Saturday, April 21, 2012

Butterfly Cake

Here's the dill, pickle.  Cake decorating is not one of my gifts.  Case in point, this R2D2 cake.

So, when I had the chance to try the Cricut Cake Mini, I jumped at it.  If you've never seen or heard of a Cricut Cake, it's a cool little machine that cuts designs, patterns, scallops, borders, letters into gum paste or fondant so that they can easily be applied to cakes, cupcakes or cookies.

Pretty darn cool.

First, though, you'll need a delicious cake.  I am not above begging, so I'm going to BEG to to make this cake...with or without the ombre butterflies.  I took some really beautiful pictures of the cake with one slice missing, so that you could see the inside. Except, I took them without my memory card in my camera, so you'll have to imagine. 
The cake is a vanilla bean yellow layer cake and is SERIOUSLY one of the best cakes I've ever had.  It's moist without being Tres Leches moist.
(Does Tres Leches give anyone else the heebie jeebies?)

The layers are filled with lemon can make your own, but I used this one.
I love preservatives and tastes tart and wonderful.  The whole thing is topped off with a lemon buttercream.  It's so good that my "I-don't-really-like-cake" husband immediately asked for a second piece.

Back to the Cricut Cake Mini...the machines take cartridges with all sorts of options for different designs.  I chose one of the Martha cartridges.  I {heart} me some Martha.

{It was about midnight when I was doing this; please excuse the pictures.}
Now, I did have a little bit of a learning curve with this.  One, I learned I was rolling my gum paste too thick.  My advice is to roll it thinner than you think you need it, then roll it thinner again.  Two, I live where it's very humid and on top of that, it was storming when I tried this.  What helped was rolling out the gum paste very thin and letting it dry at room temperature on the mat for about 10 minutes.  Once I learned those little tricks, cutting was a breeze.

After I cut out those butterflies, I propped them up in some mini muffin tins so the wings would dry "in flight."

Once the cake was assembled, I frosted it with the lemon buttercream and just pressed the butterflies right on.
Easy peasy.

{{PS...this is what my kitchen table looked like for 18 hours.}}

Would you like a Cricut Cake Mini?!?  I bet you would.  I already have a few more projects in mind for mine.

To enter, leave a comment here on the blog answering the following question:

"what is you favorite cake flavor?" 

For an extra entry, follow Cricut on Pinterest and leave a SEPARATE comment letting me know you did.

{Giveaway runs though April 28th at midnight.  Good luck!}
***giveaway closed. Congrats, Jennie P.! Have fun with your Cricut Cake!*** 

Here's the recipe (make it!)...the cake is adapted from the lovely book Cake Ladies and the frosting is adapted from the lovely Shelly of Cookies and Cups.

Lemon-Vanilla Bean Layer Cake


for the cake:

Crisco for greasing pans
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 TBSP vanilla bean paste

for the filling & frosting:

12 ounces lemon curd
3 sticks (1 & 1/2 cups) salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract


Preheat oven to 350.
Grease the cake pans with Crisco, line the bottoms with parchment and grease the parchment. (I used 2-6" pans, and 2-4" pans, and had enough leftover for 8 cupcakes.  This will also be enough batter for 3-9" round pans.)

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl after each addition.  Once all yolks have been added, beat for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the milk, buttermilk and vanilla bean paste.

On low speed, add the flour and milk mixtures to the butter mixture, alternating between each beginning and ending with the flour. You'll add the flour in four additions and the milk in three.  Mix just until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites until they form a stiff peak.  In three additions, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until incorporated.

Scoop the batter into the cake pans.  If using 9" (or 8"), divide the batter evenly.  If using the smaller pans, put 2 cups batter in the 6" pans and a heaping 3/4 cup batter in the 4" pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9": 25-30 minutes
6": 22-28
4": 18-20 minutes
cupcakes: 15-18 minutes

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from pans, wrap in plastic wrap while still warm.  Place in refrigerator to cool, up to overnight.

Make the lemon buttercream:
With the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and shortening until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the sifted powdered sugar in four additions, beating on low speed until combined.  Once all of the sugar has been added, beat for another 2 minutes.  Add in the milk and extract, starting with only 1/4 cup milk.  If the frosting is too stiff, add the remaining milk and beat until combined.

Assemble the cake:

Place one cooled cake layer, top down on a cake stand, spread with 1/3 cup lemon curd (for a 6" layer).  Top with the remaining 6" layer and cover with buttercream.  Place a 4" layer, top down, on the frosted 6" cake.  Spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd.  Top with the remaining 4" layer.  Cover with buttercream.

{{psst....of you'd like to learn more about Cricut, visit them on Facebook and Twitter.}}

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