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Purple cake and purple frosting

Aberwacky's picture

Grant has requested a purple cake with purple frosting for his 3rd birthday on Sunday (I don't know where he came up with it).

I'm not a baker of sweets, so I'm clueless. Suggestions?

Oh, and I should mention DH is going in for surgery on his ankle to repair a tendon on Thursday, and will be on crutches for 6 weeks, so something simple would be good. (G)

Leigh

Strengthen your immune system; eat more dirt!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
TracyK's picture

(post #64735, reply #1 of 133)

Make a simple white cake, and tint the batter purple with paste or gel food coloring, then make white frosting and tint it purple the same way. :-)


You can flavor the frosting with any kind of extract, if you want something other than vanilla.


CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Aberwacky's picture

(post #64735, reply #3 of 133)

Thanks--I have paste food coloring, so I can do that.

Here's a dumb question--is there a basic frosting I can make (I am SOOOOO intimidated by buttercream) that would be fairly simple?

Thanks again!

Leigh

Strengthen your immune system; eat more dirt!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
TracyK's picture

(post #64735, reply #4 of 133)

Certainly!


Take two sticks of unsalted butter, let them come to room temp, beat till creamy. Gradually beat in about 5 cups of powdered sugar, a Tbsp or so of milk or cream, a dash of vanilla extract, about 1/8 - 1/4 tsp very fine salt, and a spritz of lemon juice. If it's too runny, add more sugar, if it's too thick, add a little more milk (like one teaspoon at a time).


This is the "basic buttercream" I use with all my cupcake orders... I only use the cooked buttercreams if people pay extra for it.


CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Aberwacky's picture

(post #64735, reply #7 of 133)

Thanks so much--this sounds like just the ticket! I like the addition of lemon juice and salt to, as you say, cut the sweetness a bit.

I'd better check my paste food coloring supply. We've made a bunch of play dough lately, which has consumed some (and led to some interesting color-mixing experiments, LOL).

Leigh

Strengthen your immune system; eat more dirt!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Biscuit's picture

(post #64735, reply #11 of 133)

Add some cream cheese for part of the butter - it will cut the sweetness better than the lemon juice, and it will add a bit of umph to the frosting.


Use paste colors for tinting if you have them, and try and make the frosting and tint it at LEAST 24 hours before you use it - strong colors tend to get darker after they've sat for a few hours.  I've made dark blue, red, and purple frostings, and added so much food color I couldn't add anymore, got frustrated because they weren't dark enough, gave up, then came back about 6 hours later and they had darkened to almost too dark!


 


Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
- Mark Twain

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

msm-s's picture

(post #64735, reply #14 of 133)

that's a good tip about letting the color deepen, also about adding cream cheese. i would think that it would help the butter frosting hold it's shape; don't know if Grant's cake is going to be outdoors but buttercream in June can be very melty. I'm going to try to make an R2D2 cake for DS's birthday party this week.

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.
–Jack Handey

TracyK's picture

(post #64735, reply #15 of 133)

I don't find cream cheese necessary for shaping/texture purposes, unless I want the flavor of cream cheese frosting.

CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Biscuit's picture

(post #64735, reply #17 of 133)

This frosting doesn't really taste cream-cheesy, you know?  It's maybe 2/3 butter, 1/3 cream cheese.  It think it just helps smooth the texture out and cuts the sweetness, but doesn't make it difficult to work with the way cream cheese frosting can often be.

Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
- Mark Twain

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

msm-s's picture

(post #64735, reply #18 of 133)

i've used recipes similar to those here for fancy decoration and they do hold up well in the cold, but in the heat and humidity of summer they can slump and even run if outddors (and most kid birthday parties at home are best held outdoors for many reasons!) DS doesn't like the taste of cream cheese so i won't be trying it for his cake. We'll be serving it indoors.
My ex and i were married in June and our cake guy even told us to steer clear of pure buttercream since we had an outdoor reception on the patio of a victorian home turned into a restaurant. We preferred the buttercream though, so we set the cakes up indoors.

biscuit-no rush, but i'd love to see that recipe when it's convenient. thanks!

