Birthday Watermelon Cake

Just as I posted a celebration dessert at the end of last year, here is another celebratory dessert. This was for my friend Lisa’s birthday, which happened a little while ago, but I am also using it to celebrate 5 years of being with my husband (we started dating 5 years ago yesterday). I am thankful to have both of them in my life! You might find a watermelon cake strange for the middle of winter, but if you want to bring a bit of summer to your cold days, or if you just happen to love watermelon as much as Lisa, then it’s perfect. The appearance is not perfect because my recipe did not make enough frosting, so I recommend making 1.5 batches of it, or going nuts and doubling it (if you like eating frosting, or have other treats to decorate). I came across the idea for decorating the cake from Bird on a Cake. I used her ideas, along with Smitten Kitchen’s Best Birthday Cake recipe.

IMG_3736

Ignore the visible layers through the frosting--more frosting would have helped.

Ignore the visible layers through the frosting–more frosting would have helped.

To create even more of a watermelon feel, I used candied cacao nibs in the cake. I made the mistake of not mixing them in, though, so they stayed on top, which is not ideal when you have to cut off the tops of the cake domes. So, don’t be like my pictures: mix the chocolate chips into the cake batter. To compensate, I added more of the nibs to the pink frosting that I used between the layers. This worked well, so you could just do that. If you wanted to make cupcakes, I could see making the cake base as-is, then making just a small amount of green frosting to draw a circle around the tops, then filling in the rest with pink frosting and mini-chocolate chips.

IMG_3738

Originally, the watermelon flavor was supposed to come from watermelon puree as well as jello mix. I discovered that the puree has enough flavor and I like that it does not taste artificial. If you are like me and have never cut open a watermelon before, don’t do what I did…I used a chef’s knife and it got stuck! That was scary. Then I followed the directions from this helpful page here, used a bread (serrated) knife, and started by cutting off the ends. It made it much easier to work with.

IMG_3655

Directions for Birthday Watermelon Cake

  • 1 recipe watermelon cake
  • 1 (or 1.5 as I said above) recipe watermelon frosting
  •  1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • About 1.5 cups watermelon chunks

IMG_3657

Puree the watermelon chunks in a blender until smooth. Use a mesh strainer over a measuring cup to strain the puree, throwing out the solids.

IMG_3658

I made a little extra, but didn’t need it.

You should have about 3/4 cup liquid. Set aside.

Watermelon Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 480 grams cake flour
  • 10 grams baking powder
  • 4 grams baking soda
  • 3 grams salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 400 grams sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk (I used buttermilk powder and it was fine)
  • 1/2 cup watermelon puree
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
  • Red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 9-inch round cake pans by spraying them and placing a parchment circle on the bottom. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, (buttermilk powder, if using) and salt. With your mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy (a few minutes).

IMG_3659

Add in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.

IMG_3662

On low speed, add in the buttermilk (water, if using the buttermilk powder) and watermelon puree. Depending on your mixer, you might want to stir it by hand. The mixture will look curdled and weird, but it’s okay.

IMG_3663

Add the flour mixture a little at a time until just blended.

IMG_3666

Add a little food coloring at a time to get it to the right color.

It matched in real-life, but the picture didn't show up properly.

It matched in real-life, but the picture didn’t show up properly.

Stir in  the chocolate chips, if using.

Spread the cake batter evenly into the cake pans. I used 8 inch pans, so I left out about 3/4 cup batter, just to feel safe.

IMG_3675

Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

IMG_3677

Allow to cool on a wire rack in the cake pans until room temperature. After they are close to being cool, you can start making the frosting.

Watermelon Frosting

Adapted from Bird On a Cake

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 Tablespoons watermelon puree
  • Red and green food coloring
  • 2 Tablespoons cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips (optional)

With your mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy (a couple minutes). Add in the sugar, a little at a time on low speed. Then, add in the puree.

IMG_3682

Add more or less sugar/puree to reach the correct consistency. If adding more sugar, be sure to sift it into the frosting. Take half of the frosting and add green coloring to it.

IMG_3685

Color the other half with red coloring to make it a watermelon pink. Take 3/4 of the pink frosting and add chocolate chips (if using).

