It is my mother’s 60th birthday and for her anniversary I am planning to surprise her with something special – home made Rosette Swiss Meringue Buttercream Cake.
As a real flower lady this cake completely fits her style. I am saving all my red food colouring for her cake, but before the big day as an experience chef I am making a trial test just to be confident enough with how the final birthday cake will really look like.
The test is making a simple sponge cake and a first attempt at making swiss meringue buttercream and piping rosettes.
It is amazing how easy and effective the end cake result really is.
Confident and re-assured now I am ready to attempt this in a two-tier birthday anniversary cake.
For the buttercream
- 7 large egg whites
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 650g unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Food colour
For the cake sponges
- 4 free-range eggs
- 225g caster sugar
- 225g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 225g soft butter at room temperature, plus a little extra to grease the tins
1. For the cake sponges: Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins: use a piece of baking or silicone paper to rub a little baking spread or butter around the inside of the tins until the sides and base are lightly coated. Line the bottom of the tins with a circle of baking or silicone paper (to do this, draw around the base of the tin onto the paper and cut out).
2. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, flour, baking powder and butter.
3. Mix everything together until well combined. Be careful not to over-mix – as soon as everything is blended you should stop. The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency – it should fall off a spoon easily.
4. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins: this doesn’t need to be exact, but you can weigh the filled tins if you want to check. Use a spatula to remove all of the mixture from the bowl and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
5. Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don’t be tempted to open the door while they’re cooking, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check them.
6. The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins for five minutes. Then run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
7. To take your cakes out of the tins without leaving a wire rack mark on the top, put the clean tea towel over the tin, put your hand onto the tea towel and turn the tin upside-down. The cake should come out onto your hand and the tea towel – then you can turn it from your hand onto the wire rack. Set aside to cool completely.
8. For the buttercream: Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
9. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
10. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day.
11. (Optional) To tint buttercream, reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add food color, a drop at a time to the remaining buttercream. You can use a single shade of food color or experiment by mixing two or more. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use a paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved. Avoid adding too much food color too soon, as the hue will intensify with continued stirring; if necessary, you can tone down the shade by mixing in some reserved untinted buttercream.
12. To assemble: To assemble the cake, place one cake sponge upside down onto a plate and spread it evenly with the swiss meringue buttercream. Top with the second cake, top-side up and cover the whole cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Fill in a piping bag using a 13mm open star tip with the swiss meringue butter cream, making sure that there are no air bubbles in the bag. To make the rosettes, start from the bottom of the cake. Beginning in the center, then slowly move your tip in a circle around the center point. Try to end in the same place each time. Repeat until whole cake covered with rosette buttercream.
13. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.