, Spinach
Orange/Yellow: Carrots, Turmeric Powder, Saffron
There are other options, but these are just what I’ve experimented with before. Additionally, crumbled, freeze dried fruits are nice to work with but again, can be expensive.
I realize that it’s a bit early to be thinking about the 4th of July but what am I if not a bit of an overzealous Squishy Monster? 😉
Your Squishy Monster