I know I haven’t posted anything in a while, not that I haven’t been baking or cooking. I just have been busy trying to keep the little ones entertained during the summer. And today I have something special to share; I made my first anniversary cake. I’ve done sheet cakes and cupcake cakes before, but nothing where I really got to get fancy with, so I was excited and nervous to do this.
I was asked to make a double heart anniversary cake; half marble half red velvet cake with fresh strawberry and banana filling and Italian meringue buttercream. A tall order I know, but I was excited for the challenge. First, let me just say that I am in love with Italian Meringue Buttercream. I had a little mini heart attack making it; I thought it wasn’t going to come together when I started adding the butter and it turned to a soupy mess. But with a little prayer and patience it turned to the yummiest, pillowy (not a real word, but so) soft icing. Now when you start adding the butter put a clean towel over the mixer to avoid the mess I made in the kitchen. Yeah, soupy buttercream everywhere is not fun to clean up.
Red Velvet Cake
Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red gel food coloring (see note below)
1/4 cup boiling water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 12-inch heart cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and boiling water. Set aside to cool. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Stir the buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled cocoa mixture. Sift the flour and salt together into another medium bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, to the egg mixture in three separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until incorporated. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir until the baking soda dissolves; the mixture will fizz (yeah, I didn’t read all the directions and adding the baking soda to the dry ingredients and just added the vinegar and it worked out fine). Add to the batter and stir until just combined.
4. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.
Basic Yellow Cake
(Found recipe on Cheftalk.com, but didn’t follow the directions. I didn’t like the texture, so I used a traditional method and it came out much better)
2 1/4 cups un-sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups milk
1 stick butter, softened
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350°
Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of (2) 12-inch heart pans. Spray the pans with cooking spray, place the wax paper in the pans and spray the paper.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, mixing well.
Measure the 1-1/4 cups of milk in a 2 cup measuring cup….then add enough vegetable oil to bring the liquid up to 1-1/3 cups.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until well blended. Then with mixer on low add flour in 3 additions switching and adding the milk mixture.
Take 1 cup of cake batter and blend with cooled chocolate. Divide yellow cake batter in 2 pans, then with a spoon place mounds of chocolate batter in pans. Now with a knife swirl to create marbled effect.
Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center of cake comes out clean, or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center.
|Taken with my cell phone.|
Italian Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Cake Journal
1/2 cup of cold water
2 1/4 cups of caster sugar (I used regular Sugar)
1 cup of egg whites (10)
1 1/2 pound of soft unsalted butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Kitchen stand mixer
First set the timer on 7 mins & pour the egg whites into the kitchen mixer with whisk attachment.
Place sugar & water in a sauce pan and bring it to the boil and start the timer. Boil it on medium high temperature.
When the sugar syrup has been boiling for 5 minutes, start the kitchen mixer on full speed and whisk the egg whites for the last 2 minutes. When the timer is up the sugar syrup is done. With the mixer still going on high speed slowly pour the hot syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Discard any leftover syrup. Be very careful not to get burned on the hot syrup.
When all sugar syrup has been added it should look thick and fluffy. Stop the mixer and change for the paddle attachment. To avoid meringue splatter all over your kitchen place a clean tea towel over the mixer (Remember this part avoid the mess). Set the timer on 10 minutes and beat on high speed. This is how long it takes in my mixer for the mixing bowl to be cool to the touch.
After 10 minutes you should now have a lovely thick meringue.
Now it’s time to add the butter; Start the mixer on high speed and with a knife cut pieces of the butter then add it to the meringue. When all butter is added it will not take long for mixture to turn into nice thick smooth buttercream. When that happens slow down the mixer and add 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and start again. I do this two times. You should now have a bowl full of lovely Italian meringue buttercream.
Note: If the IMBC won’t combine just continue to whip, whip, whip. It will eventually get smooth. If you are still having problems, put the whole bowl with paddle attachment into the fridge and let it “cool” down a bit and then whip it again (prayer and patience).
|Start of some of the detailing.|
|The finished flower detail.|
Be blessed and enjoy!