Ruffle Heart Cake

Cakes, Sweet Recipes • 17 Feb 2015

I can’t help but lick the spoon while baking. I’ve always been a spoon licker, in spite of my grounded fear of acquiring salmonella. I’ve succumbed to food poisoning on a few occasions, tethered to a fluid bag once, and yet, the gravitation pull of gooey, creamy cake batter is too strong.


For Valentine’s Day, I made a decadent, rich 4-inch buttermilk cake, recipe courtesy of my lovely friend Michelle Vernier. I had the pleasure of working with Michelle about 15 years ago at my first and only professional cooking job in Cambridge, MA. Michelle has moved on to Portland, Oregon where she pastry chefs at Imperial and Paley’s Place.

Michelle’s cake batter is most definitely lick-worthy. The cake itself has a tart undertone due to buttermilk, buttery and rich but not overly sweet. The recipe is simple but yields one of the most perfect white cakes I have ever baked.

The middle frosting layer is dyed pink with a touch of blood orange juice. The exterior frosting is a standard butter-confectioner’s sugar icing with a hint of shortening for smoothness. The heart is fondant, painted with gold luster dust.


Michelle’s Buttermilk Cake
5 ounces cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 3/4 ounces sugar
3 ounces butter
3 ounces eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces buttermilk

These proportions make a 2-layer 4-inch cake.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle. Butter two 4-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter the parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed. Beat in vanilla and eggs, one at a time.

3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Fold in dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk, until just combined.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and spread with an offset spatula. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until lightly golden or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Cool in pans on a rack for about 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edges of the pan and carefully invert onto counter to remove the cakes. Cool completely before frosting.

4 Responses

  1. Stephanie Rael

    This looks amazing. And the heart is gorgeous!

  2. Roxanna Doxie-Weaver

    Looks good where’s the recipe?

    • I often post pictures of cakes I bake without the recipes, just to show the designs. In this case I used a recipe courtesy of my pastry chef friend. I did not get approval to post the recipe. I’ve had a few requests so I’ll see if she’ll loan it to me and then post it.

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