Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Great Pink Bake Off

Every day in the UK, 32 women will die from breast cancer – that means 1,000 women will die from the disease every month; 12,000 every year. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK during their lifetimes.

These are some incredibly scary statistics. Breakthrough Breast Cancer is the Uk's leading breast cancer charity dedicated to not only increasing awareness and improving early diagnosis but also developing life saving treatments. 

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is recruiting bakers to raise money to fund their groundbreaking research by simply doing something we all love - baking. You can organise a Great Pink Bake Off at work, at school or just among friends any time during October which is Cancer Awareness Month. Fundraising material is available here.

For my very small part, I will donate £1 for every comment left on this post (up to £100). I would encourage everyone who leaves a comment to do the same - any donations are welcome and you can do so here.

Above all be breast aware - do a TLC check (Touch, Look, Check). 

Softest vanilla sponge cake with berry Italian buttercream.

I baked a very pink cake for occasion. It is a very simple recipe which really does make the softest and most fool-proof sponge cake ever. This recipe is the best option for when you are cooking rainbow or ombre cakes - because it contains only egg whites it results in a mostly white sponge which can be coloured very successfully.

The italian buttercream is coloured pink with a berry reduction - which also boosts the flavour. This can be a very simple or very showy cake depending on the occasion. It keeps very well at room temperature and can be made in advance - what more can you ask for?

Vanilla sponge
(recipe from Cooks Illustrated

220gr plain flour 30gr cornflour | 2 1/4 cups cake flour 
240 ml | 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature 
6 large egg whites at room temperature (180ml | fl oz  liquid egg whites)

1 tsp almond extract 
2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod
395gr | 1 3/4 cups caster sugar
4 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp table salt
170gr | 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature cut into small cubes


Italian buttercream
(adapted from Tea with Bea)
6 large egg whites at room temperature (180ml | fl oz  liquid egg whites)
360g | 1 3/4 cups caster sugar
100ml | 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp golden syrup (prevents sugar from crystallising)
500g | 4 1/3 sticks unsalted butter* at room temperature cut into big pieces 
Add enough of the berry reduction to achieve desired colour 
Pink food colouring (optional - if you want to boost the pink colour)

Flavouring for buttercream
500g | 17.6 oz bag of mixed frozen berries
100g | 1/2 cup caster sugar
50ml | 1/4 cup water

To make the cakes, preheat oven to 180 C | 350 F.  Pour milk and egg whites and vanilla into a measuring cup and whisk briefly to combine.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer and mix at very low speed to combine the ingredients. Add the butter and beat a low speed until mix resembles coarse sand. Add 1/3 of the milk/egg liquid and beat to combine for about a minute. Repeat with remaining liquid but do not overmix.

Divide batter evenly between 3x20cm/8inch prepared cake pans and level. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cake will be coming away from sides of cake tin and be firm on top when ready. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the berry reduction, put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil (you don't have to defrost the berries first). Reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is reduced somewhat. Sieve the berries and press down to extract as much juice/pulp as possible. The sauce should not be too liquid or it will spoil the buttercream. Make sure you cool it before using.

To make the Italian buttercream, put the sugar and water in a pan and clip on a sugar thermometer. Bring the sugar and water to the boil. 

Put the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer (make sure it's clean without a trace of grease). When the temperature reaches 110C (230F) start whisking your egg whites till you get a nice meringue. 

Keep an eye on the sugar thermometer and when the sugar reaches 120C (248F) take off the heat. Pour the sugar syrup very carefully down the side of the mixing bowl in a steady stream. 

Keep whisking till the bowl has cooled somewhat, then start adding the butter, a chunk at a time. Keep adding the butter and pay attention to the texture of the buttercream. It may turn liquid at first, then curdle a bit - keep whisking and it will come together.

Once you have glossy peaks, add the berry reduction, a little at a time, while whisking on high. You may want to add a touch of pink food colouring if you want the buttercream to be a vivid pink.

Sandwich your cake layers with some buttercream and add a thin layer of frosting all over the cake. Chill for 30 minutes, then either pipe or smooth buttercream over the cake. I used a piping back with a large star nozzle to do rosettes on top of the cake.


I am submitting this cake to Beantown Baker's 6th Annual Power of Pink Challenge.


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50 comments:

  1. What an amazing cake. And for such a good cause. Well done Lucy. My mum is currently recovering from chemo and radio after an op in January to remove a lump. She is in the clear and all is well, but it could have been caught earlier than it was. Regular checks and tests are so so important. Just a few minutes of our time can help save many moments of discomfort, fear and pain. If not our actual life.

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  2. Thanks so much for your comment. Hope your mum recovers fully. This is really such a scary disease and if we go by the statistics we are all likely to be affected by it - if not ourselves then through someone we know and love.

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  3. Stunning cake, love the flower design! :-)

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  4. Beautiful cake and what a great insentive to comment! My mouth is watering!

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  5. Thanks for the comment - I know October is saturated with charity drives and wish I could do an actual PHYSICAL bake off but am no longer working in an office and my daughter's school has had a similar drive only last week - hence the blog post comment drive.

