Celebrate the fiery Aries in your life with a cake created in their honor. Featuring spiced chai cake, creamy coconut buttercream, and extravagant saffron meringue, this cake is sure to keep their flame going!
Preheat the oven to 350°F (150°C). Grease 3 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray and line the bottom of each with a circle of parchment paper.
Make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Add the anise seeds and butter and mix on medium speed until the butter resembles small pebbles, about 2 minutes.
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and continue mixing on medium speed until incorporated, about 3 minutes. The batter will not be completely smooth; be careful not to overmix.
Add ⅓ of the batter to each of 2 medium bowls, leaving the remaining ⅓ in the stand mixer bowl. Add the burgundy wine food coloring to one bowl and stir until evenly deep scarlet in color. To the second bowl, add the super red food coloring and stir until evenly deep red in color. Leave the batter in the stand mixer bowl uncolored.
Scoop 1 cup of each color batter into each of the prepared cake pans. Continue alternating colors until all of the batter is used. Gently swirl a toothpick through the batter to marble the colors in each pan.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cakes cool completely, then trim off the domed tops so each cake layer is level.
Make the buttercream: In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Sift in the powdered sugar and salt and continue mixing on medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse sand, about 2 minutes. Pour in the cream of coconut and continue mixing until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.
Dab a bit of buttercream onto a 9-inch cake board, then set a cake layer on top. Scoop 1 cup of frosting onto the cake and use an offset spatula to spread evenly across the top. Repeat with the remaining cake layers, using the top layer of frosting to lightly cover the entire cake, creating a crumb coat.
Place the cake in the refrigerator and chill until the crumb coat is firm, about 30 minutes.
Make the saffron meringue: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the saffron and continue boiling until the mixture reaches 240°F (115°C),about 5 minutes.
Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the salt and continue to beat until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Turn the stand mixer on medium speed and carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the bowl, resting the pan on the edge of the bowl and aiming the liquid to hit the bottom-side of the bowl. Continue mixing until the meringue is tripled in volume and holds medium-stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Scoop the meringue onto the top of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread over the top and sides. Use a toothpick to draw lines of super red food coloring on the top and sides of the cake, then use a small spoon to swirl the color into the meringue and make dramatic peaks.