Ruffle Cake

spring ruffle cakeThis adorable ruffle cake was inspired by the clear blue sky, green grass, and budding forsythia I noticed on my walk with Millie this afternoon. It’s a lovely spring day today, fitting for the day before Easter, and this little cake will make a nice addition to our Easter dinner tomorrow.

I watched several videos on ruffle piping before I tried this, including this great one from Cake Style. Although I definitely need more practice, I’m very pleased with how it turned out. You do need a good deal of frosting for this, and while you’ll probably have about a cup left over, it’s better to have too much than too little. You can always use the extra on a small batch of cupcakes, or for another future treat.

White Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 6-inch round cake pans with baking spray; line with parchment circles, and spray the parchment.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, and salt until fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined.

Add flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just combined.

Divide batter between pans; bake for about 20-22 minutes, until tops are golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Pastel Ruffle Vanilla Almond Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Blue, green, and yellow liquid food coloring

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, beat butter for about 1 minute, then add salt and beat another minute.

Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes.

Add vanilla extract and almond extract, beating well to combine. Check your consistency;it should be fluffy, but not too thick or too thin. If you need to thin it, add 1 tablespoon milk and beat for another minute.

Divide frosting into three equal portions; tint each a pastel shade of blue, green, and yellow.

To frost your cake:

Trim each cake so you have flat surfaces; reserve your cake scraps for a little trifle or other snack.

Place the bottom layer of your cake on your platter and top with a medium-thin layer of yellow frosting.

Place the top layer on next and apply a thin layer of yellow for your crumb coat.

Fit a piping bag with a Wilton 104 petal tip and fill the bag with your blue frosting. With the larger end of the tip toward the cake and with your bag at about a 90-degree angle, begin to pipe ruffles from the center of the top of your cake outward. Continue with your blue frosting to cover the entire top of the cake, with one band of blue down the side.

Repeat with your green frosting, then your yellow frosting, covering the entire cake with ruffles.

Store at room temperature.

top of spring ruffle cakeHere’s a nice shot of the top of the cake. 

 

Bird’s Nest Cupcakes

birds nest closeupSpring is here! It’s 70-something in Pittsburgh today and appears for the moment that the long, hard, polar vortex extravaganza of winter is over. Having grown up in the fickle weather patterns of Western PA, I realize that tomorrow could be 40, and that snow is a possibility through early May. For now though, I’ll take a beautiful day whenever I can get one.

These bird’s nest cupcakes would be great for any spring-related event; an Easter dinner, Mother’s Day brunch, or in this case, a bird-themed baby shower. One of my colleagues hosted just such an event today and I was happy to provide these, which may look complicated but are actually very easy to prepare especially given the abundance of egg-shaped candies right now. If you can’t find egg-shaped candies for the nests, I suspect that peanut M&Ms would work well too.

Ingredients

Preparation

Bake cupcakes and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Prepare vanilla almond buttercream. Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop frosting onto each cupcake and spread with an offset spatula in an even layer.

Prepare cocoa frosting. Fit a piping bag with a medium plain tip, such as Wilton #5. Pipe nests, creating the outer edges first and filling in with a few squiggles of frosting for the nest bottoms.

Place mini egg candies in each nest; most will fit three eggs, but a few of mine fit four. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

Note: one of the cupcakes in this batch featured a hatched baby bird, similar to a cupcake I’d seen in the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book, as the cupcake for the mom-to-be. To create this, I used one blue Hershey’s candy-coated egg, melted a few chocolate chips, and dabbed the chocolate on for eyes, then made a batch of Zella’s icing, tinted it orange, and piped on a small beak using the smallest plain tip I have. You can see the hatched bird in the photo below, and you can reserve the batch of icing from the beak for another time; it refrigerates very well.

birds nest all

Sugar Cut-Outs: Rabbits

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter!  For this cookie recipe, please see sugar cut-outs.

Decoration

  • Single recipe Zella’s icing
  • Brown gel food coloring
  • Blue liquid or gel food coloring
  • Pink flower-shaped sprinkles

Prepare icing and reserve about 1/4 cup for white and blue details.

In your mixing bowl, tint icing brown using gel food coloring.

Frost rabbit bodies brown, leaving the tails bare.

Fit a pastry bag (or sandwich-sized plastic bag) with a large star tip; fill with small portion of white icing and pipe on tails.

Replace the star tip with a plain round tip and pipe a small circle for the eye.

Tint remaining icing blue; fit a pastry bag or sandwich-sized plastic bag with a small round tip and pipe on eye detail.

Press one pink flower-shaped sprinkle on each rabbit for the nose.

Allow icing to harden before storing.