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.
APPLE CIDER RUM MOUSSE:
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.
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And then just to be safe, I would hide my serving knife ;)
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