A pink tea-infused birthday cake
Birthday cake means:
1) counting calories is strictly forbidden and
2) someone is getting old.
You guessed that right, that's gonna be me. This very same week.
I'm not good at decorating cakes, but I wanted to prove to myself that no matter how old you are, you can always learn something new, improve on existing skills and experiment with something exciting. As far as baking layer cakes is concerned, I might have slightly overestimated my “existing skills”. I won't deny my cake had some structural problems, but hey, you’ve got to learn from your mistakes, right?
For the cake layers I've chosen a recipe infused with jasmine green tea, one of the most versatile teas for baking / cooking / mixing cocktails (check out these other recipes of mine featuring jasmine green tea, a fabulous dessert and a sophisticated tea cocktail). The flavor combination I put together includes mango in the filling and raspberries in the frosting. The jasmine green tea scent is subtle and very pleasant and I love the contrast between the richness of the cake layers and the tartness of the mango curd and raspberry frosting. The combination is to die for, especially if you shy away from extra rich and overly sweet buttercream-coated cakes. This cake reminds me of blues skies and carefree sunny days. I have to point out that the choice of color is not casual. Even if you haven’t heard of Millennial Pink, you’ve seen it. It’s the latest trend. I might be old, but I'm still a millennial, and so is my color choice here.
Jasmine green tea birthday cake
Ingredients (for 2 x 8 inch cake pans, double this recipe for a 4-layer cake):
1 cup + 5 tablespoons (264 gr) granulated sugar
1 1/2 stick + 1 tablespoon (188 gr) unsalted butter
4 egg whites at room temperature
3 ½ tablespoons loose-leaf jasmine green tea
2 cups (240 gr) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (210 ml) buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 gr) baking powder
a pinch of salt
vanilla extract, to taste
Melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter just reaches boiling, remove it from heat, stir in the tea leaves and steep for an hour, covered. Strain and cool the butter to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 2 x 8 inch cake pans by buttering and dusting them with flour.
Beat butter and sugar, then add the egg whites, beating until pale and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Mix the buttermilk and vanilla extract together.
Add the dry ingredients to the eggs, butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.
Distribute the batter evenly into the prepared pans and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool before assembling.
This recipe was adapted from this one here. The diameter of my cake was not ideal, I went with 2 x 8 inch and 2 x 9 inch cake pans, but I think it's easier to work with smaller cake pans (6 inch cake pans, for example, like what Tiffany of Oh Honey Bakes used).
Mango lime curd
1 ripe large mango, peeled, pit removed
½ cup (118 ml) fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup (150 gr) sugar, divided
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 large egg yolks
1 stick (113 gr) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Process mango into a smooth puree. Transfer to a saucepan and whisk in lime juice, salt, and ½ cup (100 gr) sugar. Add vanilla bean seeds and pod. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup (50 gr) sugar in a bowl until slightly lighter in color. Whisking constantly, very gradually stream about half of hot mango mixture into eggs, then gradually whisk mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until curd thickens, 5–7 minutes (do not let it boil). Remove from heat and add butter a couple of pieces at a time, whisking until incorporated before adding more. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve and cover. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.
Raspberry frosting and assembling
1 pint (473 ml) heavy whipping cream
1-2 oz (28-56 gr) freeze dried raspberries, crushed, adjust to taste or according to desired shade of pink
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar (or more to taste)
Whip cream and gently combine with finely crushed raspberries and sugar. Fill a piping bag with frosting. Trim the cake layers so they are even and flat (my layers were not even, no matter how much I trimmed them. First structural issue!). Pipe a thick ring of whipped cream frosting on the edge of each layer before spreading the mango curd in the center. (I skipped this step and I wish I hadn't, because the curd is "slippery". Second structural issue!). Top with another layer of cake and repeat until done. Spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake with an offset spatula. Decorate the cake, adding small fresh flowers if desired. Refrigerate. Serve and enjoy with a good cup of tea!
OOPS, looks like I forgot some filling in between the middle layers, how could I? ;-p