Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Cake

By Tuesday, October 01, 2013

As I grew old each year, I started looking back at what I've missed out as a kid, and wanted to fulfill these dreams.

Therefore for my birthday in Sep this year, I decided to organize a party with a retro theme.

Brought out all my vintage toys to display

Luckily my friends were sporting enough, and came dressed in polka dots. As for my husband, he tried to look like a nerd with a pair of black rimmed glasses, and short pants he purposedly pulled up very high. He looked hilariously cute!

I had to admit a lot of inspirations came from the food I ate.. and having tasted a very nice buttercream cake from a local cafe, I decided on making a strawberry swiss meringue buttercream cake.

I loved the texture of meringue.. creamy, buttery, and not overly sweet. The best part was that, unlike whipped cream, the meringue held its shape well, and did not melt easily. But making the meringue was tricky. There's one point where it looked like scrambled egg. I would have panicked if I had not read these helpful steps on making swiss meringue from Sweetapolita.  My take-away: in the event the meringue did not reach the desired consistency, one had to continue whipping it to get the smooth satiny texture. Oh yes, and cutting the butter into smaller pieces would help.

To pair the sweet pink color of the meringue, it had to be a dark chocolate cake. Visually pleasing to the eyes, and a match made in heaven.

Recipe (from Sweetapolita)
Yields a three layer 7 inch cake

For the cake:
180g plain flour
275g sugar
60g cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp (6g) baking soda
1 1/4 tsp (6g) baking powder
1 tsp (5g) salt
140ml buttermilk
130ml hot brewed coffee
75ml vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream:
5 egg whites
250g sugar
340g butter, cut into small cubes, and cooled (not cold)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup (59ml) strawberry puree
pinch of salt
few drops of pink food coloring

  • For the cake:
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare three 7-inch round cake pans (with parchment papers/ floured)
  • Sift all dry ingredients into the mixer bowl.  Add the remanining ingredients, and mix for 2 mins on medium speed, using the paddle attachment on mixer. 
  • Pour into prepared pans. Remember to weigh batter and divide equally into 3 for even layers. Batter will be liquidy.
  • Bake for 20 mins and rotate pans in oven.Bake for another 10 mins, and it's done when skewer comes out clean. Try not to overbake.
  • Cool on wire racks for 20 mins.

For the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream:
  • Add egg whites and sugar into the mixer bowl, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until the sugar had completely dissolved and the egg whites are warm. If you have a thermometer, to reach 160F. If not, use your fingers to feel that the sugar had completely dissolved, and there's no grainy feeling in the mixture.
  • With whisk attached to the mixer, whisk the mixture till it's thick and glossy.
  • Switch over to paddle attachment, and with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time until incorporated. *If mixture cuddles, to keep mixing and it would come back to smooth. Don't increase the speed. *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for 15 mins, and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together.
  • Add vanilla and salt and continue to beat at low speed till well combined.
  • Add strawberry puree to taste and pink coloring. *I used Wilton gel color.

Assembling the cake:
  • Spread buttercream on each layer of the cake, and stack the layers up. Spread a thin layer of buttercream to the sides to crumbcoat the cake. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 mins (or more).
  • Place the cake on a turntable, and add more buttercream to the sides. For best results, use a bench scrapper held at 90 degree at side of the cake, slowly turning the turntable and keeping a steady hand. *I watched a video from youtube on icing a cake which really helped.

My friends love the cake, and I had to say the chocolate sponge was very delicious and the flavor intense.

I'm looking forward to my next party!

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