Hello, hello, my baking friends!
I’m so happy to be here with you, truly! Okay, so a lot has happened in the past year, and so much thought when into if, when and how I could re-engage with my inner blogger. The truth is, things have evolved so much with my world in sprinkle-land, also known as Sweetapolita Inc., I won’t get into too much detail here, because as you may have noticed, all things biz now have their own category. If you look up, you’ll also notice that there are several new categories, and this opens up a whole new world for us as friends. It turns out I have way more to say about life!
When I was really searching within the cockles of my heart to figure out what I had to put out into the universe in terms of blogging, it took me awhile to really pinpoint what I needed to feel inspired to dive back in. Running the sprinkle business did swallow me whole, and I am very proud of what it’s grown into, but I’ve sincerely missed this aspect of my life. So I thought and thought, and I discovered that one thing I knew for sure was that I strive to evolve; it’s so important to me and my approach to blogging is no exception. While I will always love to bring you my favourite cakes and confection recipes/ideas, I feel I have so much more to share with you on this platform and beyond.
I have an unnatural heap more to say on the topic, but I will save that for other posts. Now would be a great time to talk cake!
So, I made this cake because I felt inspired by a recent sprinkle medley we created at the shop called…Internet Boyfriend (Speaking of internet boyfriends, I have some things to share in my new Affairs of the Heart category–stay tuned, hehe! We are going to have so much fun together, guys). This colour combination sings to me, and I felt these colours and this cake was an accurate expression of my real cake style: a mix of where I started, but with the modern twist. And honestly, I have actually never made a navy blue cake, and I felt compelled. Funny how something so simple can inspire…
That said, when I was photographing this cake, I realized how dark it really became–I think it was darkening by the minute! So it does appear more black than it normally would, but in person it was a beautiful shade. I love the way these sprinkles look against the dark navy! I added a bit more of the tiny silver hexagons against the sides for a lovely glittery touch. Yes, the whole thing does remind me very much of my Glam Rock cake, but that’s kind of the best part–you don’t always have to reinvent, you can modify and with a few small changes offer a completely new flavour/colour combination, while perfecting your techniques.
Those colours! They get me every time. Just so springy and sweet, but styley and sophisticated. I can see them against so many frosting shades: baby blue, yellow, pastel pink, bright pink, white (that would be amazing) and so many more. I think that’s just the reason us bakers love them so much–in one sprinkling you can honestly create cake magic, and all within just a few moments. Kind of limitless, really!
Okay, so I know the inside looks a little crazy, but we’ve done crazier, right? And trust me, it’s delightful!
I made this a blueberry vanilla-bean, buttermilk layer cake and filled it with fluffy cream cheese filling and frosting it with the navy blue fluffy vanilla bakery frosting. All three of these recipes are modified from The Sweetapolita Bakebook, and rejigged to make a 6-inch round, 3-layer cake.
The cake layers are simply the Best-Ever Buttermilk Cake, scaled down to fit the 6-inch size, and then I tossed wild blueberries in the mix. I didn’t want to weigh down the batter too much, but next time, I might add another 1/2 cup or so. In my opinion, you can never have too many blueberries (aside from potentially risking your cake’s stability ????). This buttermilk cake is stable enough for stacking and so flavourful (even without the blueberries). The vanilla bean paste adds such an authentic flavour and the butteriness makes me happy.
For the filling, as I mentioned, I did a small batch of my Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting. I have to say that when I was writing the book, this one I was so determined to get it right (I mean, I was determined to get them all right, haha, but you know…). So many cream cheese frostings are super dense or if they are on the lighter side, they can be problematic when it comes to the cream cheese causing lumps, etc. This one is my go-to because it’s so light and fluffy, yet stable enough to hold up as a cake filling. I’ve modified the recipe to yield exactly enough to fill this three-layer cake, but it would also work to fill up to an 8-inch, three layer cake (just with slightly thinner layers of filling each).
For the navy blue frosting, I opted to create a part batch of the Vanilla Bakery Frosting, as it’s sweet and fluffy, and simple to make. It does require a ton of whipping to get the fluffy-factor, but always worth it. It smooths so nicely too, making it perfect for the clean frosting process and, of course, the frosting poofs.
Alas, the sprinkles! Topped with generous layer on top and around the perimeter, they really are the magic here. You could really use any sprinkles you love, and they would bring a new flair each time. The design is timeless, in my opinion.
You’ll notice that I’ve also changed my recipe plugin, so it will look a little different than before, but I think it will be more functional for you! If you have any issues whatsoever, please let me know :).
So, let’s make the cake!
Makes one 6-inch, round 3-layer cake.
