Femininity - Love - Friendship - Playfulness
Spring brings with it a bounty of color; the return of green grass, fields of yellow dandelions and bluebonnets, purple sunsets, pastel eggs - all making their appearance in nature, decor and fashion. This month I want to focus on pink. I realize pink can be a controversial color. Some women worry they can't wear such a bright "look at me" kind of color and men have been told they can't wear it at all. Millennials have all but adopted pink as the color of their generation with the addition of the term "Millennial Pink." And you know what I'm going to say, pink is for everyone, no matter your age or gender.
I adore everything about pink. I love the versatility, brightness and playfulness in every shade of pink, which is why you will find it in a number of my paintings, including Badass, Counterbalance, and Nektar.Pink provides the romantic feel of red, with less intensity. It's playful and bright, but still subtle enough to make you pause and think about the emotion it's conveying. It also has a wide range of shades which makes it extremely versatile both in art and fashion. Brighter pinks, like magenta, usher in feelings of creativity and friendship, while lighter "millennial pinks" are often associated with feelings of youth and femininity. And of course, pink is associated with spring, including one of my favorite spring holidays. If you are still unsure about incorporating pink into your spring wardrobe, consider adding it to your Easter table. Easter is an important holiday in our home and this year I wanted to create a dessert that serves as a beautiful and delicious centerpiece for our holiday table. As is the norm when I have a baking question, I enlisted my mom to help me create the brightest possible pink cake to celebrate a season that sparks brightness and joy in my life. For the perfect finishing touch, we iced the cake using a process similar to the one I use to pour resin on my paintings.
Even better? The recipe below is entirely gluten and dairy free thanks to King Arthur Gluten Free Cake Mix.
For those of you who associate gluten and dairy free with tasteless and gross, let me reassure you. With a few simple substitutions, this cake is everything you could ever want.
For the Cake 1 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance) 8 tablespoons vegetable oil 16 large eggs 2 1/2 cups dairy-free milk (I used coconut milk) 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon almond extract 4 boxes King Arthur Gluten Free Cake Mix 2-3 different shades of pink food coloring
For the Icing 8 cups confectioners sugar 2 cups Crisco 4 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 teaspoons almond extract 6-8 tablespoons coconut milk
For the Glaze 2 tablespoons (3 packets) unflavored gelatin 1 3/4 cups sugar 1/2 cup dairy free sweetened condensed milk 1 teaspoon kosher salt 2 1/2 cups diary free white chocolate chips 2-3 different shades of pink food coloring
Step 1: Put on your Badass Earrings and Bake Your Cake
Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease six 8" round cake pans. (Yep, you heard me six. This cake feeds a crowd!) However, I recommend mixing one cake mix at a time and baking the pans three at a time.
Use an electric mixer to beat butter and oil together, then blend in half of the mix. Using the lowest speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing until blended. Continuing to use lowest speed, add 1/2 of the milk at a time, alternating with 1/2 of the dry mix. Mix just until smooth.
Now, for the fun part, drop in 1-2 drops of pink food coloring and combine. Scoop out enough to fill one pan and spread evenly.
Drop 1-2 drops more of food coloring into your mixer and combine until slightly darker than your first pan. Scoop out enough to fill your second pan and spread evenly.
Repeat until you have filed all six pans with varying shades of pink from light to dark.
Bake the cakes until golden brown — 28-32 minutes. The center of the cake should feel firm when gently pressed, and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
Remove the cakes from the oven. Allow them to cool completely in the pan, then loosen the edges with a knife and gently remove from the pan.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur.
Step 2: Make Your Icing & Ice Your Cake
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer on low speed, cream the powdered sugar with the crisco adjusting the speed up to high once the powdered sugar is incorporated into the margarine.
Add the vanilla extract, almond extract while slowly adding in your coconut milk and continue to mix on high speed until frosting holds stiff peaks.
Store in a covered dish or container in the refrigerator until ready to use when you cakes have cooled.
Once your cakes have cooled, you are ready to start icing them! Start with your lightest shade of pink ice the top and add the next shade. Repeat until you finish your six layers. Then, ice the entire outside until smooth.
Step 3: Embrace Your Inner AlanaKay and Glaze Your Cake
Stir gelatin and 1/2 cup lukewarm water in a small bowl and let sit 5 minutes.
Cook sugar, dairy-free condensed milk, vanilla, salt, and 3/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to bubble, about 4 minutes. Add bloomed gelatin and stir until dissolved.
Remove from heat and add dairy-free chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until melted. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, let cool, then divide glaze among 3 or 4 glasses. Color each with pink food coloring as desired of varying shades of pink.
Set a chilled, smoothly frosted cake on a cake pan or overturned bowl set inside a rimmed baking sheet or large tray to catch drips. Pour colored glaze over, sweeping back and forth across cake as you pour, to form a marbled pattern. Resist the temptation to touch glaze once it’s poured; it will start to set as soon as it hits the cold cake. Let glaze drip about 10 minutes, then clean up edges with a small offset spatula or butter knife.
For an added dose of fun, call in your kiddo to help catch the drips. A little sugar rush never hurt anyone right?
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.
Step 4: Slice and Serve
Once you have let your glaze set, transfer to a cake stand and set out on display at your Easter table.
Slice and enjoy every bite of your fabulously pink cake with family and friends this Spring.