IMG_3687

Assembling the Cake

Remove the cakes from their pans. Slice off the tops of the cakes to make them flat (if needed) using a serrated knife. Take some of the frosting and put a bit on your cake stand in the center. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of a cake and place it on top. Spread the pink/chip frosting on top of the cake, making it even.

IMG_3688

Place the other layer on top, also removing the parchment. Take some of the green frosting and paint a crumb coat on the sides.

IMG_3690

Use some pink frosting to do a crumb coat on the top. (A crumb coat is just a thin layer to help the frosting stick later.) Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

When the cake is ready, spread the green frosting around the sides first, using an offset spatula. If the frosting is too loose, sift in some confectioner’s sugar to stiffen it. Continue until the edges are smooth. Spread the plain pink frosting on top of the cake, spreading out the edges. Use green frosting to make a small circle around the edge. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top of the pink, pressing down slightly, and that’s it!

IMG_3695

Directions for Birthday Watermelon Cake (without pictures)

  • 1 recipe watermelon cake
  • 1 (or 1.5 as I said above) recipe watermelon frosting
  •  1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • About 1.5 cups watermelon chunks

Puree the watermelon chunks in a blender until smooth. Use a mesh strainer over a measuring cup to strain the puree, throwing out the solids. You should have about 3/4 cup liquid. Set aside.

Watermelon Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 480 grams cake flour
  • 10 grams baking powder
  • 4 grams baking soda
  • 3 grams salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 400 grams sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk (I used buttermilk powder and it was fine)
  • 1/2 cup watermelon puree
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
  • Red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 9-inch round cake pans by spraying them and placing a parchment circle on the bottom. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, (buttermilk powder, if using) and salt. With your mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy (a few minutes). Add in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl as necessary. On low speed, add in the buttermilk (water, if using the buttermilk powder) and watermelon puree. Depending on your mixer, you might want to stir it by hand. The mixture will look curdled and weird, but it’s okay. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until just blended. Add a little food coloring at a time to get it to the right color. Stir in  the chocolate chips, if using.

Spread the cake batter evenly into the cake pans. I used 8 inch pans, so I left out about 3/4 cup batter, just to feel safe. Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack in the cake pans until room temperature. After they are close to being cool, you can start making the frosting.

Watermelon Frosting

Adapted from Bird On a Cake

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 Tablespoons watermelon puree
  • Red and green food coloring
  • 2 Tablespoons cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips (optional)

With your mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy (a couple minutes). Add in the sugar, a little at a time on low speed. Then, add in the puree. Add more or less sugar/puree to reach the correct consistency. If adding more sugar, be sure to sift it into the frosting. Take half of the frosting and add green coloring to it. Color the other half with red coloring to make it a watermelon pink. Take 3/4 of the pink frosting and add chocolate chips (if using).

Assembling the Cake

Remove the cakes from their pans. Slice off the tops of the cakes to make them flat (if needed) using a serrated knife. Take some of the frosting and put a bit on your cake stand in the center. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of a cake and place it on top. Spread the pink/chip frosting on top of the cake, making it even. Place the other layer on top, also removing the parchment. Take some of the green frosting and paint a crumb coat on the sides. Use some pink frosting to do a crumb coat on the top. (A crumb coat is just a thin layer to help the frosting stick later.) Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

When the cake is ready, spread the green frosting around the sides first, using an offset spatula. If the frosting is too loose, sift in some confectioner’s sugar to stiffen it. Continue until the edges are smooth. Spread the plain pink frosting on top of the cake, spreading out the edges. Use green frosting to make a small circle around the edge. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top of the pink, pressing down slightly, and that’s it!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Birthday Watermelon Cake

  1. YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS CAKE! It still blows me away that you were so thoughtful to spend all this time making something just because you knew I’d absolutely love it. I appreciate you so much! It was everyone’s favorite at the party. I am soooo lucky to know you 🙂 I am also still in love with how the texture and flavor turned out by replacing some liquid with the watermelon juice. The cake was beautiful.

    I am so grateful you are in my life too! Who else will push me/challenge me/sweeten me like you do?! 🙂 Congratulations on your five years with K!!

  2. Pingback: Deep Dish Chicago Style Pizza | fudgingahead

Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.