Sunday, April 1, 2007

Old-Fashioned Birthday Cake

This cake, Classic White Layer Cake with Butter Frosting and Berry-Almond Filling, appears in "Cooking at Home with America's Test Kitchen." I really like this series of cookbooks. Ingredients, methods, and equipment are analyzed and compared and then the best outcome is given. The authors do a great job with their explanations and I can almost always count on the recipes to be very solid. This cake is wonderful. The authors hope to achieve "layers of white cake with an exceptionally fine crumb, accented by a not-too-sweet fruit jam filling and old-fashioned butter frosting" and they succeed. The cake is almond flavored which pairs nicely with the berry and toasted almond filling. I used blueberry-cherry preserves. Chocolate buttercream would be good too.

This was my first experience using fondant and it was a lot more mangeable than I was expecting. Unfortunately, the taste was not good. I used Wilton's and would never recommend it to anyone interested in flavor. I just made an awesome marshmallow fondant that I'll be experimenting with and will post on it later. Continue for recipe.

Classic White Cake
America's Test Kitchen, 2006

2 1/4 cups cake flour (9oz)
1 cup milk, room temperature
6 egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract (or other flavoring), decrease a little and use good quality extract (use about 1 1/2 t)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 oz)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Butter Frosting
16 tablespoons butter, softened but still cool
4 cups confectioner's sugar (1 pound)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
pinch salt

optional filling: jam (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, etc.)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cookings spray and line with parchment. Spray the paper rounds, dust with flour. Alternatively, spray with baking spray with flour.

2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and mix with a flork until blended.

3. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and slat in the bowl of mixer and turn on low speed.

4. Add butter; continue beating at low speed wuntil the mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

5. Add all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture to the crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 min.

6. Add remaining 1/2 cup milk mixture and beat 30 sec. more. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides. Return the mixer to medium high speed and beat 20 sec. longer.

7. Divide the batter evenly between prepared pans; spread the batter with rubber spatula. Place the pands 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart.

8. Bake 23-25 min.

9. Let the cakes rest in the pans for 3 min. Loosen and invert onto wire racks. Cool completely, and 1 1/2 hours.

10. For frosting: Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt at low speed until sugar is moistened. Increase the speed to medium-hi; beat, stopping to scrape down the bowl, until creamy and fluffy, about 1 1/2 min. Avoid overbeating.

11. Optional Filling: Spread a layer of frosting over first layer. Spread a layer of jam on top of this. (Can add toasted, sliced almonds to this layer if wanted.)

**Very nice cake--moist and delicious. Experiment with flavorings or keep it as vanilla. Princess cake flavor or Fiori di Siscilia are really nice! Yum! If desired, finish the sides of the cake with a cup of thinly sliced almonds pressed into the frosting. Top with berries.

I've not made this, but an orange or lemon cake would be great with this recipe. Use orange/lemon extract and grated rind (rub with fingers into sugar). Vary frosting flavoring.


Lori said...

Sounds yummie and looks great. I am going to try your cake recipe today. Thank you.

Chelsea said...

I tried this cake for my mother's birthday party after she had requested an almond white cake. It was a hit! Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe! I stuck to the recipe and didnt change anything and it turned out great. It was super moist and very tasty. Thanks for the help!