A very pink birthday/ part 1 – The Strawberry Cake
So weird – It’s been already two years since I brought home that beautiful, tiny baby in my arms, with no clue how my life would be as a mom.
It was like that, in a blink of an eye, that she turned into this funny little girl who loves pink and her ballerina dress, twirling and laughing til falling down.
For her first birthday someone gave her a cake play set, with a pink birthday cake, plastic strawberries and fake candles – it became her favorite toy, and she spent the whole year throwing parties and singing “Happy Birthday” to her dolls.
Of course I could make no other than a pink cake for her second birthday, a replica of her toy. Couldn’t have chosen better: you should have seen her face looking at the cake that came true…
Helena’s Birthday Cake
For the Yellow Cake
- 150g/ 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs separated
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 180°C/ 350°. Butter two 20cm/ 9-inch round pans with butter, and dust with flour.
In a large bowl, sift together the cornstarch, flour and baking powder. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the yolks, one by one, and the vanilla, and beat well after each addition.
Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Finish with the flour. Beat until smooth. Add the egg whites and fold in the batter gently.
Divide the batter between the pans and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the cakes comes out clean. Let cool over a wire rack completely to unmold.
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream (adapted from here)
- 3 egg whites
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 200g/ 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1 cup strawberry jam, pureéd in a food processor
- pink food coloring (optional)
Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, it should mark 71°C/ 160°F).
In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating.
Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat in the jam and the food coloring until smooth. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.
- 3 cups strawberries
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
- 240ml/ 1 cup very cold heavy cream
Reserve some strawberries for decoration. Cut the rest of the in half and toss in a bowl with 1/2 cup sugar. Let stand for 30-40 minutes to release juices.
Meanwhile, beat the cream with the remaining 2 tbsp sugar until soft peaks form.
Level the cakes, cutting off any round tops. In the serving plate, place one of them and brush the strawberry juices. Arrange the sweetened strawberries over the cake, and cover with the whipped cream.
Place the other cake over the cream, frost with the buttercream and decorate with the whole strawberries.
Next post… A very pink birthday/ part 2: Hello Kitty Mission