Mystical Rosette Ombré  Cake

September 12: Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Our Lady inspires us to create special cakes in her honor. Last year, we posted our version of a “Stella Maris (Mary, Star of the Sea) Cake.” This year, we made a “Mystical Rosette Ombré Cake,” since one of Mary’s nicknames is the “Mystical Rose.” The name is meaningful to us as we were married at the Mystical Rose Chapel, which overlooks iconic Diamond Head, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

For this particular cake, we used two techniques that are quite trendy today—ombré to create color gradations inside of the cake and rosette piping to decorate and texturize the outside of the cake. The cake has a pretty presentation on its own but when sliced, it reveals the subtle surprise of a blue hue!

Make a “Mystical Rosette Ombré Cake” for the Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Recipe

For the blue ombré cake

  • 2 boxes of white cake mix (for 3 8-inch round cakes) or 3 boxes (for 3 12-inch round cakes)
  • egg whites
  • oil
  • water
  • blue food coloring
  • rose water flavoring (optional to taste; see Notes)

Directions

Grease and flour 3 round cake pans. Prepare the cake mix according to the package instructions, adding a few drops of rose water to flavor the batter (optional). Divide the batter into 3 equal portions. Use the food coloring for each portion, doubling or tripling the amount of the drops to create distinct color gradations.

Pour the batter into the pans (be sure to remember which pan contains light, medium and darker colors). Bake according to the package instructions. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the frosting

(Adapted from Wilton)

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (we used Crisco brand all-vegetable shortening baking sticks)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we recommend clear vanilla extract)
  • pinch of salt
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4+ tablespoons of cream, milk or water

Directions

Make 2-3 quantities of the frosting recipe (enough to frost the 3-layered 8- or 12-inch round cakes). In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening with the vanilla and salt. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Pour a little bit of liquid to thin it out until the frosting reaches spreadable and piping consistency. Smear a little frosting on the bottom of a cake board and invert the darkest color cake onto it to secure in place. Generously spread frosting on top of this cake.

Layer with the medium color cake on top. Spread frosting on top of this cake. Finally add the lightest color cake on top. Spread frosting on top of this cake and crumbcoat the sides until completely covered.

Outfit a pastry bag with Wilton tip 1M. About an inch from the bottom of the cake, make a rosette by swirling a circle from the center outward. Space an inch apart and repeat until the bottom row of the cake is covered with rosettes. Continue making rosettes on the side of the cake and on top. Refrigerate to set the frosting. Bring the cake to room temperature about half an hour before serving.

Place on a cake pedestal and top with a Mary figurine (optional). Slice to reveal the ombré coloring inside the cake. Use a sharp knife to make the first cut deep into the cake. Wipe the frosting off the knife. Make a second cut into a wedge shape. Serve on plates. Always wipe the frosting off for each cut to make clean slices and showcase the ombré.

Notes

  • Rose water may be found in the specialty baking aisle of grocery stores or at Indian and Middle Eastern food markets. Be careful not to add too much to the cake batter or else the floral flavor will be overpowering.
  • We actually made a “Mystical Rosette Ombré Cake” for a student prayer social to celebrate the Vigil of Mary, Queen of the Apostles (September 5). We made another one for a parish potluck at our church to observe the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8).
  • Make a Mary cake for her birthday or one of her many feast days. Search our blog for other cake recipes for inspiration and ideas.

Stella Maris Cake

(Mary, Star of the Sea Cake)

Stella Maris Cake

September 12: Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Islander’s baptism and confirmation name incorporates “Maria,” a custom from her ancestors of Catholic Spain who traditionally choose the name of a patron saint so the baby will grow up having some of the role model’s virtues in life.

Islander was inspired by her namesake to make a cake in her honor for one of the Marian holidays. She was also inspired by a talented aunt, coincidentally named Maria, who gifted us with our wedding and anniversary cakes. For our 10th anniversary in 1996, Auntie Maria B. decorated a spectacular sea shell themed cake, as our vow renewal ceremony was at the beach in Islander’s hometown in Hawaii.

