Yellow Chiffon, Caramel Icing & Italian Buttercream Roses
Yellow Chiffon Cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour [254 g]
1 tbsp baking powder [12 g]
1/2 cup granulated sugar [100 g]
1 1/2 tsp salt [8.5]
8 egg yolks [160 g]
2/3 cup vegetable oil [160 mL]
1 cup milk [240 mL]
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract [22 mL]
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest [2 g]
1 tsp finely grated orange zest [2 g]
8 egg whites [240 g]
1 tsp cream of tartar [3.4 g]
3/4 cup granulated sugar [150 g]
3 tbsp cornstarch [22.5 g]
3 tbsp water (for dissolving cornstarch) [44 mL]
1 packet (1/4 oz or 1 tbsp) powdered gelatin [7 g] - equivalent to 4 sheets
1/4 cup ice-cold water (for dissolving and blooming gelatin) [60 mL]
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar [250 g]
3 tbsp water (for caramelizing sugar) [44 mL]
2 cups heavy cream [480 mL]
1/2 cup water [120 mL]
1/2 tsp table salt [2.8 g]
2 tsp vanilla extract [10 mL]
Italian Meringue Buttercream
4 large egg whites (room temperature) [120 g]
1/4 tsp cream of tartar [0.85 g]
1/2 cups granulated sugar (for egg whites) [100 g]
1/3 cup water [80 mL]
1 cup granulated sugar (for water) [200 g]
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature) [454 g]
1 tbsp vanilla extract [15 mL]
1/2 tsp table salt [2.8 g]
1 drop sky blue food coloring gel paste
1 tsp matcha powder (for leaves) [2 g]
Yellow Chiffon Cake:
Separate 8 eggs into yolks and whites, and let them come to room temperature.
Preheat your oven to 340 F (170 C). Prepare two 9" round cake
pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper. Do not grease parchment paper or the sides of the pans. Soak 2 cake strips in cold water for 5 minutes. Then shake off excess water but do not wring. And place these soaked cake strips around each of the
In a large mixing bowl, sift together 2 1/4 cups of cake flour, 1 tbsp of baking powder, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp of salt. Then add in 8 egg yolks, 2/3 cup of vegetable oil, 1 cup of milk, 1 1/2 tbsp of vanilla extract, 1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest and 1 tsp finely grated orange zest.
Beat this together with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth and well blended.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in the 8 room temperature egg whites and 1 tsp cream of tartar, and with the whisk attachment beat on low speed until it looks frothy, about 1 minute. Then turn the speed up to medium, and very slowly add in 3/4 cup granulated sugar while continuing to beat. When all the sugar has been added, turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until you see stiff glossy peaks.
One third at a time, gradually and very gently fold in this meringue into the cake mixture until very well combined. Divide batter equally into two prepared round cake pans.
Bake these in the preheated oven at 340 F (170 C) for about 40 - 45 minutes or until the cakes are light golden brown, the surface
springs back when touched lightly at the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert them onto metal racks immediately, and let them cool sitting on racks for 5 minutes, then lift off pans. If it gets stuck, run a knife along the edges of the cake, then invert. Let them cool on the racks at room temperature.
While the yellow chiffon cakes are cooling to room temperature, work on the caramel icing. Measure out 2 cups of heavy cream and let it come to room temperature. In a small bowl, add in 3 tbsp of cornstarch and 3 tbsp of room temp water. Whisk it so the cornstarch gets dissolved and forms a slurry. Set this aside.
Bloom 1 packet (about 1/4 oz; 1 tbsp; about 7 g) powdered gelatin - (equivalent to 4 gelatin sheets) by stirring it in 1/4 cup of ice-cold water until it is dissolved. Let it bloom for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, take a medium-size heavy-bottomed saucepan, add 1 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 3 tbsp of water. Heat over medium-high heat. Do not stir the sugar or water. Just gently swirl the pan to make sure the sugar is heating and melting evenly. If you see portions of dry sugar, swirl the saucepan so it gets covered by the melted/liquid sugar.
Bring the sugar-water mixture to a boil and continue heating until it turns into a copper/amber color. Be careful not to let it get too dark, otherwise it will have a slightly bitter burnt flavor. Turn off the heat when it turns copper/amber.
Then while vigorously whisking, very slowly add in 2 cups of room temperature heavy cream, and vigorously whisk it in. Be careful of the hot steam from the initial addition of heavy cream. Adding the heavy cream very slowly will prevent the caramel from seizing up. But if the sugar does seize up into a solid ball, don't worry. Just turn on the heat to low and keep whisking, and the caramel will re-melt into the heavy cream.
When the caramel and heavy cream have been incorporated, add in 1/2 cup of room temperature water, the slurry of dissolved cornstarch, and 1/2 tsp of table salt, and whisk them in. Turn the heat to medium-low, bring to a boil and continue whisking for 1 minute till it thickens.
Remove from the heat, and mix in the bloomed gelatin-water mixture and 2 tsp of vanilla extract, whisking to combine. If you notice any lumps, run this caramel glaze mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps (if necessary).
