Hummingbird birthday cake colored with Matcha green tea and freeze dried raspberries

For my daughter's first birthday I was looking for natural food coloring options for the hummingbird and flower decorations while using silky and delicious Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
Hummingbird birthday cake with rosettes

For the pink flower and the hummingbird throat, I used freeze dried raspberries (ground and sifted) from Trader Joe's and Matcha Green Tea powder to color the buttercream.
The hummingbird beak and legs are painted with chocolate ganache, applied with a toothpick.  For decorating I used Wilton 1M tip to make white rosettes on the sides and small flowers on top. A simple round tip was an easy solution for decorating the hummingbird. The cake filling is a sauce made with frozen raspberries, lemon juice, and cane sugar heated in a sauce pan and cooled in the refrigerator before using (takes about 20 minutes to prepare).

Swiss Meringue Buttercream colored with freeze dried raspberry powder

Raspberry sauce for filling the cake

Vanilla birthday cake layers and frosting

Cake batter recipe, makes 3 x 9 inch (23 cm) cake layers
3 1/2 cups - 4 cups (448 grams - 512 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated cane sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) milk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven at 340F (180C). Prepare baking pans by lining with lightly oiled parchment paper. Sift flour in a bowl, then add baking powder, salt and set aside. In a different bowl (stand mixer bowl, if using) beat butter with a paddle attachment for 1-2 minutes until soft and smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar to the butter and continue beating for about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time. With mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of flour, then half a cup of milk, followed by 1/3 of flour, the rest of the milk, and finish by adding the rest of the flour. Combine well the batter and check if it forms a smoothly running ribbon while lifting the paddle attachment or a spoon with batter. If it is too runny, gradually add a few tablespoons of flour, while checking the consistency. Divide between the pans and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then on the cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before decorating or store tightly wrapped in a plastic wrap for decorating later.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe 
170 grams egg whites, room temperature (6 eggs whites or 18% of total ingredients)
340 grams granulated sugar, (double the amount of egg whites, 36% of total ingredients)
450 grams butter, room temperature (46% of total ingredients)
960 grams = 100%

Prepare water bath by filling a pot with an inch height water and bringing it to boil. Place room temperature egg whites into the mixing bowl and whisk for a minute. Add sugar to the egg white bowl and transfer to the top of the water bath. Reduce heat to low, to avoid rapid steaming of boiling water bath. Mix by hand with spatula or whisk attachment the egg white and sugar mixture over water bath until all sugar granules melt (5 - 10 minutes). After all sugar granules get mixed in, transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and using whisk attachment beat on high speed for 7-10 minutes, until the volume quadruples and the outside of bowl does not feel too warm to touch (otherwise butter will melt and the buttercream will become liquid). To achieve a silky and smooth Meringue Buttercream, reduce the speed to low and start adding room temperature butter one tablespoon at a time with 10-second interval or until each tablespoon gets mixed in. After all butter is incorporated, continue beating for a minute or two at low speed to remove air bubbles. Add coloring at this point. I used freeze dried raspberries to achieve pink color and Matcha green tea powder for green color. For smooth texture use coffee or spice grinder to grind raspberries then sift the powder to remove coarse parts. The Swiss Meringue Buttercream can be stored at room temperature for 2 days, in the refrigerator for 1 week or a couple of months in the freezer. It can be whipped to silky and smooth consistency after removing form the refrigerator.

Happy celebration!

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