Sky at Dusk: The Newest Cake in My Repertoire


I have another confession to make: the color purple is not one of my favorite colors.  In fact, because of one cousin who insists on giving presents in that particular color and wears that color despite the fact that it does nothing at all for her, I have a particular loathing for the color.  Add the fact that purple is the color of Lent, Advent, and general mourning in Catholic tradition, and you have a color that I just don’t want at all.

But how does one say no to a kid sister who loves the color purple and is actually turning twenty tomorrow?  This is one of the few times that I’ll actually break my rule about baking or cooking anything purple-colored and whip up something that’s striking, unusual, and tasty all at the same time.

I was actually inspired by the blue velvet cupcake recently featured on Epicute but decided to use violet food coloring (I used Ferna.) in lieu of the blue.  What I got was a tender, moist, buttery cake that was a cross between a classic Red Velvet and a French gateau yaourt.  Topped with a lovely lemon cheesecake frosting and topped with stars trimmed off the top of one layer, it is reminiscent of the evening sky: rich, deep-colored, and just plain dreamy.


Sky at Dusk Cake

  • 1 small container plain yogurt + enough milk to make 1 cup
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons strawberry flavoring or 1 tablespoon raspberry vodka
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon violet food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake tins; set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.

Combine the food coloring, cocoa powder, and water into a dark paste.  Cream together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add the strawberry flavoring and food coloring paste and stir until the mixture is a uniform violet.  Sift in half the flour and pour in half the yogurt mix; stir well.  Add the remaining flour, yogurt mix, and salt; mix well.  Combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir into the batter until well combined.

Pour into prepared cake tins and bake for 45 – 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for about ten minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool an additional thirty minutes.  Level the top of one cake; cut stars out of the trimmed portion with a cookie cutter.

Lemon Cheesecake Frosting

  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients until well combined.  Spread half the frosting on the bottom layer of the cake and sandwich with the upper layer.  Spread the remaining frosting on the top and decorate with the cake stars.

Makes eight servings – just.