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Celebrating my 1 year Blogiversary with Strawberry Ombre Cake.
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the bottom and the sides of three 8-inch cake pans. Place a parchment paper round on the bottom of each cake pan, and then butter the top of the parchment paper. Flour the sides and the bottom of each pan. Set aside until needed.
In a food processor, puree the strawberries. Pour the pureed strawberries into a small bowl and add the milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add half of the flour mixture. Once the flour has fully mixed in, beat in milk mixture. Then gradually add in the remaining flour and mix until fully incorporated.
Evenly divide the batter into thirds. Place each third in a small bowl. Add 3 drops of food coloring to one bowl, 2 drops in another bowl, and 1 small drop in the remaining bowl. Stir each bowl to combine and color each bowl. It should create an ombre effect—one light pink cake batter to a brighter pink cake batter. Pour each cake batter into the prepared pans.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, make the Swiss meringue buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly (I use a hand mixer) until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches about 150 F.
Take the bowl and attach it your mixer that you’ve fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the egg white mixture until it reaches room temperature and stiff peaks have formed, about 5-10 minutes. At this point the mixture will be thickened and white.
With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 2 tablespoon as a time. Once all the butter is added, raise the speed to medium high and mix until the mixture starts to come together. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the beater attachment. Beat until the buttercream comes together fully and is smooth. This can take time, sometimes 2 minutes, and sometimes up to 10 minutes. Don’t worry if you think you did something wrong, it will come together and create a smooth and creamy buttercream.
Once the buttercream is silky and smooth, mix in the vanilla. Remove ¼ cup of the buttercream and place in a small bowl. Tint the ¼ cup of buttercream pink with the 2 drops of pink food coloring (if you want it darker, you can add more food coloring). Set this aside.
To assemble the cake, place the brightest pink cake on a cake turntable (or cake stand). Spread ¼ cup of the uncolored buttercream on top of the cake. Place the medium-pink cake on top and then spread another ¼ cup of buttercream on top. Place the last, lightest pink cake on top. Place the remaining amount of buttercream on top of the cake, it will be about 1 ½ cups. Carefully spread the buttercream onto the sides of the cake. Using an offset spatula, evenly smooth the sides and the top of the cake.
Using the remaining ¼ cup of pink-dyed buttercream, take a small dollop of the buttercream and place it on the side of the cake. Spread it into the white buttercream so it creates a light ombre effect. Continue spreading dollops of the pink buttercream onto the sides and top of the cake until you have frosted the complete cake with enough pink buttercream to create a beautiful pink-white effect.
If you have any buttercream left, place the remaining buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Pipe a spiral on the top, middle of the cake.
Slice, serve and enjoy! This cake lasts up to 4 days in a sealed container (or inside a cake dome/cover).
Cake recipe adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes, via Martha Stewart. Buttercream adapted from Martha Stewart.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!