Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Great Grape Birthday Cake Experiment

When I asked the girl, some weeks ago, what flavors of birthday cake she wanted this year, she promptly responded, "Strawberry and grape."

Grape.  Really.

She opted for strawberry cake and grape cupcakes, instead of a 2-tier cake.  And she wanted her cupcakes to have rainbow frosting like she saw on the Wilton cupcake book in the grocery store.  So I got to mix rainbow colors again.  Joy!

But back to the grape cake.  There are really no recipes for grape-flavored birthday cake on the internet. At least not that I could find.  I found cakes with actual grapes in them, but that's not what she wanted. So we got to experiment.

First, I used my scratch strawberry cake recipe and adapted it for grape.  The cupcakes tasted good, but they didn't really rise very well.  And they were a strange color.

So I set the rest of the batter aside and we moved on to plan B:

These cupcakes rose and were purple.

Here's a side-by-side:

The only problem was, the scratch cupcakes tasted better.  At least to the adults.  The kids liked the mix better.

In the meantime, I looked over and saw the rest of the scratch cake batter sitting on the counter.  I decided to add some purple food coloring and bake them.


After sitting around for a while they rose higher, and the color was much better overall.  Maybe my baking powder needed time to activate.  Maybe the batter needed to rest.  Who knows?

So we ended up with a massive amount of grape cupcakes.  Honestly, they weren't bad, but they were definitely grape-y.  Not something I will make regularly, but they were fun for a kid's birthday party.  Especially with the rainbow icing.  Which turned out to be an obscene amount on each cupcake, in case you were wondering.

Topped with fondant "cherries". I didn't want to use regular maraschino cherries because they leak.

Most importantly, though, the girl was quite happy with both her cake and her cupcakes.

Here's the recipe for the scratch cupcakes:

Grape Cake from Scratch
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 3-oz package grape gelatin
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup thawed frozen grape concentrate, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour two 8" round cake pans or line 24 muffin cups.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar, butter and dry grape gelatin until fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Combine dry ingredients and mix in alternately with the milk.  Blend in extracts and grape concentrate.  Divide batter into pans and bake.  30 - 35 minutes for cake, 18 minutes for cupcakes.

Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost and enjoy!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! They really were fun. The kids went crazy over them!