These Mini Loaf Cakes are made with dried hibiscus soaked in milk and topped with natural-colored frosting. Light, floral, and purple, these mini cakes are perfect for a birthday celebration!
Another year older, another year wiser, and another year FUNKIER!
To celebrate 26 journeys eating around the sun, I made cake (as I should). But this isn’t just any birthday cake. It’s got a special ingredient–dried hibiscus.
On this glorious National Pink Summer Day, I thought it fitting to add this tea. After a 15-minute steep in hot milk, the hibiscus releases its bright magenta color. When added to the cake batter it turns a delicate light purple. For extra pops of pink and bursts of flower power flavor, add the re-hydrated hibiscus right into the batter.
The natural sweetness, tartness, and stunning color of hibiscus make this a unique cake on its own but topping it with frosting colored with turmeric and matcha will take it to the next level.
For a perfect cake, make sure “room temperature” ingredients truly are; this helps ensure the cake bakes evenly. And if you don’t have mini loaf pans, you can use muffin tins or a regular cake pan.
This recipe is adapted from a chai tea batter on Sally’s Baking Addiction and is an excellent way to use up the entire hibiscus flower. Serve them at special events like weddings, baby-showers, or birthdays!
Hibiscus Mini Loaf Cakes
MAKES: 4 MINI LOAVES⎪ DIFFICULTY: ADVANCED⎪ FUNK: CASUAL
Mise en Place
For the Cakes:
- ¼ cup dried hibiscus flowers
- ⅓ cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1 ¾ cup cake flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
For the Buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- turmeric, for coloring
- matcha, for coloring
COOKS NOTE If you can’t find hibiscus, substitute with TAZO Passion Tea.
1. STEEP THE TEA
Rinse hibiscus under water to remove any grit. In a small pot, bring milk to a boil. Add the hibiscus and steep for 15 minutes. Strain, reserve the re-hydrated flowers. Make sure the hibiscus milk is room temperature before adding to the cupcake batter.
2. MIX DRY INGREDIENTS
Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
3. MAKE THE BATTER
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until smooth and creamed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl. Beat in the egg whites at high speed until combined. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl again.
4. ADD THE HIBISCUS
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly pour in the hibiscus milk and reserved re-hydrated flours. DO NO OVER-MIX. The batter will be light purple.
5. BAKE THE CAKES
Pour the batter into 4 mini loaf pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
6. MAKE THE FROSTING
With a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. With the mixer running on low, add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt. Increase to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Divide the frosting into three separate bowls. Add 2 tablespoons of turmeric to one, and 2 tablespoons of matcha to another. Mix until combined, adding more turmeric or match for brighter color.
7. DECORATE THE CAKE
Spoon each frosting into its own piping bag (or ziplock if you’re savage like me). Snip off a corner, squeeze, and squiggle on the cooled loaves.