Saying Goodbye and a Pink Ombre Cake

by Suzanne on August 18, 2013

in Sweet Things, Tidbits & Miscellaneous

Pink ombre cake|

Many of you know we hosted an exchange student from Germany for the school year of Aug 2012 – June 2013. We hadn’t really planned to host an exchange student until last year one of our friends began placing students and she called and asked us if we were interested, then called us a few more times until we said yes. I am so glad we said yes to our exchange student Michelle. I remember we were all nervous those first few weeks but as time went on we formed a special bond with Michelle that I’m sure now will last a lifetime. It’s not an easy thing to be an exchange student to leave all your family, friends and lifestyle at home and travel halfway around the world to complete strangers and hope you will be liked and that you will like them. It also isn’t easy incorporating a new person into your family that you haven’t raised and expecting them to just fit into your life.

Pink ombre cake |

I’m happy to say that although it can be difficult for everyone involved it was one of the best experiences our family has had. We truly got a gem of a girl that was very easy to like and love :). She learned how to fit right into our family rather quickly and she became one of my good friends. We had a great year with Michelle, we took her to Florida and Hawaii and Colorado with our family and had such a good time. Michelle became a beloved person at our church too and many people were sad to see her leave as we were as well. Michelle and I learned that we are quite a bit alike in many ways and one of ways is that we both love food and sweets! But we both know we have to keep it in check thru exercise. We both love chocolate and the color pink and so when we had a good-bye party for her I told her I would make her a pink ombre cake and she was so happy.

Michelle collage

One of the best things we got to do is to meet Michelle’s parents and sisters. Her family came here to pick her up and we got spend time with them doing a few fun things around here. I felt that meeting her parents made this experience come full circle for us because we loved Michelle and then we got to meet the people who make her who she is, and they were just as wonderful as her. I had been told many great things about her family too so meeting them was a pleasure, now we feel like we formed a friendship with her family that will also last throughout our lives.

Michelle Hawaii Collage

Michelle firs football game

I am missing my German girl and her sarcasm, and how she told me all the latest happenings in her life. She is now home and very busy with her life and catching up with family and friends and of course her much missed boyfriend. I know she isn’t missing me or us as much as we are her but that is the way things should be since she is back to her life in Germany. I can’t wait to see her again hopefully next year when we get to travel to Germany. I’m glad though that we have things like instant messaging and skype to keep us close. I wanted to share with you some photos from our time with Michelle and the cake I made her. I made a simple chocolate (her favorite) and filled it with a cream cheese and chocolate pudding filling. Then I decorated it with Swiss meringue buttercream with a rose tip turned upside down to make it look like a ruffle. Everyone loved the cake but I unfortunately was too busy with the party to take a good shot of the cake cut into pieces.

Michelle Farwell Collage

I really didn’t intend for this post to be a recipe post but I’m sure some of you may want the recipe for the frosting or how I did the filling. I made the cake from my favorite box mix and doctored it up by using buttermilk instead of water. When I’m in a rush for time I know I can always count on the my favorite box mix to turn out great. I usually fill my cakes with some yummy filling which makes most people think it’s all homemade and that’s just fine with me. This one I filled with a chocolate cream cheese filling, Michelle loves chocolate this fit the bill perfectly.

Saying Goodbye and a Pink Ombre Cake

Ingredients for Frosting:
10 egg whites
2 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 lbs. (unsalted butter) at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 small Box instant chocolate pudding
1 cup milk (the more fat the better here)
4 oz. cream cheese

Step 1: Bake cake and following directions according too package and let cool completely.
Step 2: While cake is baking, make the frosting by heating the egg whites and sugar in a double boiler. If you don’t have one, just put a medium size pot with 3 inches of water in it on the stove top. Heat the water to boil then turn down heat and let it simmer. Put the egg whites and sugar in to a large bowl big enough to cover the pot you are using, set it on top of the pot.
Step 3: Whisk egg whites and sugar constantly while heating to warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved. When warm to the touch put the egg white sugar mixture in to the bowl of a stand mixer and turn on high and beat for 8 minutes.
Step 4: While the eggs are beating unwrap the butter and set aside.
Step 5: When timer goes off after 8 minutes turn down mixer to low and add a tablespoon of butter to the meringue mixture and let it incorporate. Continue adding a tablespoon of butter at a time until all the butter is incorporated and the mixture looks like frosting. Take off the wire beater and replace with paddle attachment. Add the vanilla and turn on the mixer to low and incorporate the vanilla.
For the Filling:
Step 1: In a medium size bowl beat the cream cheese with hand mixer until creamy. Add the pudding mix and a third of the milk and mix on low until incorporated. Continue adding milk until all is incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembling the cake:
I recommend viewing this post I did awhile back on the site The Mother Huddle, don’t judge the old photographs it was before I knew much about food photography :). If you will click Β on the highlighted words they will take you to another website with the information you will need or have a question about.
Step 1:Β  Use a serrated knife and cut each cake in half so there are four cakes.
Step 2: Put one of the cakes on the cake platter or cake plate you plan to use. Put frosting in a bag and pipe a circle around the outside top of the cake you put on the platter, it will act as a dam so the filling doesn’t come out the sides.
Step 3: Put a third of the filling on top of the cake that you just piped the dam along the top. Smooth out with a spatula then put the next cake on top and repeat the process until you end with the last cake on top.
Step 4: Crumb coat frost your cake which just means spread some frosting all over the cake smoothing it out in a thin layer not worrying about the crumbs. This will seal the crumbs on top the first layer of the cake and then refrigerate so the crumb coating gets hard. Then frost your cake with the rest of the frosting how you would like.
Step 5: I used white frosting and 2 shades of pink. I like the Wilton colors for my frosting because it’s available at most large supermarkets like Walmart. The tip I used for make the ruffles on this cake is a rose tip #104 that I turn upside down.


