Baking - Desserts, Decorating

All Natural Garden Cake

Last week I was testing buttercreams, and this week I got to put them to use. The base was a chocolate beer cake, made with a local micro-brew porter, which gave the cake a subtle coffee flavour.

Finished cake from the top.

I was making a garden cake and wanted to use only natural colourings in the decoration. I needed green for the grass, so used spinach juice to colour the icing (using the Ermine frosting recipe). The recipe called for one cup of whole milk, so I used 3/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup spinach juice. It was a fairly pale shade of green, but looked much better, in my mind, than most chemical colours.

I made little vegetables out of marzipan to plant on top of the cake, and for those I used blackberry and blueberry juice (beets), carrot juice (carrots), turmeric (yellow zucchini) and spinach juice (lettuce and leaves). I also added a sprig of fresh parsley to the top of the carrots and a sprig of fresh oregano to the beets for the greens of each.

Colouring the marzipan was a bit of a challenge, because you need a thick consistency in order to blend it in well, and juices are not thick! I added a bit of tapioca starch to each and heated them to thicken, and then was able to blend them in quite easily.

I did use a couple of candies (pumpkins and strawberries) which would not qualify as natural, but the majority of the cake was. It was a fun project to work on. I was glad to be able to experiment more with the natural colourings, and to have had such success with them.

2 thoughts on “All Natural Garden Cake”

  1. This is SO captivating, and what ingenious use of natural ingredients for colours. The cake you made for the family tasted as luscious as it looked!

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