A few hours later, I was perusing the internet (and my Pinterest boards) to be inspired for a perfect baby shower cake design. I found this pretty design here. I am loving the ombre look that seems to be so popular these days and thought it would make a perfect modern shower cake. I gathered the supplies to make my "sugar cookie cake" (so named because it tastes like a giant sugar cookie), and then it hit me.
Oh yeah. We don't do that artificial food color thing any more. How was I going to do many shades of blue naturally? Apparently, boiled cabbage can sometimes produce a grayish-blue color. Still, I had never done it before, and I definitely did not want to show up to the shower with frosting that tasted like cooked cabbage. My friends on the Feingold member boards told me about a set of all-natural icing colors that are made by India Tree. I dumped the kids off at Grandma's and went to Whole Foods. After I recovered from sticker shock ($18 for three little bottles of red, blue, and yellow!), I ponied up the cash, figuring I could use them for future birthday cakes and other celebrations.
And as you can see from the photo, the color turned out exactly as I had envisioned it. The gals at the shower loved it, and my inner-happy-cake-decorator-self was thrilled that I still had options when it came to making pretty cakes. (I totally want to try this ombre petal method with all shades of chocolate frosting!)
Want my sugar cookie cake recipe? Here it is - it's a little more work than the average cake but completely worth it, I promise. It tastes fantastic and holds up well for tall or structured cakes.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.
3. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in the vanilla extract.
4. In another bowl, with a clean beater, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Stir about 1/2 cup of whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest of the egg whites.
5. Divide the batter evenly between three 8" (or 9") round cake pans. Smooth the batter to make it level.
6. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Be sure to check at the 25 minute mark as you definitely do not want these to overbake. Tops of the cakes should be springy.
7. Cool the cakes in their pans on a rack for 10 minutes.Invert the cakes onto racks. When completely cool, divide each cake into two layers.
8. Make your favorite frosting (buttercream is so yummy with this!) and stack the six layers, spreading frosting between and crumb-coating the entire cake.
9. Let the crumb-coat set up in the fridge for a half-hour or so.
Then go to Prudent Baby and follow the easy tutorial to make the Ombre Petal design on your cake. To make your petals neater than mine, don't use Ziploc bags with the corners cut off. Just sayin'.