Cupid's Arrow Valentine's Day Cake
Aaaaah Cupid, a naked flying baby who zips around firing love arrows at hapless humans. My fella and I have already watched a Mexican haunted asylum movie and a 1970s possession flick this morning, and later we are going to eat fried chicken sandwiches and go for a walk. Romance!
This cake was a labor of love, and it tasted like it, too! Here is a video of how I put it all together:
I wound up love the very textured buttercream finish I gave to this cake. I wanted it to feel organic and natural.
The buttercream is colored and flavored with all-natural ingredients too, specifically freeze dried fruit blitzed into powder in my Vitamix. I bought the bags of freeze dried raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries from Trader Joe's, and needed two bags of each to flavor enough buttercream to cover and fill one cake (it takes way more than you think). I am never using anything other than freeze dried fruit powder to give fruit flavor to my Italian Meringue again. It actually tastes like the fruit. Not jammy or like cooked fruit, but fresh and bright! Try it! I'm going to keep tweaking and I'll post a recipe when I find the best balance.
Alrighty, cake recipe! This cake is tangy and earthy thanks to the combination of sour cream and beet, and the texture is soft and buttery. I did hope that the beets would lend a little color to the baked cake, but the natural color baked out in the oven. That's okay though; the flavor was terrific and played beautifully against the acid tanginess of the mixed berry buttercream. You can also just replace the beet puree with more sour cream and you'll have yourself a nice plain cake.
Sour Cream Beet Pound Cake
Adapted from the Sour-Cream Pound Cake recipe in Susan Purdy’s classic The Perfect Cake
360g (3 cups) sifted AP flour
50g (1/2 cup) whole milk powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
220g (1 cup; 2 sticks) unsalted butter
600g (3 cups) granulated sugar
6 eggs, separated, at room temp
115g (1/2 cup) sour cream
180g beets, roasted (for 1/2 cup puree; I used two small beets, but roast three just in case)
2 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch or two of cream of tartar
Prep three 6” pans and preheat your oven to 325°F/160°C.
Puree beets with sour cream. It will look like delicious raspberry mousse or yogurt, and actually tastes amazing. Note to self: make beet yogurt a thing.
Sift dry ingredients together and whisk to ensure proper distribution.
Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment and beat the butter and 300g (1 1/2 cups) of the sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and beat again to incorporate everything together.
Alternately add the flour mixture and the beet cream to the yolk mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides, add the vanilla, and beat on medium speed for about 8-10 seconds to incorporate. The batter will be on the thick side. Just how I like it. It will also be the most instagrammable shade of Millenial Pink.
Wash your mixer bowl very well, with soap, and return it to the mixer. Exchange the paddle for the whisk attachment, and whip the egg whites on medium until they start to froth. At this point I like to add a couple pinches of cream of tartar to help stabilize my whites. Increase the speed to high until egg whites are foamy, about 30-45 seconds. Add 1/3 of the remaining 300 g sugar, whip for 30 seconds, add another third of the sugar, whip, then add the remaining sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form when you lift the whip out of the whites. The whites should be stiff but not dry. They can have a tiny bit of curl to the top of the peaks.
Fold your whites into the thick pink batter, distribute evenly amongst your prepared pans, and bake for 50 minutes to an hour. I started checking in on the cakes regularly after about 45 minutes, and I would recommend you do the same. The top of the cake should spring back when you poke it gently.
Allow to cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, then remove from the pans to continue cooling on a rack.
You can freeze this cake for weeks, it's super easy to torte, and it tastes awesome! Enjoy!
Alright, I wish you and yours a beautiful Valentine's day! Eat some cake! Do it for love!