I had come across this cake recipe on Smitten Kitchen's blog months ago, and decided that it would be the perfect way to celebrate my 25th birthday. The cake itself is a pink lady cake - it is basically a white cake batter with pureed strawberries added to make the batter slightly pink.
The recipe noted that you could add pink food coloring to give the cake more of a pink hue, but I kept it au naturale - I figure if I'm going to add food coloring, I could add it to any cake batter, so I would let the pink lady cake batter shine on its own.
The batter was used to make three individual cakes to be assembled into one massive cake. I realized in the course of this extravaganza that this was slightly too much batter to fit comfortably in my stand mixer, and had more than my fair share of batter overflowing onto the counter. After some trial and error though, everything got mixed in the mixer together and then into the pans and into the oven. Once the cakes were ready, they could be assembled into the three-tiered behemoth they were destined to be. In hindsight, it seems obvious that this would be an overwhelming amount of cake, but really, when else would justify making something so beautiful?
One thing to note is that in the original recipe, it instructs you to just layer the cooled cakes on top of each other - I did that this time around, but next time, I would probably take a serrated knife to level out the tops of the cakes so they would sit better, and maybe even to remove the slightly crispier sides if I was feeling ambitious. In between the layers of cake went Martha Stewart's Swiss meringue buttercream. I followed the recipe which made a full 9 cups, and I was left with quite a bit extra. Next time I would make only 2/3 of the recipe. Also, I followed Smitten Kitchen's instructions to use 2/3 of a cup of frosting between each layer and I even added some extra, but I still felt like it could have benefited from extra in-between frosting. In any case, I tinted a bit of frosting pink and decided to try my hand as piping for the first time. I was really excited at how it turned out.
Finally, I added some lovely sugar flowers in various colors that I had picked up from my favorite cake decorating store.
All in all, I was very proud of my first real celebration cake - I served it at a birthday tea party co-hosted with the IF, with so many yummy foods, I came home completely sated and then some. I enjoyed the subtle strawberry flavor of the cake, and I thought it paired well with the buttercream frosting. Between the dense cake and the rich frosting though, I was definitely feeling weighed down after eating my hefty slice, but I guess that is what birthdays are for. I have to say that after many years of bad birthday experiences, this was one of the best birthdays I have had in quite some time.