Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ombre Margarita Layer Cake

Have you ever seen this shower curtain from Anthropologie?  

It's called the Flamenco shower curtain and I fell in love with it at first sight.  Alas, I have yet to have purchased anything from Anthropologie at full price and, to my disappointment, our apartment shower has a single glass door and no need for a curtain.  

This cake is margarita flavored- margarita cake layers filled with an orange lime curd and topped with a slightly salty swiss meringue buttercream.  I thought this design would fit the flavor perfectly.  

For the Margarita Cake Layers (makes 3 7-inch layer cakes) 
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 
2 cups, plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar 
4 large eggs, plus 1 white at room temperature 
3 tbsp lime zest 
3 tbsp orange zest 
3 cups GF flour (3/4 cup white rice flour, 1 cup sweet rice flour,  3/4 cup potato starch, 1/2 cup sorghum flour) 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice 
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice 
3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease three pans and line each with a circle of parchment paper.

Sift baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flours together.  Set aside.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs and egg white one at a time.  Mix until fully combined.  Add lime zest, orange zest, and vanilla extract.  

Add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix, alternating with sour cream.  Mix until fully combined, but do not overmix.  Pour batter evenly into each pan, smoothing the top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cake springs back to touch. 

For the Lime Orange Curd Adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Curd Recipe
  • 3 limes
  • 1 medium sized orange
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of 3 limes and one orange. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is fine and incorporated into the sugar.
Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the orange and lime juice and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool.  Refrigerator until fully cold and thickened.  
For the Margarita Simple Syrup:
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp Triple Sec or Cointreau Liquor 
3 tsp good quality Tequila (I used Milagro)
1/4 cup sugar
Combine sugar and liquids into small sauce pan.  Heat until sugar is fully dissolved. Cool and set aside.
For the Salted Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
5 egg whites
3 3/4 sticks butter, unsalted
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Triple Sec or Cointreau Liquor
3 tsp Tequila
3 tbsp lime juice
Heat water in a saucepan until simmering.  Combine egg whites, kosher salt, and sugar in the metal bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer. Create a "double boiler" by placing mixing bowl inside pan with simmering water.  Whisk continuously until mixture reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.  
Place bowl back onto stand mixer and mix egg whites/sugar with whisk attachment until fully cooled and thick.  While the mixer is running, cut butter into small cubes.  After mixture is cooled, add butter little by little, mixing well after each addition.  

Once butter is fully incorporated, switch to a paddle attachment and mix for another 2-3 minutes.  Add  vanilla, Triple Sec, Tequila, and lime juice.  Mix until fully incorporated.

To Assemble:
Once cake layers are fully cooled, brush each with simple syrup and divide curd evenly between two middle cake layers.  Refrigerate cake for an hour, or place in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to frosting.  Lightly frost entire cake with white swiss meringue buttercream.  Set aside a bit of white swiss meringue buttercream for frosting top of cake.

Using a toothpick, add a very small amount of Wilton "Leaf Green" gel food coloring (or another comparable shade of green).  Mix using stand mixer until desired light green color is reached. Fit a pastry bag with a coupler and petal tip.  Holding pastry bag perp straight down, with the narrow part of the petal tip facing you, make a side by side motion to create ruffles.  Once the light green ruffles have been formed around the cake, create the aqua shade.  Add a bit of blue food coloring until desired color is reached.  Repeat another layer of ruffles under the first, using the same motion.  Add a bit more blue and green food coloring until darker aqua color is achieved.  Do last layer of ruffles, finishing at the bottom of the cake.  

If desired, use  remaining white buttercream to create top layer ruffles.  Create the ruffles by making a side by side motion, with the wide part of the tip facing you this time.   I also sprinkled some white sugar sprinkles onto the center, unruffled white portion of the cake.  It created a cute effect and nice texture (very margarita-y).


  1. i absolutely LOVE this cake!! you will be hired to make this for my someday wedding. - alison :o)

  2. Thanks Alison! It would be an honor :)

  3. The cake looks awesome! Can the 3 cups of GF flour (I'm guessing that's gluten free?) be substituted exactly for 3 cups of AP flour? I'm hopeing to make this for a Cinco de Mayo party next week at work.

  4. Thanks Lisa!

    Yes, you can't always substitute regular flour and gluten free flour cup to cup, but in this case you can! I actually adapted this recipe from a Barefoot Contessa Lemon Cake recipe found here:

    I hope it turns out great!