Sometimes I get these intense, mostly unconscious, desires to make things harder than they need to be.
In the moment its mostly just me thinking I can take on the world or creative inspiration, but often if I take a moment to pause I realize that I took on way more than I needed to. Thankfully those moments have mostly been baking related recently, which is a lot less stressful than when I used to do this with school and work.
Last week I made things harder on myself by deciding to make a multicolored grapefruit cake…using a technique that I hadn’t thought through and that I hadn’t actually ever seen or heard of before. Yes there have been similar things that I have seen or done (check out my Matcha Meringue Cake) but that has always been concrete rings or layers of color. And to be honest, it wasn’t until the five colors were all in their respective piping bags, I had a cake ready to be decorated in front of me, and my camera ready to film, that it really hit me that I had no idea what the cake was going to turn out like.
In theory I thought everything would work out alright…but I hadn’t really thought it through or drawn out how I was going to do it. Had I not been on an incredible baking streak this probably would have freaked me out more, but for some reason I was able to just calmly move forward and everything turned out alright.
More than alright, in fact. As you can see from my pictures and the video below, the cake looks great–not choppy or overly blended at all–and I am ready to try this in every other color of the rainbow! (But not actually because I have so many other cakes planned before I fly off to France….IN A MONTH OMG but that freak out is for another time).
I was also looking to take more interesting pictures, and while I had fun plans for the buttercream being colored, I actually had nothing else planned for the cake. So I finished piping and frosting and suddenly was shocked…now what?! I’M DONE? I CAN’T BE DONE?!
So in typical fashion I just kept adding things to my cake that were leftover from making various parts of the cake until I was satisfied that it would be both beautiful and flavorful.
The glaze that I added was actually just some of the extra grapefruit curd that went between the layers of the cake, and the grapefruit that is on the top and below the cake is from a grapefruit I had at the ready in case I decided to add zest to the buttercream (which I didn’t do because I wanted the buttercream to be perfectly smooth).
All in all, a good cake, with the perfect amounts of color, sweetness, texture, and all with a slight zing from the tart grapefruit. And while I am going to tell you that the cake was loved by all, take that with a grain of salt because the only people who ate it were in my family…and they can’t be trusted because I can’t make anything without them thinking it was the greatest thing since sliced bread -_-;; Who knew having a supportive and loving family could be so trying? 😛
Grapefruit Watercolor Cake
adapted from Tessa Huff’s Pink Grapefruit Cake (though the curd did NOT work out so I’ve changed things a lot)
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (You might be tempted to add more, but a little goes a long way!)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 6×3″ cake pans and set aside.
2. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds in a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the olive oil and sugar and continue mixing for another two minutes on medium speed.
4. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs and yolk one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk until everything is combined.
6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cooked through. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 20 minutes before turning them out and allowing them to completely come to room temperature before wrapping in plastic wrap and placing in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Grapefruit Curd Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup grapefruit juice
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon corn starch
1. Place the sugar, juice and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue to stir the ingredients until everything is combined and beginning to look syrupy.
2. In a small bowl, combine the corn starch with about one tablespoon of the juice mixture and thoroughly mix them together before pouring it into the mixture on the stove.
3. Continue to whisk the curd after the addition of the corn starch over medium heat for another few minutes as the curd thickens up. Remove from the heat, pour into a heat safe bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
*I attempted to make a buttermilk buttercream to mirror the buttermilk in the cake…that was a mistake…I had to add a lot of powdered sugar and whole milk to even out the buttercream…..>_<
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/4 cup whole milk (or as needed to achieve the desired texture)
gel food coloring
1. Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for about 5 minutes, or until the butter is light and fluffy.
2. Add the powdered sugar to the butter in one cup increments, then add the vanilla and the whole milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the spreadable consistency you are looking for.
3. Separate about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of batter into a small bowl and color with a shade of yellow, orange or pink gel food coloring. Continue to do so with other amounts of buttercream in different bowls with different colors. Make sure to keep at least one cup of white buttercream for frosting.
**To stack and decorate the cakes, watch the above video to see how I put everything together!**