Transfer 1 cup of the caramel mixture into a measuring cup and place it in the fridge for 20 minutes for rapid cooling.
Let the remaining caramel mixture rest at room temperature and cool to room temperature, about 75 to 80 F (24 to 27 C). Depending on the ambient temperature, this may take 2 hours. On a hot day you might have to put the caramel in the fridge to reach that temperature.
Assembling the Cake:
By the time you're done making the caramel icing, the chiffon cakes should have cooled down enough to work with. One at a time, transfer them onto a chopping board. Then using an 8-inch cake ring, cut the outer edges off the cake to create an even 8-inch cake round with straight edges. Do this for both cake
rounds. This will help create straight edges in the final cake once the caramel icing has been added.
Take a cake board that's larger than 8". We're using a 10" cake
board. Place a clean and dry 8" cake ring in the middle. Take a piece of acetate sheet that's 4" high and 26" long, and line the inside of the cake ring with the acetate sheet. With the flatter side down, place one of the 8" chiffon cakes in the middle of the ring.
Then take the slightly cooled 1 cup of caramel icing that was rapidly cooled in the fridge (if it is still very hot at this point, you can place it in the freezer for 5 minutes for even quicker cooling) and pour it evenly over the first chiffon cake layer so that it forms a flat layer of caramel.
With the flatter side up, place your second chiffon cake round on top of the caramel icing, and gently tap it down with your hands to make sure the layers are snug. Place this in the freezer to let the layers firm up, and for the surfaces to be very cold. Cold surfaces will allow the caramel mirror glaze to harden faster when it is poured. This will rest in the freezer for 2 about hours, until the caramel icing has come to room temperature.
When the caramel icing has cooled to room temperature
(around 75 to 80 F or 24 to 27 C), take the cake layers out of the freezer. Slip off the metal cake ring and peel off the acetate sheet, revealing the frozen chiffon and caramel layers.
Set up a bowl placed upside-down on a baking sheet to collect the excess caramel glaze. Place the frozen cake on top of the bowl - it should still have the flat cake board underneath it.
Pour some of the caramel icing over the top of the frozen cake, letting it drip over the sides. Use a bench scraper to flatten the top as much as possible, so that the caramel forms a nice shiny and smooth glaze on top. Then add more caramel icing on the sides of the cake as needed, and similarly using a bench scraper, smoothen the sides as much as possible so the caramel forms a shiny surface. The cold frozen surface of cake should allow the caramel icing to harden quickly.
When the cake has a smooth glaze of caramel icing on top and on the sides, use a spatula to clean off the bottom rim off the cake board as much as you can. And wipe off any residual
caramel icing as much as possible with a moistened paper towel.
Once the excess caramel has been removed and the cake board is clean, put this cake in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours to overnight, for the cake to continue defrosting and for the caramel glaze to set.
Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting:
Separate 4 eggs into yolks and whites while they are still cold - save the yolks to use for another dish. Let the 4 egg whites come to room temperature. Take 2 cups (4 sticks) of butter and slice them into 1-inch cubes, and let them come to room temperature.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in 4 room temperature egg whites and 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar. With the whisk attachment, beat this on medium speed. Slowly add in 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and continue beating till you see soft peaks forming. Let this rest.
Take a medium sized saucepan and add in 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1/3 cup of water. Heat it over medium-low heat. Wait for the sugar to dissolve completely and the mixture looks clear.
When the sugar has dissolved, attach a candy thermometer and turn up the flame to the highest level possible. Without stirring, continue heating till the sugar-water mixture reaches the softball stage, which is 235 F (110 C). Pay very close attention to the thermometer. If you let the sugar heat pass 235 F, your resulting frosting will be grainy.
As soon as you see the temperature read 235 F (110 C), remove the saucepan from the heat. Turn on the mixer on medium-low speed, and immediately drizzle the hot sugar mixture into the egg-white meringue in a slow steady stream. The sugar should be hot enough to be in the soft-ball stage so it stabilizes the eggs, as well as hot enough to pasteurize the egg whites so they are safe to eat.
When all the hot sugar syrup has been added, continue running the mixer until the mixture cools completely to room temperature, which could take 15 to 20 minutes or so. Do not worry, as you cannot "overmix" this meringue. Letting the mixer run just helps to cool down the meringue faster. It should end up having a nice silky-smooth texture, and it should be the same temperature as the room temperature butter before they are combined.
When the meringue has cooled completely to room temperature (after 15 to 20 minutes of mixing on medium-high, turn the speed down to medium-low. One cube at a time, add in the 2 cups of room temperature butter, waiting for each piece of butter to get incorporated before adding the next one.
If the mixture starts looking curdled, do not worry. It just means the mixture is too cold and it will become smooth once it warms during mixing. Again, buttercream cannot be "over-mixed". If the mixture starts looking soupy, do not panic either. It just means the mixture is too warm (tends to happen when it's a hot day). Just put your bowl in the fridge for 10 - 20 minutes for its mixture to firm up.
