Extraordinary Cakes – Strawberry Poppyseed Cake

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To me this is nothing short of total dessert heaven.  All of my favorite dessert ingredients (butter, vanilla, lemon, strawberries, whipped cream and poppy seeds) all rolled into one gorgeous cake.  It is truly a sight to behold and heaven on the palate.  Who could ask for anything more in a dessert?  It is a combination of a few basic components, rich butter cake, a luscious pastry cream and strawberries all held together with billowy clouds of lightly sweetened whipped cream.  A minor miracle on a plate.

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The cake base is a small miracle in itself.  Rich and buttery and lightly perfumed with the sweet tang of lemon juice and zest and topped off with the slight crunchiness of poppy seeds.  It has a moist texture and a nice light crumb but is still firm enough to thinly slice into layers and hold its shape.   I wouldn’t think twice about baking this cake in a square or sheet pan, giving it a dusting of confectioners sugar and just snacking on it morning, noon and night.  It is that good.

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The smooth vanilla pastry cream starts out as a regular vanilla custard with eggs, mild and cream and heavily perfumed with vanilla beans.  The secret here is addition of lightly whipped cream to make it ethereal and a little gelatin to help it hold its shape.  It is truly delicious and would make a wonderful filling for cream puffs or éclairs or simply served on its own as a pudding with maybe an almond tuille on the side.  Scrumptious.

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The cake is leveled and the crumbs toasted to be used as decoration.  The cake is then sliced into three thin layers.  The first layer goes down and is drenched in a lemon simple syrup.  Then a thick layer of the vanilla pastry cream and a healthy layer of sliced strawberries and then topped off with a thick layer of sweetened whipped cream.  The second layer goes on and the process is repeated.  The top layer is added, drenched in syrup and then pastry cream.  The entire cake is them robed in a thick layer of more sweetened whipped cream.  The sides are decorated with the toasted cake crumbs and then the top is decorated with more whipped cream and accented with lemon slices and strawberries.   Total and complete heaven,

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Extraordinary Cakes – Ivoirie Royale

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I was immediately drawn to this cake on my first look through the book.  I am sure that it was because of the pound cake base.  My readers will already know of my fondness for pound cake.  Monica and I both decided that this was the cake for our second round of the bake through for Extraordinary Cakes.  I also thought it was a good choice as we have several new bakers who have decided to join us in our quest and this cake only has a few components and seemed an easy way to ease into the process.

My initial reading of the cake base recipe had me a bit concerned.  This is a sour cream pound cake and I was surprised to find that it didn’t use any butter but instead used grapeseed oil.  My initial though was of my favorite aunts dreaded Mazola oil chiffon cake. (You have heard me talk about this cake and my hatred of it before).   Well, I was pleased to discover that the grapeseed oil didn’t make the cake heavy and didn’t add any unpleasant taste (grapeseed oil is tasteless) but added a moistness not always found in most pound cakes.  The cake retained the traditional firm texture but remained moist and tender even through the freezing process.

The other components of the cake are vanilla soaking syrup, white chocolate sour cream mousse, sweetened whipped cream and of course a myriad of spring fruits.  Surprising none of these elements compete with each other.  The syrup offers just a slight whisper of vanilla.  The mousse which is really just a white chocolate ganache to which sour cream is added gives a slight hit of sweet white chocolate with the nice sour cream tang but never gives the cloying white chocolate sweetness.  All of this is tempered by a generous amount of sweetened whipped bream which acts as a perfect base to enhance the fruits which include strawberries, raspberries, black berries and blueberries.  The total effect is one of total bliss.  Each element can bet tasted and noted but all combine in perfect harmony and even the cake base shines through as the perfect support for all that is added to it.  Definitely a true work of art this cake.

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The white chocolate curls are the only added decoration and although they look difficult they really aren’t.  Making them is just a matter of timing and patience.  I have found that it just takes the patience to wait for the chocolate to reach the perfect temperature for shaving the curls.  Once it is reached you have to work quickly as the window is very small.  I generally get about 3 curls and then I have to warm the chocolate and start the waiting period again.  It doesn’t require much actual effort and you are certainly rewarded for you patience.

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Extraordinary Cakes – Lemon Praline Cake

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I was talking to my friend Monica from the Gutsy Cooks Club about favorite chefs and cookbooks.  Since we were both members of the Heavenly Bakers, naturally our conversation came around to desserts and especially cakes.  Monica mentioned to me that she had gotten the book Extraordinary Cakes by Karen Krasne and was anxious to try some of the cakes.  She asked me if I knew about Karen and I think I surprised her when I said that Karen was a local pastry chef here in San Diego and that I went to her shop very often.  She asked me if I wanted to join her in baking some of these incredible cakes.  Well, I am a huge fan of Monica’s cooking style and her kitchen wizardry so naturally I jumped at the chance to join her.  We each read through the book and comprised a list of cakes we wanted to try.  When we compared notes we laughed to see that we had both chosen almost the identical list.  This Lemon Praline cake appealed to us both right off the bat and we decided it would be the first cake we attempted.