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.
–Jack Handey


Edited 6/3/2008 11:26 am ET by msm-s

TracyK's picture

(post #64735, reply #31 of 133)

Almost any icing will wilt/deflate/slump/run in hot weather. It's the nature of the beast. The mousseline buttercream is one of the best bets for warmer weather or outdoor situations.

CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

msm-s's picture

(post #64735, reply #35 of 133)

Yes, i realize that any grease will liquify when warm enough.
My understanding from the cake professionals i know is that while vegetable shortenings are unappetizing to most grownups, their ability to hold shapes better when warm is the main reason it is used by default in so many bakeries (esp grocery stores.).

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.
–Jack Handey

TracyK's picture

(post #64735, reply #37 of 133)

The main reason bakeries use it is because it's cheap. It's also pure white, whereas any all-butter frosting will have a bit of a yellow cast to it.


But yes, it will hold up a bit better in warmer weather.


CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Biscuit's picture

(post #64735, reply #16 of 133)

The reason I mentioned it is that in either Dorie Greenspan's "Baking from my home to Yours" or Abby's "Weekend Baker" they have this white simple frosting that has cream cheese, butter, and 10X, and it is really excellent and really easy to make.  And it holds color well and Max absolutely loves it.  I can't remember which book it is, though.  I can look later.

Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
- Mark Twain

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

Aberwacky's picture

(post #64735, reply #19 of 133)

With DH's surgery, the party's going to be pretty small--just immediate family, and probably inside. Going point about the icing melting, though--hadn't thought of that!

Leigh

Strengthen your immune system; eat more dirt!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
inlineclass's picture

(post #64735, reply #32 of 133)

Colored icing does tend to darken over time.  However, you will find that purple tends to fade to blue after a while.  Especially in flourescent or Sun light.  So you probably don't want to make  your cake more than a day ahead. You can keep it in the fridge (assuming that little light goes out when you close the door - we'll never really know, will we).  Just make sure you take it out a few hours before you want to serve it so it can come to room temp.  BTW, I always use salt butter in my baking and icing think it works/tastes much better.

Aberwacky's picture

(post #64735, reply #21 of 133)

Thanks for the tip on waiting on the color of the frosting--I would not have known, and I don't think Grant would like black frosting, LOL.

Leigh

Strengthen your immune system; eat more dirt!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Marcia's picture

(post #64735, reply #24 of 133)

I don't think Grant would like black frosting, LOL.

Keep it in mind for his teenage years. <G>

Gretchen's picture

(post #64735, reply #26 of 133)

Be sure to get "purple". DS also requested a purple cake when he was 5. That was long before you could go to a place and get THE color, so I mixed the red and blue--or whatever is supposed to make it. And I mixed and mixed. It came out to be the "loveliest' shade of grey you've ever seen on a cake. It was really pretty funny. His decoration that year was the lunar lander since his birthday fell on that very week. It didn't look unlike the moonscape!!  LOL

Gretchen

Gretchen
Aberwacky's picture

(post #64735, reply #27 of 133)

Thanks--I'm headed to Hobby Lobby or Party City at lunch to restock my paste colors. I'll make sure an actual purple is in the box!

Leigh

Strengthen your immune system; eat more dirt!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Aberwacky's picture

(post #64735, reply #33 of 133)

I now have two jars of purple paste food coloring in my collection. Hopefully he won't change his mind, LOL.

Leigh

Strengthen your immune system; eat more dirt!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
RuthWells's picture

(post #64735, reply #2 of 133)

What TracyK said, and sorry to hear about DH's ankle. Nuisance, and painful. Here's to a speedy recovery.

Ruth Wells


"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw


www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Marcia's picture

(post #64735, reply #5 of 133)

Good luck to Mr. Wacky with his surgery. It is the way to go, I fear, since I was advised to have the same and declined, and was on crutches for many months.

