I love hydrangeas. I just get so happy when I see them in full bloom. They are elegant yet unpretentious. So it is no wonder to me that I couldn't wait to do try a hydrangea cake inspired by Amanda of I Am Baker. Her cake is gorgeous. Mine passable though, right? It sort of reminds me of some sea creature or maybe something from a coral reef - but if you squint just right, you could see an arrangement of hydrangea flowers. Hopefully. My mom saw me making this cake and at first guess thought it was some sort of hat. Hmph, well it's the thought that counts! And I also happen to think my sea creature creation is pretty.
My idea for this cake was for a chic contemporary arrangement of tightly placed hydrangeas in a cube shaped flower vase - so en vogue these days. I was having issues with the buttercream modifications I made, the weather, and overall, it was just one of them days that a girl goes through... (Monica, anyone?). First, the colors came out a bit more intense than I intended. I love pale green and blushing pink hydrangeas, but I was a little heavy handed in coloring the frosting. Secondly, although I gave this cake a crumb coat, this frosting did not harden enough even when placed overnight in the fridge. This also lead to petal shapes that were not as sharp as I would have liked. The original frosting suggested for this cake, also used in my cake of roses, was perfect. If it ain't broke, well then, that's a challenge to tinker it to make the recipe better? Maybe not. I subbed an organic, non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening I picked up at a health food store, because I was trying to avoid Crisco (which grosses me out). I guess fully-hydrogenated fats are essentiall to piping perfection.
I used on of my favorite chocolate cake recipes from Smitten Kitchen. I made half the recipe and baked up one 12" x 12" sheet and divided into four quarters. I stacked the quarters with a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream filling and carved the top two layers into a dome. Once the whole thing was crumb coated and chilled, I frosted the bottom half to mimic a vase and then went wild on the top for the hydrangeas. The flower was made with a Wilton #104 tip into four petals. Amanda from I Am Baker has a tutorial on how to do this!
These are my hydrangeas just starting to bloom. Isn't spring exciting?