As promised, I'm back with recipes!!
Whew, I had to take a bit of a breather because I've just been pooped all week. I suppose that staying up past my bedtime to catch back up from being gone isn't helping much in that department. Anyway! I'm back. Back to my ways of dreaming about recipes to try out and tweak and photograph.
Of the recipes I used for this massive (I'm not kidding - the assembled cake easily weighed 5 pounds) cake, the one that should snatch your attention and reel you in is the frosting. This frosting is pretty dang amazing. It's fluffy yet incredibly silky and just tastes like heaven. It doesn't overpower your cakes, yet it's got a delicate vanilla flavor that will make you melt into a helpless puddle. You. Must. Make. This. Frosting.
Dreaming About That Frosting,
Vanilla and Strawberry Layer Cakes
adapted from Martha Stewart
1/4 c. all-fruit strawberry jam
1/3 c. diced strawberries
drops of pink food dye, optional
3 c. (390g) cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. (400g) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. milk
8 large egg whites
1/4 c. (50g) sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the all-fruit jam, strawberries, and optional food dye. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining whites.
Pour half the batter (about 830g) into a prepared pan, smoothing with an offset spatula. Fold strawberry mixture into remaining cake batter and pour into second prepared pan. Bake until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment. Reinvert cakes, and let them cool completely, top sides up.
Chocolate Layer Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 c. (46g) cocoa, pref. dark cocoa
3 oz. strong coffee, boiling
1/2 c. milk, room temperature
1 1/3 c. + 1 Tbsp. (179g) cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c. (250g) sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray one 9-by-2-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment paper round.
Sift cocoa; whisk in boiling coffee and milk. Let cool. Whisk together cake flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using a rubber spatula, mix the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Pour in the cooled cocoa mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
Add the sifted dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center.
Remove the cake from the oven, and allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Carefully run a small offset spatula around the edge of the cake to loosen from the pan. Remove cake from pan, and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.
Best Whipped Frosting
adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner
2 c. milk
10 Tbsp. (80g) flour
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 c. unsalted butter, very soft
2 c. (400g) granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)
In a medium saucepan, whisk milk with flour until completely dissolved. Heat over medium until the mixture begins to sputter, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk as the mixture thickens. You will know it’s done when it reaches the consistency of thick cake batter, after about 7 total minutes of heating and whisking. Stir in vanilla set aside to cool completely.
Now, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat softened butter with granulated sugar until light, fluffy, and white in color, about 5 solid minutes of beating on medium-high speed (Kitchenaid speed at 8). You want the sugar to be totally incorporated into the butter. If you're adding food dye, beat it in now.
Be sure that the milk/flour mixture has completely cooled, and add it to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat all ingredients for about 3 minutes on high speed, scraping down the bowl often, until they are smooth and well blended. The frosting should be as light and fluffy as whipped cream.
Note: This recipe makes a ton of frosting. You'll need it to frost a cake with three layers. But if you're making this for a standard cake or cupcakes, divide this recipe in half.
The frosting's cooked flour and milk mixture will be thick, with the consistency of a thick cake batter.
After the flour and milk mixture is completely cooled, add it to the creamed butter and sugar.
And beat the heck out of it with your mixer's whisk attachment.
Slap some of the frosting on the chocolate cake layer and spread evenly to the edges.
Top with the strawberry cake layer.
Slap on more frosting, and spread to the edges.
Top with the white cake layer.
Notice that my hands are exactly like my mom's.
Dump all remaining frosting on top of the cake.
Spread frosting to the edges.
And continue spreading the frosting down the sides of the cake,
until cake is completely covered and frosting is even and smooth.
I eat my cake layer by layer. What up!