February calls for pink Valentine goodness. A simple vanilla cake turns a little fancy with ombré layers and a delicious strawberry mascarpone frosting. I also added to the cuteness by baking this cake in 6 inch pans and adding tiny nonpareil to the top of the cake. Baking this in six inch panes allows for 3 layers of pink goodness. For more recipes, head on over to Audrey’s!
*NOTE: And if you don’t want to bother making the cake from scratch, feel free to use a boxed version, colouring each layer as instructed below.
- FOR CAKE
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking pans
- 1.5 cups flour, plus more for baking sheet
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- liquid or gel food colouring in red
- FOR FROSTING
- 1 tub of mascarpone
- 1 cup of frozen or fresh strawberries
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 2 cups of whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3, 6 inch cake pans, tapping out any excess flour; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.
- Beat in vanilla.
- With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
- In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy.
- With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat.
- Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined.
- Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.
- Transfer batter to 3 measuring cups. Add a few drops of colouring to two of the three parts of batter. Add about a third more to one cup. Make sure to combine well for even colour. Remember, you can always go darker, but you can't remove colour, so do this one step at a time.
- Transfer coloured batter to cake pans and smooth tops with spatula.
- Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack, then re-invert and let cool completely.
- FOR FROSTING
- In a small saucepan, heat strawberries with a splash of water until soft. Zip in food processor until smooth.
- Combine mascarpone, strawberry puree and sugar with a mixer until smooth and creamy.
- Add whipping cream and whip at medium-high speed until the cream turns to a whipped cream consistency. Don't overwhip the mixture.
- Adjust sweetness to your liking.
- Once cake is completely cooled, stack in ombre fashion and ice each layer and sides and top with a thin coat of frosting. Add skewer to stabilize layers. To stabilize the cake further, put it in the fridge after the first coat of frosting. After 30 minutes of cooling, put a second coat of frosting on the cake, and add decorative frosting to the top of the cake. I added nonpareil to each frosting flower.