On the first read through these recipes seem really complicated. They are assembled cakes from many components and Karen certainly doesn’t skim in this area.  This cake has 6 separate components.  Once you get over the shock of the task and reread the recipe you see that it is very manageable.  Many of the components can be made the day ahead and held.  The one difference that Karen does is that she assembles the cake in a cake ring or mold and then freezes the assembled cake overnight before the final decoration.  This is something that neither Monica or myself had ever done and after comparing notes with Monica I think we both agreed that it was a technique with would both adopt in our cake baking.  It certainly makes the final decoration and serving much easier.

I started by making the genoise, which is a pretty straight forward standard genoise.  It went together in a snap and before I knew it the baked cake was cooling on my counter.  The next day I tackled the French Meringue which is used as a crunchy center layer.  It all came together in about 20 minutes and has to bake for at least an hour.  While it was in the oven I made the lemon syrup, the lemon curd and the lemon buttercream and by the time the meringue was baked and cooled I was ready to assemble the cake.

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The genoise is leveled and sliced into two layers.  One layer goes into the cake ring, followed by the syrup, then a layer of  buttercream and a layer of lemon curd.  Next the meringue goes on followed by another layer of buttercream and another layer of lemon curd.  Finally the second cake layer in placed on top and drenched with the remaining lemon syrup.  The entire assembly is wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen over night.  As I told Monica, to me the hardest part of the entire process was finding the room in my overcrowded freezer to keep the cake overnight.  Karens instructions are clear and concise and her timing notes are spot on.

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The following morning I made the final component which is hazelnut-almond praline.  This was just caramelized sugar to which toasted nuts are added and then the mixture is spread onto a baking sheet to harden.  Karen specifies to make this just before you need it.  Once hardened the praline is broken into pieces and ground in the food processor into a fine powder.

The assembled cake is then frosted completely with the remaining lemon buttercream and then coated with the praline powder.  The final decor is a bouquet of fresh flowers and rose petal covered ribbon.  I didn’t really like the picture that is in the book and decided to take artistic license here.  I should have followed the book.  I ended up going crazy with the flowers and ended up covering the whole top of the cake.  My other half told me it looked like a cheap centerpiece and I certainly have to agree that it was not the most attractive thing I have ever turned out in the kitchen.  No matter, the decorations came off as soon as I got some photographs and the cake is so good that it hardly matters what it looks like.  I think next time I will just frost it and pipe some borders and then use the praline in shards as decoration.  Maybe I will just skip the decoration entirely and move straight to the eating part.

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All in all it was a great first cake from a really great cake book.  Can’t wait for the next installment of the Monica and Raymond Cake Club.

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Cupids Strawberry Cake

I can see why Flo calls this her signature yellow cake.  I found it a snap to make and it certainly delivers on it’s promise.  It is rich and buttery without being cloying and it is moist but has a firm texture and crumb similar to a poundcake which I find especially appealing.  It lends itself easily to a variety of fillings and frostings.  It can be eaten plain or with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or it can be dressed up or down as you see fit.  The combination of the strawberries and the lemon buttercream was especially appealing to my family.

Even though I had been warned that the frosting could be a bit sweet I decided to try it as is before I made any changes to the recipe.  While I didn’t find it to be too sweet for my taste, I did find it to be a bit soft and slightly hard to work with.  My first attempt at frosting the cake found it sliding down the sides.  I put it in the refrigerator for a bit to firm up before proceeding and had no problems with it after that.  I served the cake for a collectors club meeting I hosted and it was extremely well received.  I will definitely be making this one again and the yellow cake will certainly be added to my baking repertoire.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

I love white cake, I think it has to be my all time favorite.  My mom always made one called Silver White cake that she got out of the Betty Crocker cookbook and I loved it as a child.  My baking teacher Amy Malone did the one for the Time-Life book on cakes and it is still my go to white cake.  When we did wedding cake classes together she would always make a small one for me to take home because she knew I liked it so much.  Later, when I was doing wedding cakes, I always had it on hand in the freezer for samples and for me to snack on.  This version is excellent,  light and not too sweet and ready to take on a myriad of contrasting flavors.  In this case strawberry.  Like many of the cakes we’ve made this one is very simple so let’s get right to it. 

White chocolate is melted and set aside.  Egg whites, 1/3 cup milk and vanilla are whisked in a small bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt are mixed on low until blended.  Then butter and 1 cup of milk are added.  This is mixed on low until the dry ingredients are moistened, then the speed is raised to medium and the batter mixed for a minute and a half.  The egg mixture is gradually added in three additions, beating for 20 seconds between additions to strengthen the structure.  The white chocolate is added and beaten until incorporated.  The batter is poured into the prepared pans and baked.  