Three moist layers of blueberry buttermilk cake, filled with fluffy cream cheese filling and frosted with a rich navy blue bakery frosting all topped with stunning Sweetapolita "Internet Boyfriend" sprinkles!
- 2 cups (230g) cake flour, plus more for berries
- 1 1/3 cups (275g) superfine sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (150 ml) unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 3 whole eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) wild blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (185g) confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 1 (225g) package cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
- 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 Pinch of salt
- 3 1/4 cups (410g) confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream or milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 12 drops Royal Blue gel food colouring (this can vary)
- 4 drops Regal Purple gel food colouring (this can vary)
- 1 drop Black gel food colouring (this can vary)
- 1 cup (200g) your favourite sprinkles (I used Sweetapolita "Internet Boyfriend")
Preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃). Grease the bottoms of three 6 x 2-inch round cake pans using a baking spray or with butter and parchment rounds.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, add the cold butter once piece at a time. Beat until all of the butter is incorporated, about 3 minutes. The mixture should have a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
In a medium measuring cup with spout, combine half of the buttermilk and the vanilla bean paste. In a separate measuring cup, gently whisk the eggs and remaining buttermilk.
Increase the mixer speed to medium-low. Gradually add the vanilla mixture and beat for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the egg mixture in three additions, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat until well combined, 2 minutes.
Toss the blueberries with a little flour and fold them into the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
Bake two pans in the centre of the oven until a wooden pick inserted into the centre comes out with just a few crumbs, 25-30 minutes (this can vary depending on your oven). Repeat with the final layer. Let the cake layers cool in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the side of the cakes and carefully turn them out onto wire racks. Peel off the papers (if you used parchment rounds) and let cool completely.
The cake layers will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the cream cheese, and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. (Be sure not to over-beat at this stage, or it will break down the cream cheese into a very thin consistency).
The frosting will keep covered at room temperature for up to 6 hours, and then refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, about 8 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla and almond extract.
Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and beat for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
Add the food colouring, and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. The colour will darken as it sits, so let stand for about 10 minutes and assess colour. Add additional drops of each colour, if desired.
The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable.
Put your first cake layer top-up on an 6" round cake board or 8" plate, and spread one-half of the cream cheese frosting on top. Repeat with remaining layers, placing the third cake layer top-down. Make sure that your layers are straight and lined up with the ones below. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill for at least 15 minutes.
Remove the cake from the fridge and, using a turntable, if possible, frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of the navy blue frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the fridge and return it to the turntable. Cover the cake with a thick, even and smooth layer of the navy frosting using an offset spatula, reserving about 1 1/4 cups of frosting for the piped top border. Return the cake to the fridge and chill for another 20-30 minutes.
You will want the frosting for the buttercream "poof" border to be very soft, in order to achieve the appealing peaks. If your frosting is more firm at this point, warm frosting in a small heatproof bowl for about 8-10 seconds, and stir, otherwise you will skip the heating step. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the softened frosting and pipe some buttercream "poofs" around the top perimeter of the cake.
While your cake is still chilled but slightly tacky to the touch, pour your sprinkles into a medium bowl and gently press sprinkles onto the bottom third of the cake, all the way around, letting the excess fall back into the bowl. You can also put the cake on a cookie sheet and let the excess sprinkles fall onto the sheet. Return the cake to the fridge until the buttercream poofs are very firm, about 30 minutes. Pour more sprinkles atop the flat exposed surface of the top of the cake. Cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
- For cake layers, I typically use Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pans. For this cake I used the 6-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. You can bake this cake in three 7-inch round pans, or two 8-inch round pans, if you prefer.
- For the vanilla bean paste, I used Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, but you can substitute for a pure vanilla extract.
- For the gel colours, I use AmeriColor Royal Blue, Regal Purple and Super Black but there are certainly other combinations that will yield the navy blue colour.
- For the cake assembly and frosting, I always use the Ateco 612 Revolving Cake Turntable, as well as an Angled Icing Spatula and Straight Icing Spatula.
- For the poofs on top of the cake, remember that the key is very soft frosting and an extra large round plain tip (I used Ateco #809). And, as always, if you make a mistake or aren’t happy with your poofs, you can simply remove it and do it again (I do this often, hehe). I use this tip with an 18" Piping Bag.
- I always use a Silver Embossed Round Thin Board for my cakes–it’s perfect for moving the cake to and fro while decorating, and of course transporting. For this cake, I used the 6-inch board.
- And don't forget the sprinkles, friends! I used 1 cup (so 8oz volume jar) of Sweetapolita Internet Boyfriend sprinkles for this cake, and I really think it makes the cake, but of course it would still look lovely with many other varieties!
Happy baking, and I will see you very soon, friends!