Celebrate the Lunar New Year with this Pink Peppercorn Pig Cake! A vanilla cake is studded with specks of pink peppercorn, stuffed with an orange whipped filling, and topped with a pink buttercream frosting!
In the cavernous midst of winter, walk down Mott or Hester street, and you’ll see glimmers of red and gold. Shops filled envelopes and decorations. Even on 32nd street off of 6th Avenue, pear and oranges will be gigantic gifts unto themselves. Everything a symbol of renewal, restart, brimming with good luck.
It’s just the right time to wipe the slate clean and celebrate a newer, better year.
This cake is seemingly plain. Just like the zodiac pig, even tempered and loyal, however this Pink Peppercorn Pig Cake has contrasting notes of frankness. There are firecrackers of flavor, with cracklings of pink peppercorns in the cake and a citrus brightening from the whipped filling. Both of these ingredients spark a to contrast against the tried and true creamy blanketing of vanilla buttercream.
There’s nothing to inhibit celebration, what’s bad with hoping for a little more luck?
- For the Pink Peppercorn Cake:
- 3 2/3 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon crushed pink peppercorns
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (12 ounces, 3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs, plus 2 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- For the Vanilla Buttercream:
- 2 1/4 cups (1lb 2oz, 4 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 9 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- Pink food dye
- For the Whipped Filling:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For assembling the Pink Peppercorn Pig Cake:
- Red food dye
- Chocolate chips or chocolate frosting/ganache
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 1 (8 inch) cake pan and 1 (8-inch) dome pan with baking spray.
- Whisk cake flour, peppercorns, baking powder, salt, and baking soda, set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar until combined, about medium speed for 1 minute. Add oil and continue beating, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl and paddle frequently.
- Lower speed, add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Beat in vanilla. Scrape bowl and paddle frequently.
- With mixer on stir speed, add dry-mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry-mixture.
- Give batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula to ensure even incorporation.
- Pour batter among prepared pans, baking until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist, not wet, crumbs—that’s 19 to 24 minutes for the 8-inch round pan and 45 to 50 minutes for the 8-inch dome pan. Let round cake cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto wire rack to cool completely. Let dome cake cool in pan.
- Beat butter on medium speed until smooth, lump free, and pale in color, about 4 minutes. Scrape bowl and paddle frequently.
- Lower speed and gradually add powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, salt, and pink food dye. Beat on medium speed until smooth, don’t over beat, or else you’ll have a lot of air bubbles in frosting. It can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated, but needs to get to room temperature before assembling.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip heavy cream until frothy, about 1 to 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Add sugar, orange zest, and vanilla. Whip until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Use a serrated knife to to level off round cake. Place onto cake board, securing with a bit of frosting. Apply a layer of frosting, using an offset spatula to even out the frosting.
- Fill dome with Whipped Filling, inverting dome cake on top of round cake.
- Pipe a thin crumb coat of frosting. Refrigerating for 20 minutes to chill. Pipe a second, even layer of frosting smooth out with a bench scraper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pipe ears and nose, using a round tip.
- Use a paper towel to paint food dye onto cake, creating blushing onto ears and near mouth. Use chocolate chips or chocolate frosting/ganache to pipe on eyes and nostrils.