Ok, painting with buttercream is way too much fun! # 256: Almond Cake with Strawberry Lemon Curd
Where has the first half of April gone? I’d like to officially request time to slow down a bit. At least enough so I can have a piece of cake and take a deep breath.
The wedding countdown is less than a 100 days now, which is making me feel equal parts YAY and holy shit. Playing with buttercream and food coloring is definitely helping with the onslaught of wedding planning tasks that seem to be popping up out of nowhere.
I’ve never been super into paintings or art, but we were lucky enough to be in Paris while a Monet exhibit was at the Musée d’Orsay in 2015. Nathan literally had to drag me away – I would have stayed all day! I love how soft and dreamy his paintings look, almost like they’re painted in buttercream.
If you have some time, go fall down a rabbit hole on Ruby Bhogal’s instagram. One of her things since leaving Great British Bake Off has been to create some absolutely incredible buttercream renderings of famous paintings on cakes.
I used her swiss meringue buttercream recipe here and I’m never going back. I’ve always been firmly in the swiss meringue camp, as regular buttercream is too sweet for me and lacks flavor. The meringue gives it a yummy marshmallow-y taste, and adds a lovely shine that you just can’t get with plain buttercream.
Do you like cold or room-temperature frosting better? Yes, there is a right answer. If you choose the wrong one, I might be judging. Just a little.
I cut the cake recipe by 2/3 and make it in a 6″ cake tin. I normally would simply halve a large cake recipe, but this one called for 3 eggs, so a third it is.
So pleasing watching butter and sugar cream together! From gritty sand to soft clouds.
I read through several almond cake recipes before landing on this one, and it’s incredible how unnecessarily particular some recipes are. For example: while a food processor will truly get the flour and almond flour to mix perfectly, so will a whisk. Less dishes, more toned muscles. Win-win!
Voila! No lumps to be found.
My 6″ springform pan’s maiden voyage. Wish her luck!
Here’s the swiss meringue buttercream proportions from Ruby’s recipe:
- 125ml egg whites
- 275g sugar
- 250g butter, room temp
- 250g butter, cold
This is half what her recipe calls for, since she makes monstrous amounts for all her cake decorating. You can also pare it down however you need, just keep the same proportions of egg whites to sugar to butter. An egg white weighs about 30 grams; happy calculating! If calculators bring back high school algebra stress dreams, leftover frosting freezes beautifully.
Double boiler time! You can either pop in a candy thermometer and take it off the heat once you hit 145F, or simply test the texture of the mixture. If it’s not gritty from the sugar anymore, you’re good to go.
I’m sure if you use all room-temperature butter, you’ll get the same delicious result.
Possibly my favorite stage of any bake. So much potential!
I cut this layer thinking I’d do three layers total, but ended up choosing two. The top layer is a bit thick but hey, it still tastes amazing.
Lemon curd AND strawberry jam, because why not!
I’d recommend piping a barrier around the filling if it’s runny like mine. If you forget to, just use the buttercream to create a wall to hold it in place! Strategery.
Now into the fridge for as long as you can stand it (I lasted about an hour.)
The real dilemma is what colors to make!
Went with a classic spring-y palette. I guess this is my version of dyeing Easter eggs this year!
The nerves set in right about this point, when I remembered that I can’t paint to save my life. I decided to stick with a flower so I could at least make it recognizable!
I used a giant dinner plate as a palette to mix up more colors. Feeling very artsy and official over here.
If your buttercream gets too stiff, add a little milk or pop it into the microwave for 5 seconds to bring it back to a paintable consistency.
I suppose it’s a combo of a giant daisy and a dahlia? Who knows, but it’s yummy.
Cake recipe from: https://www.seriouseats.com/fluffy-and-nutty-almond-layer-cake