Monday, August 29, 2011

Starry Night cake

As I was browsing through some favorite baking blogs the other day, I happened upon some cakes that Amanda of I am Baker had made using a Wilton #233 grass tip.  When I saw her ocean scene, I immediately thought of the painting Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. 

One of my favorite paintings.  I have it on my mouse pad.  It's on my bucket list to see in person (Museum of Modern Art in NYC).  Love, love, love. 

First we must discuss the cake itself.  Using the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe painstakingly created by Glory from Glorious Treats blog, I tweaked the ingredients to make a pumpkin/vanilla butter cake. 

Amanda and Glory are two of the most talented bakers imaginable - you could spend HOURS oogling their sugar art!  Many thanks to them both for the inspiration!

Following Glory's recipe,  I doubled it to make a 7 x 11 inch rectangular cake.  I divided the batter in two, and to one half added:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 drops copper amerigel food coloring

To the other half of the cake I added:

1 tsp. vanilla butter emulsion (T J Maxx purchase!)
2 drops of electric yellow amerigel food coloring. 

After spraying the pan, I added the two batters in swirls and globs (highly technical baking terminology).  Into a 350 degree oven for about 28 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  I cooled it on a rack in the pan for five minutes and then removed it from the pan to cool completely. 

This is what it looked like after the globbing and swirling and before baking.

After licking the batter off the spoons, I decided that this was going to be one REALLY GOOD cake.  And for such a great tasting cake, I wanted to make an interesting and not overly sweet mousse to fill it with. 

3/4 cup apple cider
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp. rum (or you could use rum extract)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla butter emulsion
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice

Dissolve gelatin in apple cider.  Whip heavy cream and powdered sugar till soft peaks form.  Gently add remaining ingredients and chill.  Once again, I licked the spatula and declared it a winner.  I could really see using these components  together to make a trifle at the holiday.  Hmmm, needs a third ingredient.  Any ideas out there?

Now for the tricky part - splitting an already thin cake.  It wasn't pretty, but I got the job done. I then covered the cakes and put them in the fridge for a couple of hours to make them easier to handle. 

While they chilled I exercised to make up the all the batter licking. 

To put it all together:  I gently topped the bottom layer with the mousse and placed the top layer, well, on top.  As for the icing, any buttercream or Swiss meringue would work for this.  I used a standard buttercream this time, because my beloved SMB was going to take me too long and I didn't have enough butter on hand.  A quick crumb coat

and it was back into the fridge while I colored the icing.  As you can see, the crumb coat was done in a medium blue.  I tinted the remaining icing dark blue, black, white, yellow, and goldish orange. 

It was then time to load my pastry bags and give those Wilton #233 grass tips a try.  I placed my Starry Night mouse pad in front of me, took a deep breath and dove in.  And you know what?  It was fun.

And now a few words about my muse.  Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch impressionist painter.  He suffered from anxiety and mental illness (attacking Gauguin with a razor and subsequently cutting off part of his own ear...) and took his own life at the age of 37.  Starry night is perhaps his greatest work, and certainly his most recognized. 

I think if he were alive today and seeing this cake, he might come after me with a razor.

But if he did, I would cut him a slice of cake - it is fantastic in flavor; light and delicate in texture.  With the mousse filling, it is just heavenly. 


And then just to be safe, I would hide my serving knife  ;)

Linking with
Stonegable on the menu Monday
Sunday Showcase
My Romantic Home
Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Between Naps on the Porch
The King's Court 4
Gingersnap Crafts
Lady Behind the Curtain
Savvy Southern Style
Sweet Little Gals
All Thinz Related
Chef n Training
Sweetology 101
Running with Glitter
A Stroll Thru Life
Funky Polkadot Giraffe
Today's Creative Blog


  1. oh my gosh, oh my gosh. i am in awe right now. my jaw is literally hanging open. this is the coolest thing EVER!!!!

  2. Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, I think you might have started a trend -- that is, remaking your favorite artwork onto cakes. This is such a wonderful cake and I think he would be pleased. I am stunned really by your work of art. I am pinning it. Joni

  3. OMG! What a nice surprise to come here and look at this cake!! Starry Night is one of my favorite paintings too! Loved it! I'm adding it to my pinterest. Now. :)

  4. Oh wow! This looks SO amazing and sounds like it tastes amazing too! I want to hear more about how you recreated the painting in icing--you make it sound so easy!

  5. Lisa, you are amazing, very very amazing. xo

  6. Your cake is amazing! It turned out great-enjoy:@)

  7. Awesome decorating job! I bet it tastes great too!

  8. Beautiful! You are so artistic! I love the color of the cake before you frosted it too! And that mousse sounds delicious!! I am in awe...Jina

  9. This is SO cute!! LOVE!! And would love it if you would link this project up at my new turquoise lovin' party!!

  10. Awesome and you didn't even have to lose an ear. If you've got a minute, I'd love for you to add it to my party:

  11. very fun cake, nothing better than edible art!

  12. That is gorgeous! Such great work.

    I've started my own linky party (Crazy Sweet Tuesdays) and would love if you would join sometime! The party is open from Tuesday through Thursday evening. Hope to see you!

  13. This is soooooo neat!! One of my favorite paintings as well.
    You did such a great job with your depiction of the painting and I can tell by the ingredients it tastes awesome.
    Thanks for sharing, Ginger

  14. LOL! This is truly an amazing cake! I am beyond impressed! You did a great job! And love the humor!

  15. This cake is unbelievably beautiful! You're quite the artist. LOL At "I think if he were alive today and seeing this cake, he might come after me with a razor." :D

  16. I just love that painting and you did a great job with it. On the inside of that great painting is a yummy looking surprise. What a great recipe! Hope you are having a great week end and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  17. OMG...OMG...OMG! As a HUGE art bufff, I am so in love with this cake. This year we are doing Impressionists at my daughters school for Art Adventure and this would be a BLAST to bring for them at the end. SO NEAT!! You amaze me!

    Tea Party Tuesday link up is open again, would love to have you back!


  18. I am BEYOND IMPRESSED! Wow! This is amazing! Thanks so much for linking up to Tuesday Talent Show! I would love to have you stop by and link up again tomorrow with more great projects!

  19. This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen! You are incredibly talented!!! Thanks for making my day!

  20. Vincent would be proud of you. I love that painting! Great job on the cake.
    Ciao for now...