If nobody comes up with a simple frosting, I have one from Marion Cunningham that uses butter, powdered sugar and flavoring. It's pretty good considering how easy it is. Let me know if you need it.

Birthday hugs to Grant and others to you and Mr. Wacky. {{{HUGS}}}

Edited to say Tracy came up with pretty much the same frosting - you won't be unhappy with it. The fact that it's made with butter makes a world of difference.


Edited 6/3/2008 10:27 am ET by Marcia

TracyK's picture

(post #64735, reply #6 of 133)

The fact that it's made with butter makes a world of difference.


Exactly... people at parties have just raved over the frosting, and when I tell them it's basically just butter and powdered sugar they always look surprised!


I have seen recipes that don't call for the salt or lemon juice, and I find those to be too cloyingly sweet... the salt and acid helps cut the sweetness while enhancing it at the same time.


Confession: I've even made this with salted butter (I grabbed it by accident and it was all I had... of course I omitted the additional salt) and it was just fine.


CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Marcia's picture

(post #64735, reply #9 of 133)

I've used salted butter when baking if I'm out of unsalted. Try to keep both in the freezer, but things don't always work out as planned.

I make a point to add salt to old sweets recipes which don't usually call for it, and it does make a difference.

Also, I can well believe that people rave over this frosting after having stuff made with things worse than Crisco. The butter flavor really comes through.

TracyK's picture

(post #64735, reply #10 of 133)

If you add a little peppermint extract to it, it tastes just like the old-fashioned butter mints. SO GOOD on really really rich chocolate cupcakes. :-)

CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Marcia's picture

(post #64735, reply #12 of 133)

A little seedless raspberry jam is a good addition, too, and I've used it on a raspberry sour cream cake. There are other times when I've used a ganache and THAT is much loved.

Don't tempt me please -- I love old fashioned butter mints and haven't seen any "real" ones in ages.

Aberwacky's picture

(post #64735, reply #8 of 133)

Happy birthday to you, ma'am!

DH is lucky he's not going to have the achilles surgery, too--he's been on crutches and in a boot for a week now, and that tendonitis has almost gone away--after the diagnoses of the brevus rupture, they sent him out of the doctor's office with strict orders not to put any weight on that foot, because if the brevus (sp?) tendon completely ruptures, it's apparently pretty nasty and the surgery gets a lot more serious.

Of course, his bad shoulder is hurting again from the added strain of taking the weight on the crutches, and his other knee hurts from the different way of walking and he has a bruise on his shin from the boot. . .he likes to joke he's been feeling worse and worse ever since he went to the doctor!

Leigh

Strengthen your immune system; eat more dirt!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Heather's picture

(post #64735, reply #13 of 133)

Oh dear, I'm so sorry to hear about DH. Can he go to work with all these aches, pains and injuries? You're picking up a lot of slack at home, I know that!

The basic buttercream recipe that Tracy gave you is what I grew up with--it's delicious. I didn't know it needed a recipe because I learned it from my Mom who creamed the butter and then just kept adding powdered sugar until it felt right. And salted butter was all we had so I know that works too.

Proper buttercream is something I knew nothing about until I came here and listened to the bakers.

Have lots of purple fun!

Aberwacky's picture

(post #64735, reply #23 of 133)

Dave has been apologizing in advance for the extra work I'll have over the next 6 weeks--he feels sorry for me. He really does so much around the house, I know I'll be ready for him to heal.

Of course, when I heard about the surgery, the extra work was my second thought, LOL. Plus, I'm going to have to travel for work some during this time. Should be interesting.

Leigh

Strengthen your immune system; eat more dirt!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Sammy2's picture

(post #64735, reply #43 of 133)

This has worked for friends of mine.  They couldn't do crutches because of wrist and shoulder issues.  Pretty much a peg leg.  www.iwalk-free.com/


Also, get a high office stool with wheels for in the kitchen. He can just roll himself where he needs and not tire the good leg.


Hope all goes well.