purple pastel birthday cake | confections of a dietitian

Every July brings the agonizing decision of what kind of cake to make for my birthday. I make cakes, cupcakes and cookies for friends here, so everyone was asking me if I was making my own cake this year. My answer? “Of course I am!” This is my one chance to make exactly what I want, instead of what everyone else wants. The problem is that there are so many options. One of my favorite things to do is read cake blogs and cookbooks. (What? That’s not normal?) I would love nothing more than to bake and eat every cake I read about, but I’m a dietitian and always have a nutrition tally running through my head. Plus, I don’t even want to know how many miles of running with Archie that would require. It’s way too hot here for that and even he doesn’t have that much energy.

purple pastel birthday cake | confections of a dietitian

I kept envisioning an all-vanilla birthday cake, but I also wanted it to be more fun than that. My forever favorite flavor combination is chocolate and raspberry so I knew I needed to work that in as well. After thinking about different combinations and agonizing for weeks, (I’m not even kidding. My friends will attest to that because they all kept asking me what I was making and I gave a different answer each time.) I came up with the most perfect 27th birthday cake ever. Four layers of alternating vanilla funfetti and chocolate cake filled with raspberry compote and whipped mascarpone cream and frosted with Swiss meringue buttercream; it was a cake dream come true.

purple pastel birthday cake | confections of a dietitian

purple pastel birthday cake | confections of a dietitian purple pastel birthday cake | confections of a dietitian

For the cake layers, I tried out a new vanilla cake recipe and used my go to chocolate. The vanilla cake is firm but not dry and full of vanilla flavor. I love the bursts of color from the sprinkles. They are fun no matter what the occasion! The chocolate cake is my go to for a reason. It’s really easy to make, has a deep chocolate flavor and is very moist. Hot coffee is the not so secret addition, adding another layer of depth to the chocolate flavor. If coffee isn’t your thing, don’t worry, you cannot taste it in the cake. The two cakes are great both together (chocolate and vanilla are meant for each other, right?) and with the filling. Let’s talk about that filling for a moment. I wanted something that wasn’t too sweet but brought additional flavors to the cake. I would have loved to use fresh raspberries, but they are extremely expensive here so I settled for a raspberry compote instead. The compote is tart, but not overly so and balances the lightly sweet, airy, whipped mascarpone cream so well. I could just eat them together with a spoon (which I may or may not have done. Anything goes on my birthday!). The key with the filling is to not add too much. It is very light compared to the heavy cake layers, so you’ll want to pipe a buttercream dam around the edge of the cake. As my husband likes to say, you can never have too much buttercream. And speaking of buttercream, if you haven’t made Swiss meringue buttercream yet (SMB for short), you need to give it a try. It may seem a little daunting at first, but this amazing tutorial from Sweetapolita will get you through it. The process of making SMB is actually pretty forgiving, once you know what to look for. Unlike a traditional buttercream, SMB is not as sweet, perfectly butter and so smooth. It flavors really well and I love adding anything from vanilla to berry purees or, my favorite, salted caramel sauce. For this cake, I decided to add vanilla and almond extracts and it was the perfect finish to this towering cake.

purple pastel birthday cake | confections of a dietitian   purple pastel birthday cake | confections of a dietitian

I used the pastel swirl method to decorate this cake, which I’ve done on a few cakes in the past. I love it because it’s so simple and gives the cakes a really unique effect. You can find a great video tutorial here. Somehow, my cake ended up looking a lot like the one in the tutorial, although that was not my original intent. I decided on dark purple, light purple and teal colored frosting with a combination of silver and purple nonpareils and purple sugar sprinkles. The best part about this design is that you can choose any combination of colors and sprinkles you like! There’s no limit to the creativity (or amount of sprinkles) here!

purple pastel birthday cake | confections of a dietitian

This cake was the perfect end to my 27th birthday celebration. Earlier in the day, Colin and I went snorkeling at one of our favorite spots, which happens to be one block away from our house and he even booked a couple’s massage for us. The highlight though, was the excellent dinner with great friends at one of our favorite restaurants. All of them raved about the cake and, I have to admit, it was delicious. The pops of color from the sprinkles, moist chocolate cake, tart and creamy raspberry whipped mascarpone filling and smooth buttercream was everything I wanted it to be and more. 27 is off to a great start!

purple pastel birthday cake | confections of a dietitianIMG_3747