Once all the butter has been incorporated, turn the speed back up to medium-high, and add in 1 tbsp of vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp of table salt. Continue mixing the buttercream on medium-high speed for another 5 minutes, or until it's well-incorporated, smooth, and has a silky consistency. Do not worry about over-mixing, as you can't really overmix meringue-based buttercreams.
Making the Roses:
Transfer about 2 cups of the frosting into a separate bowl - we'll be using this for piping roses. From these 2 cups of separated buttercream, take 1 tbsp and transfer it to a separate microwavable bowl. Add 1 drop of gel food coloring to this 1 tbsp of buttercream (I'm using sky blue gel food coloring for the roses), and microwave it for 10 seconds. Microwaving this small portion will allow the colors from the food coloring to take to the buttercream, as food coloring does not readily dissolve into buttercream.
Once you have this small portion of buttercream with activated coloring, mix it back into the 2 cups of buttercream set aside for the roses. Add more or less coloring, 1 drop at a time using that microwaving technique, to achieve the color you want. I'm using only 1 drop here for this, for more natural pale pastel blue roses.
Take a piping bag and attach a number 104 petal tip. Fill the bag with the blue frosting, or whatever color frosting you're making the roses.
I'm using a 3" diameter flower nail. Squeeze a little bit of frosting onto your flower nail. Add a 3" x 3" square piece of parchment or wax paper onto the nail. With the thicker part of your tip facing down closer to the nail, at a slight angle, form a conical shaped base by squeezing the frosting while turning the nail.
Create another smaller cone on top, holding the tip at a slightly sharper angle. Reinforce the bottom cone by going over the base rim with another layer of frosting.
On top of this conical base, create the center of the rose by piping a tight circle with a small opening at the top while turning the nail.
Create the next layer of petals by piping three upside-down U shapes around the center of the rose. Pipe in one direction, while turning the nail in the opposite direction. Start each U shape at the center of the previous U shape.
The next layer will be 5 petals. Use the same technique of piping U shapes, piping in one direction while turning the nail in the opposite direction, starting each petal in the middle of the previous petal.
The final layer will be 7 petals, using the same technique.
When your rose is done, detach the square of parchment paper from the nail, transfer it onto a flat surface, and store your finished roses in the freezer to firm up while working on the remaining roses.
We're going to repeat this to make a total of 7 sky blue roses. Store all the roses in the freezer until you're ready to use them.
Piping the Cake Borders / Decorations:
Attach a coupler to your piping bag so we can switch to different tips easily. Start with a small round tip attached to the coupler. Fill your piping bag with about 1 cup of the plain white Italian meringue buttercream. I'm using a number 2. Fill the piping bag with only 1 cup of frosting at a time for this, to have maximum control when squeezing the frosting. Just refill with more frosting once you run out.
Place your cake on a Lazy Susan. Create decorative squiggly lace design on the bottom half around the cake. Just have fun with it. I'm creating a loopy or squiggly lace pattern that goes diagonally top left towards bottom right about 1 inch apart. Doing this around the cake. Then creating the same loopy or squiggly lace patterns that go top right towards bottom left, again starting the pattern 1 inch apart. This creates loopy squiggles that have an overall crisscross pattern to them.
I'm switching to a number 6 tip. And to create a border halfway up the side of the cake to contain the loopy squiggles, I'm just piping it to look like a hanging ribbon, with a very subtle up and down indentation at regular intervals. Do this all the way around the cake. And it should overlap with some of the loopy squiggles so it visually contains the loop pattern. This is where using the Lazy Susan is helpful. As I'm just keeping my tip in the same position and squeezing, while rotating the Lazy Susan to help create even intervals.
Switch to an open star tip, I'm using a number 21. I'm creating a border around the bottom of the cake, by just creating small overlapping arches. The beginning of the mini arches should be in the middle and underneath the previous mini arch. The effect looks like a twisted rope border. Do this around the entire bottom of the cake.
Keeping the number 21 open star tip, I'm creating a final border around the top edge of the cake. Similar to the border we created with the number 6 tip halfway up the cake, I'm creating a simple ribbon pattern with a subtle up and down indentation at regular intervals. Do this all the way around the cake. Like before, I'm just keeping my tip in the same position and squeezing, while rotating the Lazy Susan to help create even intervals.
Arranging the Roses and Piping Green Leaves:
When the roses are firm, take them out of the freezer.
Add a small dollop of blue frosting on the surface of the cake
where a rose is going to sit. Using scissors or just your hands (but be very careful), one at a time, detach the roses from the square of parchment paper as you arrange them. Place the biggest rose in the very center of the cake. Then place the remaining 6 roses in a circle around the center rose.
Take about 1/2 cup of the plain frosting and mix in 1 tsp of Matcha powder for a natural green color.
Transfer the green frosting into a clean piping bag with a leaf tip. I'm using a number 352.
Wherever there are gaps between the roses, create leaves by holding the tip perpendicular to the orientation of the life you want. Then squeezing while jerking back and forth a bit, then releasing, to create texture in the leaves.
Serve cake at room temperature. Store leftovers in the fridge, and let it come to room temperature before serving so the Italian meringue buttercream softens and for a more vibrant caramel flavor. Enjoy!