The Birthday Cakes and a recipe for White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Anushka turned 4 last week and this birthday was extra special as it was the first one we celebrated in India. It was more of a family get-together and Anushka got to play with her favorite cousin and had a fabulous time. Growing up all my birthdays were celebrated this way and this evening brought back such wonderful memories.

This birthday was also very different from her last birthdays as I had so much help getting everything ready, having your parents with you is such a blessing, everything is taken care of. The last year with the Minnie Mouse Party there were so many things to be done and as much as I enjoyed planning and organizing everything I remember having panic attacks every few hours. This time though I felt like I had nothing to do. Dad and made sure the house was clean and organised and looked after Anushka when I was busy, mom took care of the food and all I had to do was bake the cake.

The 4 year old "grown-up" gave me very clear instructions for her cake design. Up until two days before her birthday she wanted a blue cake with lots of flowers and butterflies and then suddenly changed her mind and wanted a pink one instead. I rolled the fondant and let her cut out the flowers and butterflies and she was so excited to see them on the cake.

Her day began with a small celebration at school. I sent a small cake with that she cut with her friends. As cream cakes are not allowed I made a simple chocolate cake with chocolate chips. I had planned to write a message with icing but ended up making a simple fondant topper instead.

The main cake was two layers of chocolate cake and one middle layer of orange cake. I filled the cake with whipped chocolate ganache and frosted with White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Butercream (SMBC).
It was the first time that I made SMBC with home-made butter and while it looked perfect somehow it wasn't sweet at all. I thought of adding some honey or corn syrup but just to be sure I asked the experts on HBG in facebook.  Got some wonderful ideas and ended up adding some white chocolate to the buttercream. I'm not so found of white chocolate but in this case it worked like a charm and the flavor was just delicious! 

White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
18 tbs unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into tablesspoons
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

Make sure your bowl, whisk and all other tools you use to make the meringue are completely free of any grease.
Take the egg whites and sugar in a big metal bowl and place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk gently but constantly until the mixture reaches a temperature of 140 degrees F on a candy thermometer, or until the egg whites are hot and you cannot feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers. 
Remove from heat and whip the hot mixture, until it turns thick and glossy and white and and about doubles in volume. The bowl will be neutral and not hot at this point.
Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating continuously on medium speed until it has a silky smooth texture. The mixture may look curdled at some time, but just keep mixing and it will come together soon!
Mix in the vanilla and the melted white chocolate and whip till smooth and creamy.
Use immidiately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for upto 1 week and whip until creamy before using.