Stella Maris Cake

We attempted to recreate the sea shell cake on a smaller scale and named it the “Stella Maris (Mary, Star of the Sea) Cake.” We originally made the dessert to celebrate Our Blessed Mother’s birth week with Islander’s brother at one of his Marianist-hosted event. But we are posting the preparation pictures on our blog on the Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Recipe

(Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns by Anne Byrn)

For the white cake (“A Basic and Beautiful Wedding Cake”)

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 packages white cake mix (we used Duncan Hines brand)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

Directions

Line 6-, 8- and 10-inch round cake pans with wax paper circles and grease the bottoms and sides. In a large bowl, sift the flour with the white cake mixes and sugar. In a larger mixing bowl, place the water, sour cream, eggs, egg whites, oil, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat well with an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until the batter is well-incorporated and smooth.

Stella Maris Cake

Pour about 2 ½ cups of batter into the 6-inch pan, 3 ½ cups into the 8-inch pan and 6 ½ cups of into the 10-inch pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for about 45 minutes, adjusting the time as necessary. Check with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and lightly flatten the tops of the cake. Make the frosting while the cakes cool completely.

Stella Maris Cake

For the vanilla crumb coat frosting (Tahitian vanilla buttercream)

Directions

Smear a little frosting on the bottom of an 8-inch cake plate or board and invert the 6-inch cake on top. Peel off the waxed paper. Repeat for the 8-inch cake on a 10-inch cake plate or board and the 10-inch cake on a 12-inch cake plate or board. Brush off any crumbs. Generously drop a heaping mound of frosting on top of the cake(s). Use a spatula to spread it out over the top of the cake and down to the sides. The cake(s) should have a thin layer of frosting to act as an adhesive to the fondant.

Stella Maris Cake

For the decorations

  • blue fondant (we used Satin Ice brand baby blue color)
  • vegetable shortening
  • white chocolate or vanilla candy wafers (we used Wilton brand white Candy Melts)
  • edible pearl dust (we used Wilton brand white color)
  • silk flowers, craft ribbon and mini Mary statue

Directions

Knead the fondant with a little vegetable shortening until it is pliable. On a clean, flat surface, make a large ball with the fondant, flatten it, then roll out to 1/8-inch thick to the diameter + two sides + two inches for each cake. Carefully drape the fondant on top of the cake. Quickly smooth out the top and sides. Cut off excess fondant from the base of the cake. Repeat for the other remaining cakes.

Stella Maris Cake

Measure out the placement of the edible pearls. Using a small round tip, pipe a small dot of frosting and position the pearls in an alternating pattern. Lightly press them onto the cake. Trim the base of the cake with ½-inch wide ribbon, securing the ends with frosting.

Stella Maris Cake

Melt the white chocolate or vanilla candy wafers and pour into sea shell-shaped molds. Refrigerate until solid. Unmold and paint each shell with edible pearl dust.

Stella Maris

Position the candy sea shells randomly on the cakes. Add other decorations, such as matching silk flowers, birthday candles and a mini Mary statue, and display on cake stands.

Stella Maris Cake

Notes

  • Compared to Auntie Maria’s cake, ours is not as professional-looking but it was a project that we both worked on together. Islander baked, frosted and decorated the cakes and Highlander rolled out the fondant and measured out the position of the edible pearls.
  • This cake almost turned out to be a Food Flop. The craft ribbon was too wide at 7/8 inch (Walmart did not have ½ inch ribbon in stock) to trim the base circumference of the cakes. The color coating looked too turquoise and Tiffany blue rather than baby blue as printed on the fondant container. Fortunately, the cakes and candy sea shells did not melt and survived the transportation from our house to the venue in South Texas (temperature was about 95 degrees F). On arrival, however, Highlander accidentally dropped the last tier on the table, smashing part of the cake and tearing into the fondant, but Islander covered up the damage with candy sea shells and turned the cake towards the back.
  • Our Stella Maris cake was a labor of love for Our Lady. Learn more about her and look at her list of names from the litany at the Mary Pages website.