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  6. I can confirm this is delicious.

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  7. This is a great idea Lucy, well done! Cake looks yummy too x Sorrel

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  8. *MUAH* Reminds me of craving birthday cake while I was doing chemo. Yum! Fabulous looking cake and it is such a great idea to back a great cause. I will definitely try this recipe.

    Norine

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  9. What a lovely thing to do. Hope you are well Lucy.

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  10. Beautiful cake, and a great way to raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Well done. x

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  11. Looking good Lucy. See you at BoB on Thursday? x

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    1. thanks for the comment - and yes definitely. Am thinking I will bring pie of some description....

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  12. These numbers are staggeringly scary. Sometimes we sweat the small things so much we forget how easily our life and that of the ones we love can be turned upside down.

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  13. Ooh I love the look of this cake and what a fantastic idea :) Good luck x

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  14. This is a fantastic idea and looks delicious! I look forward to making the cake :D

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  15. Thanks for the comments everyone... Would be a good thing if everything could be made better with cake - it doesn't solve the big issues but it certainly helps! Hoping to be able to organise an actual Bake Off next year.

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  16. Simply gorgeous cake for such a wonderful cause - and you're so generous in your donation! I'm inspired - both by the cake and your generosity - bravo!

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  17. I love your Rose swirls, so effective:-) A great cause too, there's just too much cancer around!

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  18. this is probably one of the prettiest cakes I have seen. And probably tastes as good as it looks, I am going to try to make it....

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  19. Amazing cake, I'll be making this at the weekend, and for a fantastic cause, thank you!

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  20. Fantastic cake Lucy, what a clever person you are and a very generous one too :) Hope all is well, Toni x

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  21. This cake looks great. I'd love it if you doubled up this post and submitted it to my Power of Pink Challenge as well. All participants will be entered to win a $100 donation to the charity of their choice. Simply add a link back to my blog and my logo and you'll be good to go. More details here: http://www.beantownbaker.com/2013/10/6th-annual-power-of-pink-challenge.html

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    1. Thanks Jen - have sent you an email.

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  22. can it be sent to Finland ? :) good luck with the messages xxx

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    1. Don't think the buttercream travels very well - thanks for the comment!

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  23. Hi again! I'm putting my Greek blog hat on now and adding another comment. I've also shared on both my FB pages, hope someone visits! Best of luck with this great initiative.

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    1. Efharisto - your blog looks beautiful - will pay a proper visit later. Have followed you on Twitter and Facebook too : )

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  24. The cake looks gorgeous - I've yet to try Italian buttercream because I don't have a stand mixer and think hot sugar + me with electric whisk is a bit too risky. This is a great idea for raising money, too.

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  25. The cake looks great! And I think this comment box provides a very good opportunity to point out how impressive this whole blog is, clearly a labour of love. But then that's obvious.

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  26. The cake looks fantastic!! Cooking- and baking skills running in the family I understand from trying your Mother's diverse fantastic stuff sent to Sweden/Finland and your brother's amazing 'kreatopita' the other day! /Nina, Anna's sister

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    1. Thanks for the comment Nina - hope to meet you one day... a trip to Sweden beckons just hope we can all be in the same country for once!

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  27. Gorgeous cake and a gorgeous thought, that buttercream looks mighty fine and Breakthrough will be very pleased! Well done...

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  28. Like everything you bake this look SO delicious. What a lovely idea to raise money for an important charity. Well done x

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    1. Thanks for the comment Anna. Your book covers are really incredible - was just on your blog.

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  29. Fantastic cake! I'm impressed!

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  30. Just love the beautiful roses on the top - and the Italian buttercream is amazingly light. Hope this makes lots of money for Breakthrough - such a good cause.

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  31. oh my goodness..this cake looks so delish!!!! If you could see my daughters face when she saw the cake! She begged me to make it for her on her next birthday!
    Thanks for linking with the Parenting #Pinitparty

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    1. sorry running two linkies this week - meant to say #fridayfoodie :)

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  32. What a gorgeous cake! Kudos for supporting such an amazing cause!

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  33. such a beautifully decorated cake and perfect for the amamzing cause your are supporting. i hope you get 100 comments x

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  34. I love the idea of using berries to colour (and flavour) icing rather than food colouring!

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  35. Inger Grape Olausson27 October 2013 22:38

    A fantastic cake , I´m sure it´s as delicious as it looks! Such a good idea for such a good cause! I wish you all the best! // Inger, Anna´s mother in Stockholm.

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  36. That cake looks incredible! What a great idea for supporting an amazing cause :)

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  37. Many thanks for the comments everyone. I have donated £100 to Breakthrough Breast Cancer today - collating all the comments here, on Twitter and G+

    Hoping to take part in an actual bake off next year!

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  38. Love this traditional style cake but that pink... well!

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  39. Wow wow and oh wow! That looks absolutely amazing! I might try to make this ... one day.

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  40. Holy crap! That's so pretty and looks absolutely delicious. That icing takes some serious skill

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