Thursday, May 31, 2018

"Unicorns I Love Them" Cake

This cutie cake is a special edition that was made for my friend Marisol's birthday. This girl loves everything wild, fantastical, and purple. We're talking spitting fire for fun and rocking full-body pikachu jumpers.The more we have gotten to know each other over the years, the more I knew I needed to make her a unicorn cake. Please note, when you bake this sort of cake - you need to have this song from, "Despicable Me," playing on loop.

Unicorn cakes are super popular on the Internets. There is no way to tell where it came from but these suckers are everywhere - even cupcakes. I love how easy they are to personalize! You can use literally any color combination and alter the unicorn's eyes. Some people add chic lashes, others make crazy anime-googly eyes. Wee!

This cake was decorated with surprisingly little in terms of materials: two food colors (violet and rose), sprinkles (Wilton Diamond Medley), and fondant scraps (saved from previous cakes) for the ears, eyes, and horn. I brushed a little gold food sparkle on inside of the ears and horn but it's not mandatory. There are also some tiny edible star accents on the cheeks like freckles. The stars could be made out of fondant scraps - I just happened to have these accents in the ol' cake arsenal. 

The birthday girl is one odd duck in terms of food. I played it safe with strawberries, one of her favorite fruits. The cake has strawberry puree (no sugar added) and diced strawberries in the batter, while the filling is the remaining puree and strawberry bits.  Honestly, the cake was just okay. I found it slightly dense and may have doubled the amount of baking powder to make it more fluffy. It's a tough trick to balance because the moisture from the puree. It was the perfect level of sweetness!

All the frosting is done using my favorite Swiss Buttercream, from the cake coat to the colorful rosettes. I'm not a lover of all-over fondant in terms of flavor. The out-of-box stuff weirds me out and I have yet to make it from scratch. This is a cake after all! Being pretty on the outside is nothing compared to being pretty on the inside. Of my tummy.

I was tickled purple by Marisol's reaction to this cake - too cute! See - even her shirt and glasses match! Happy birthday again to this spunky and wild spirit! "I'll fight you!"

"Unicorns I Love Them" Cake
Strawberry Cake from Cooking Classy 
Make cake according to the original instructions.
Divide the batter between three 6-inch found cake pans, lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F until toothpick comes out clean and top slightly bounces back when you push on it.

1/2 cup strawberry puree remaining leftovers or strawberry jam, divided between two layers
1 cup chopped Strawberries, divided between two layers

Swiss Buttercream from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 large egg whites
4 sticks of unsalted butter (32 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size.

Deb Tip: when you transfer to the mixer, make sure you wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl so that no water gets into the egg whites. This can keep them from whipping up properly.

Add the vanilla. Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip until smooth.

Deb Note: Do not have a panic attack when this takes a while to come together. 

To Decorate

Once the cakes have completely cooled, begin to frost the crumb coat. Make sure to leave a thick border on the outer perimeter of the cake round to ensure the filling does not escape. Add 1/4 cup puree/jam and sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped strawberries. Top with next layer of cake and repeat. Top with last layer of cake and generously coat with buttercream. Set in the fridge to firm up for about 20 minutes.

Finish frosting the base coat until smooth and even.

Using remaining frosting, divide into separate bowls and color accordingly. Pipe on rosettes to your liking, though I tried to keep things more or less symmetrical.

Gently place eyes, horn, and ears. Gently add sprinkles. Allow to set in fridge; remove 1 hour before serving to thaw.

* Make the fondant ears, horn, and eyes at least a few hours ahead of time to allow them to harden in cool, dry air.