Some people dream in colour. I dream in cake. No seriously it happens. It is a wonderful thing as the nighttime is filled with the sweetest of thoughts.
The inklings of a cake idea will come into my mind during the day, but how it all comes together is developed throughout nights slumber. Is that weird? It especially occurs when there is a collaboration of ideas going on between myself and the person requesting it or when there is a special event I want to commemorate.
Maybe the plans come together at night because that is when the body is most relaxed and creative thoughts can really flow. I am not sure the real reason why, but sweet dreams are a regular occurrence.
Images of how it will look often appear mid sleep during the prime time of awake & deep ‘do not disturb’. Pictures of how it should be constructed pop-pop-pop up. At first acknowledgement I am all for this. ‘Hey, I need to remember that for tomorrow.”, “Oh yes, that is cool!”. After awhile though the reality of waking up at 6am also comes to mind as I try to swipe left to bypass them in my mind so that some ZZZZs can be obtained (may work for apps, but not thoughts sadly).
Along with these images comes a sense of how the cake design with flow. Lines of buttercream creat movement that catch the eye. Will the cake reflect a sense of moment? Will it evoke a certain feeling? Cakes are great for creating a little slice of fantasy that carries with the whimsy of dreams.
The flavours are not to be overshadowed by the decoration touches. ‘It looks great, but how does it taste?’. I make my cakes for real people, real events not just some pretty pictures. It has to be outstanding and make you remember that first taste days, months and years later. Anything less and in my mind I have failed.
Last fall my coworker and his bride visited from another province and he still randomly mentions the orange rosemary honey cake I made for them. A true testament to a perfect bake and a magical night.
So my dreamy vision for this cake started with some dancing bunnies. You know signs of Spring and that in it’s own is enough reason to celebrate. So these rabbits are not just moving willy-nilly on the cake, no they have a May pole to dance around and party down to. It is Spring after all so it does seem plausible. The movement of them hopping around in a circular motion on top of a hill of grass and neatly contained on a basket weave stage gives us some hope that Spring will be here soon.
Even before the first true signs began to appear it has haunted my dreams and would flow over to the the day until it was finally made. By that time the decoration and the nutty pistachio with honey lemon buttercream were all planned out. The cake was baked, the icing made and in a flash it was a completed reality. My Hubby went upstairs to help our daughter and came down to find it was done. What!? Hey, when you have had this cake on your mind for a month it doesn’t take long to put it all together. After her nap my daughter was pleasantly surprised to find the cake. Oohs and aahs and the fact that she immediately wanted to touch it was all I needed to confirm that it was something made from dreams.
I think we all need to find a way for our dreams to become reality. I can not draw and my painting is really far from what you would call professional so baking is a way that I can imagine, express myself and make it real. The outcome is the closest that it will ever come to the visions of dreams.
It is sweet dreams of cake indeed and who would want anything less. Sweet cake dreams to you tonight.
Pistachio Spring Celebration Cake
Dancing bunnies are celebrating! Enjoy this pistachio and buttercream as the signs of Spring arrive.
- 1 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup water, ice cold
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 -3 cups icing sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup full fat sour cream
- 1/2 lemon finely zested & juiced
- Green icing colour gel
- 1 paper straw
- 4 ribbons
- 8 dancing bunnies on toothpicks (or characters of your choice)
Honey Lemon Buttercream Icing
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 2 round 9 inch pans by greasing and placing parchment paper on the bottom of each.
- In a food processor place the pistachios and pulse until it is chopped to a course consistency. Remove 1/4 cup and set it aside in a medium sized bowl. Continue to pulse the remaining pistachios until it becomes a light powdery meal. Add the pistachio meal in the food processor to the ones in the bowl along with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and stir.
- In a stand mixer cream the butter until pale in colour. Add in the sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat the mixture until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and scrape down the sides of the mixture. Continue to beat until combined.
- With the stand mixer on low speed, add in 2/3 of the pistachio mixture and combine. Add in 1/2 of the ice water and combine. Repeat with remaining pistachio and water until all has been combined. Scrape down the sides and blend lightly to ensure all is mixed in.
- In a separate bowl add in the egg whites with the cream of tarter and beat on high until it reaches soft peaks. With a spatula fold in the egg whites into the batter mixture.
- Pour the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 40-45 minutes of until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on a cooling rack. Remove from pans and let cool completely.
- With the stand mixer beat the butter until pale and light & fluffy.
- Add in the icing sugar 1 cup at a time until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in the honey, sour cream, lemon zest and juice and combine.
- In a small bowl spoon in 1/4 of the prepared icing add in a small amount of green colouring gel to tint it a soft green shade. Set aside.
- With a offset spatula add icing the top of the first cake layer and a crumb coat of icing to the side. Place the second cake on top of the first and repeat with a layer of icing on the top and crumb coating.
- Prepare an icing bag with a wide flat icing tip and fill it using the white icing. Start to build the basket weave around the outside of the cake. Place one long line down the side of the cake vertically. Add on 3 evenly spaced horizontal lines starting and ending about an 1/2 an inch on either side of the horizontal line you just made. Pipe another vertical line over the ends of the horizontal lines you just made. Repeat with the horizontal lines but this time in the space left between the ones you previously piped (alternating). Repeat and refill your icing bag as necessary until the whole side of the cake is covered.
- Prepare another icing bag with a grass icing tip and using the green icing to pipe a grassy dance floor on the top of the cake.
- Take the paper straw and cut 4 even slits on the top. Cut 4 lengths of ribbon long enough to reach over the cake. Tie a knot just short of the middle of the ribbon, allowing some ribbon to remain sticking out. Cut the folded ribbon and have it sticking up on top of the straw. Place 2 ribbon sections through each slit in the straw. Place the bunnies on the cake so it looks like they are dancing around in a circular motion. Place the straw in the middle of the cake. Attach one end of the ribbon to a character, trimming ribbon if necessary.
Honey Lemon Buttercream Icing