Little girls, all adorned in their pretty pink bows with baby-doll dresses. Pink is for girls, blue is for boys. That’s just the way it is, right?
Would you believe little boys were once dressed in pink. Men wore red, so pink for little boys symbolized the man he would one day become. Pink was considered the stronger color, therefore more mescaline and better suited for boys. Just as once upon a time dresses were worn by both boys and girls.
Somewhere along the line, pink became associated with femininity, and all things for the little lady were wrapped in pink. This was right around the time Rosie the Riveter traded in her blue coveralls for June Cleaver’s apron and pearls.
While the color we know as pink has existed since the first sunset, naming that color pink didn’t come along until sometime in the 17th Century. I’m not sure what word was used to describe the color before. Pink was first used as the name of a particular flower, and eventually it made its way into everyday language to describe anything with a similar hue.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, today is National Pink Day. To celebrate the day, I thought a lovely Ombré Cake would be fun. If the recipe seems familiar, you would be right. We baked the same cake before, only in blue to celebrate the Nativity of our Blessed Mother. Same cake, just a different color.
Pretty in Pink Rosette Ombré Cake
2 boxes French Vanilla White Cake Mix
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
½ cup Butter, melted
1 cup Water
1 cup Milk
Pink Food Coloring as needed
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare four 8-inch round cakes with Cake Release or brush with butter, then dust with a fine flour. Set aside until ready to use.
In a mixing bowl, beat vegetable oil, butter and water until blended. Add eggs, one at a time and incorporate into liquid. Add cake mix, beat 30 seconds on low, then slowly increase speed and beat 2 minutes on medium, until well blended.
Divide the batter evenly into four bowl. Leave one bowl without coloring, set aside.
To the second bowl, add 20 drops of food coloring. This is the bottom layer. To the third bowl, add 10 drops of food coloring, and to the remaining bowl at 5 drops. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Tap the pans lightly on the counter to release any air bubbles that may have gathered in the batter.
Place cake in oven and bake until just done, about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes and continue to cook until cake is just cooked, checking often to avoid over-cooking.
Remove the cakes from oven, cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pan one at a time, invert onto a cutting board, then invert again onto a cooling rack is right-side up. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
While the cake cools, make the Vanilla Filling and Buttercream Frosting.
French Vanilla Filling
2 boxes Instant Vanilla Pudding
5-1/2 cups Cold Milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Empty vanilla pudding mix into a large bowl. Add milk, whisking until the pudding begins to thicken. Add vanilla extract, continue to whisk until pudding is thick, about 3 or 4 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down lightly on the pudding. Refrigerate to chill to allow pudding to fully set.
1 cup Solid Vegetable Shortening
1-1/4 cups Butter, softened
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
12 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
8 tablespoons Heavy Cream (approximately)
Pink Food Coloring as needed
Cream vegetable shortening and butter in a mixing bowl. Add Vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, sift powdered sugar. Add sugar to creamed butter mixture 1 cup at a time. Whip, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, until all the sugar has been added. Frosting will appear dry and stiff.
Once all the sugar has been added to the creamed butter, add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Reserve 1 cup of frosting and set aside. Divide the remaining frosting into three bowls. Divide the frosting into 4 parts, then mix 2 parts together. This will be the top layer, which requires more frosting. It will be shaded the lightest color.
To the first bowl add 20 drops of food coloring to achieve a deep pink. To the second, add 10 drops of coloring for a gradually lighter pink. To the third, add just 5 drops for just a hint of color.
To Assemble and Decorate:
Beginning with the deepest pink cake, place the cake on a cake board or serving platter. Trim the crown so that the cake is flat. Pipe a small ring of the plain white frosting around the edge. This will prevent the filling from dripping down the side of the cake. Fill the center of the cake with 1/3 of the French Vanilla filling.
Place the next deepest pink cake on top. Trim the crown so that the second layer of cake is flat. Repeat with a ring of frosting around the edge, filling the center with French Vanilla. Repeat with the third cake layer.
Top with the cake layer that was left plain. Trim the crown as before. Spread a crumb layer of frosting over the sides beginning at the bottom with the deepest color and gradually work toward the top with lighter and lighter shades of pink. The transition in color will serve as a guide when piping the rosettes as well as to hide any small gaps.
Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill well for about 1 hour. This will stabilize the cake and make it easier to work with. While the cake chills, place each shade of frosting in its own pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Wrap tips to prevent frosting from drying out.
When ready to pipe, place the cake on a rotating cake stand. Starting at the bottom, pipe a row of roses along the cake using the deepest shade of frosting. You’re going to pipe three rows of roses, so make sure each row covers about 1/3 the height of the cake.
Continue with a second row of roses in the next lighter shade of frosting. Place the roses directly above the bottom layer.
Finish with one last row of roses in the lightest color. Next, decorate the top of the cake by piping a ring of roses at the edge of the cake, and continue in a circular pattern.
If there are any large spaces between roses, you can pipe small stars into them to fill the space.