pink lady for a pink lady

Sunday, October 17, 2010
2010 was the year of the wedding. We had SEVEN weddings in the span of 6 months, not including our own nuptials in May. I was honoured enough to be a bridesmaid in 2 of those weddings, both of those being my 2 best friends in the entire world. For the later wedding in August I was asked to make the bridal shower cake. The bride, who has been there for me for 11 years through thick and thin, grade 9 woodworking to Mary-Kate and Ashley's Hawaiian Beach party at 2am after an all night bender on ice cream cake. You know this cake had to be all kinds of ridiculous.

I had been eyeing a recipe on one of my go-to blogs for months but didn't have the right occasion for it. Oh this bridal shower would be the place. 3 words, Pink Lady Cake. 

A little bit of back story, I love all things pink. I have every pink baking utensil I can get my hands on, a pink kitchenaid mixer, ungodly amounts of pink clothing and when given the opportunity I will break out the pink Britney wig (opportunity means at least a full half bottle of wine). The bride is exactly the same when it comes to unnatural amounts of pink stuff, which is why the theme of her shower was pink.

I had known that I would be asked to make the cake, so during our very short strawberry season I went and bought a large amount of strawberries from a local farm and flash froze them. Our strawberry season is in late June, early July and this cake would not be made until the end of July and I doubt those strawberries would've lasted more than a week in our house.

The cake itself was extremely easy to make, I did add food colouring to try and preserve the pink colour from the strawberries, but in the end it was a much more faint pink than I would have liked. The icing was a Swiss buttercream, which until this point I have never attempted. I have to say I was slightly worried the night before the shower when I was mixing and the icing looked as if it has curdled.  Running back and forth between kitchen and office, googling furiously to see if I had completely messed it up and wasted all the butter, egg whites and time. Thankfully I found a post that re-assured me that with a little bit more mixing it would all come back to that fluffy smooth goodness I was looking for.

Pink Lady Cake 

[from smittenkitchen adapted from Sky High]

4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed frozen strawberries*
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food dye, if using (to make the pink color pop more)

1. Preheat the oven to 350»F. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.*
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.
4. Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream

Martha Stewart's Cupcakes]

1 1/2  cups **fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2  cups unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature

1. Puree strawberries in food processor. Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl). About 10 minutes.
3. With the mixer in medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all the air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add strawberries and beat until combined.*** Stir with flexible spatula until frosting is smooth. Keep buttercream

* it tastes like melted strawberry ice cream. Danger.
** I used previously frozen strawberries that I thawed just before using.
*** this is where the icing went sideways for me. I added the fruit and it looked like it had broken the icing. Have no fear keep beating the icing on medium-high and it will come back together. Trust me.