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Sunday, March 18, 2012

His Birthday Cake

Yesterday is my husband's birthday. I made him a birthday cake, first time for me. The initial plan was to create a basket of roses. But I wasn't able to get the perfect consistency of the buttercream, and I had to get the birthday cake done soon, so I substituted the roses with flower drops. It turns out really nice and girly. But I'm still really curious on a perfect recipe to make the buttercream, so I'm gonna try to make and decorate a new cake later, for a different occasion ;)

So here's the recipe for the birthday cake

For the cake:
Classic White Cake, adapted from here
The recipe says that the batter should fill less than 1/2 full in the baking pan. It really IS should. I made two batches of the white cake. One with less than 1/2 full and one with almost full. The one with almost full had small part of batter which is still uncooked in the center bottom of the cake.
And the cake was a bit too sweet for me. I will reduce the sugar to 11/4 cups next time.

2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into measuring cup and level to rim)
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 

4 large egg whites 
1 large egg
3/4 cup whole or 2% milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold from the refrigerator 
1 1/2 cups sugar 

1. Position the oven shelf to the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9- x 2-inch cake pans or one 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan, and line with greased parchment paper. Set aside. Light colored, heavy NOT nonstick pans are preferred. (If you use dark, nonstick baking pans or ovenproof, Pyrex glass pans, be sure to reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees F). 

2. In a medium size mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout, combine the egg whites, egg, milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, on low until softened. (If the butter is cold, cut it into tablespoon size pieces, and then beat it; it will warm quickly from the beaters - taking about 60 seconds). Add the sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until light yellow and fluffy.
Stop the mixer and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.  
4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 equal portions, beginning and ending with the flour. (If the milk is cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together when you add the flour.) 
Add the flour and liquid ingredients slowly at the side of the bowl. The minute you have finished adding one, begin adding the other ingredient type; do not wait in between additions too long as you don't want to overmix the batter. 
After completing the last addition of flour, stop the mixer, and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.  
Then, let the mixer run for 30 to 45 seconds on low. The batter should look light and fluffy. Then, STOP the mixer. Do NOT overmix. 
5. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer. With a large rubber spatula, give the batter ONE or TWO quick folds to incorporate any stray flour or milk left at the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then, STOP! 
6. Divide the batter in the prepared baking pans (should fill less than 1/2 full) and lightly smooth the tops. 
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top feels firm and gives slightly when touched and will shrink slightly from the side of the pan. The cake will be slightly browned. If you insert a toothpick in the middle and remove, there should be a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter. The cakes will have a slight dome and small cracks on top right when it comes from the oven, but as the cakes cool, they will flatten on top and the tiny cracks will disappear.  
Cool in pan on a wire cake rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, remove paper. Invert right side-up and let cool completely.  

For the buttercream:
Recipe is adapted from here
This recipe can be used for filling, crumb coating, and making the basket weave or flower drops, but NOT for the roses.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

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