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1 Sophie August 18, 2013 at 7:55 am

She was clearly a beloved girl who stole your heart, Suzanne! She will be deeply missed by all of you! What a glorious & well decorated festive cake! It looks smashing & superbly appetizing too!

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us all! πŸ™‚ xxx

2 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

Aww, what a glorious cake to celebrate with. You were so lucky to get a winner.

My sister and I both had exchange students in the past when our kids were younger and we’re still in touch year(s) later. πŸ™‚

3 Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} August 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm

What a stunning cake! I am sure that everyone enjoyed it. We had a japanese exchange student live with us when I was a teenager – it is a great experience for both sides. πŸ™‚

4 Erin @ Texanerin Baking August 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I’m on the verge of tears! You must have been an amazing host mom.

I was an exchange student in Sweden when I was 16 and absolutely HATED my host mother. Everyone in town her knew her to be crazy but she was a doctor so I’m assuming that’s why the exchange organization just went with it. Right after Christmas, I was so lucky to move in with my classmate and his family. Then it turned into the best year of my life. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I hope you’ll be able to visit Michelle and if you ever come to Berlin, let me know!

Oh and the cake is gorgeous. So pretty and perfect and pink! πŸ™‚

5 Suzanne August 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Thanks so much Erin and I will let you know if we get to Berlin. I hate those horror stories of exchange students, we were sure worried to have a bad experience.I’m glad it worked out for you in the end. Unfortunately, I think that anyone who says yes as the host family they take because they have so many students who want to come to America.

6 Laura (Tutti Dolci) August 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Your cake is just gorgeous, beautiful pink ombre! So glad you had a great experience with your exchange student!

7 Suzanne August 23, 2013 at 2:36 am

Thanks Laura!

8 Vicki Bensinger August 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Suzanne this cake is stunning! Did it take long to ice the cake? I’ve seen others done like this but it didn’t seem like it took long until I just read Wiltons instructions. Now it looks like it could take forever. So pretty. I’d love to try this.

9 Suzanne August 23, 2013 at 2:39 am

Thanks Vicki, it really didn’t take long for me to make this cake maybe about 4 hours. I recommend practicing in a non cake surface. The frosting truly makes decorating a cinch, it flows beautifully through any tip.

10 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts August 21, 2013 at 11:04 am

The cake is absolutely gorgeous! So glad you had such an amazing experience with an exchange student. Michelle was very lucky to have you to stay with!

11 The CafΓ© Sucre Farine August 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm

What a beautiful experience Suzanne. Michelle looks like a sweetheart and I know she loved this gorgeous cake. Bravo to you!

12 Suzanne August 23, 2013 at 2:25 am

Thank you Chris, we had a great time with her.

13 Amy (Savory Moments) August 22, 2013 at 5:48 am

What a lovely post and it sounds like a wonderful experience. Beautiful cake too!

14 Suzanne August 23, 2013 at 2:20 am

Thank you Amy!

15 CCU August 24, 2013 at 12:10 am

That is lovely to host an exchange, it is so much fun πŸ˜€
Great experience and way to end it as well!


16 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic August 24, 2013 at 4:20 pm

What a great experience for your family. This cake is so pretty! I also use box mix every now and then and doctor it up with special homemade touches πŸ™‚ Like you and Michelle, I also love chocolate and the color pink!

17 Patty September 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm

How did I miss your stunning pink cake-WOW!!! Presenting this cake for a special goodbye was such a wonderful way to celebrate. Looks like you all had a great experience with your exchange student πŸ˜‰ I hope you make it over to Germany for a visit soon!

18 Nami | Just One Cookbook September 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Hi Suzanne! Your story was beautiful and you are the best American host mom all the exchange students can wish for. As I have an experience in home staying here, I even appreciate more of your family’s generosity and kindness. I am sure it was a great experience for Michelle too. Really enjoyed reading your post, and how happy everyone is! And your pink ombre cake… WOW! So gorgeous!

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