Adding the butter

Mine was done after 30 minutes at 325 degrees convection.  One odd thing about this cake which we have seen a few other times is that it calls for us to make two cupcakes.  The last time we did this I felt that my cake didn’t have enough batter and was too short.  I skipped the cupcakes this time and I still felt that I could have used a bit more batter for the 9 inch pans.  The next time I am going to try this cake using all the batter in two 8 inch pans and see what I get.  I still don’t get this make 2 cupcakes thing.  Any ideas anyone? 

I have to admit that I was sort of dreading this cake.  Not because I didn’t think it would be good or that it was difficult but because of the mousseline.  As any of you who have been following me know, I am not a big fan of Rose’s frostings.  I have had my share of problems with these frostings, especially her buttercream and mousselines.  I really dreaded the thought of having to deal with another one of them. Plus I had already read some advanced warning that the glaze for this cake was a nightmare to work with.  Just what I needed to test my already non-existent patience, a mousseline and a temperamental glaze.  Well, I figured that even if it didn’t work I’d still have the delicious white cake and I could complain like hell to all of you about it on here so I dove in.  Imagine my surprise when the Strawberry mousseline actually worked.  I was stunned.  Not only did it work perfectly the first time but it didn’t take forever to make and it was totally delicious. Rose, I apologize for all my prior complaining about your frostings.  This one was a winner. 

Butter is beaten until smooth and then set aside.  Egg whites are whipped until foamy and then cream of tartar is added and they are whipped until soft peaks form, then sugar is gradually added and they are whipped until stiff peaks form. 

The beaten butter

Stiffly beaten whites

Sugar and water are combined and heated until the sugar dissolves.  The mixture is boiled to the firm ball stage and then it is added to the meringue in three additions, whipping between each addition.  Next, the creamed butter is whipped for several minutes until light in color.  The meringue is added to the butter and whipped until incorporated.  Then the strawberry butter and vanilla are added and incorporated and Voila, perfect strawberry mousseline.  Who would have believed it? 

On to the chocolate glaze.  I had my doubts about this one too and I admit that it does set rather quickly so you have to work fast but nothing even close to the nightmare I was expecting.  Unsweetened and dark chocolate and butter are melted in a double boiler, light corn syrup and vanilla are stirred in and there you have it.  Chocolate glaze. 

Two layers done

All layers filled

The two cake layers are split and a layer of strawberry butter and then a layer of mousseline are added between each layer. I reversed Rose’s order here because I prefer the jam like fillings to be next to the cake.  Then the entire cake is enrobbed in the chocolate glaze.  There you have it, delicious chocolate covered strawberry cake.  Certainly something for everyone in this little gem.  Don’t be afraid, give it a try.  If I can have success with mousseline given my history with them, anyone can.  Dive right in, you won’t be sorry. 

The glazed cake

The final cake

 

Next Up:  Coconut Cheesecake with Coconut Cookie Crust 

Chocolate Butter Cupcakes

Well as you know I hate these individual serving desserts, not because they aren’t good but because I am an old cuss and I have no patience for making them.  With that said I have got to admit that these cupcakes are just plain good.  While I did complain the entire time I was making them (it isn’t really making them that I object to,  its decorating them and storing them and plating them and just about everything else it takes to get them out of the oven and onto the serving plate.  I just really prefer one single cake, or pie, or loaf of bread.  Okay, I got that out of my system.  These really were easy to put together and they are just plain good eating.  They have a very nice chocolate taste without being heavy or cloying or too sweet.  Actually these cupcakes were the perfect thing for this week because I hosted my collectors club these weekend and they were much easier to serve than trying to slice and plate a cake for everyone.  And I have to admit that the group ate most of them and everyone I asked said they liked them.  Lets get down to making them.

Boiling water is added to the cocoa and the cocoa is dissolved and set aside.  Eggs, water and vanilla are mixed and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt are mixed on low speed to combine.  Butter and the chocolate mixture are added and blended until the dry ingredients are moistened.  The mixture is then beaten on medium speed for a minute and a half to set the structure.  The egg mixture is added in two additions, blending for 30 seconds between each addition. 

Adding the butter

Adding the chocolate

The batter is then spooned into a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners.  An interesting note here and if anyone knows why Rose says this please let me know.  In the recipe Rose states to line the muffin pan with cupcake liners and then coat the liners with baking spray with flour.  WHY?  What is the point of using cupcake liners if you are going to grease the liners?  I thought that was the point of using liners.  You don’t really need to have the cupcake release from the liner, you just peel it off.  At any rate, I ignored this step and just spooned the batter into the plain liners. 

The completed batter

Ready for the oven

Into the oven.  Mine were done after 15 minutes at 325 convection.

The baked cupcakes

Since Rose did not recommend any particular frosting (and to be honest these are good enough to go without) I chose the Chocolate-Egg White Buttercream.  Mostly because Rose says its easy and foolproof and I had alot going on this weekend and didn’t really have the time to fuss more than I was already fussing with these things.  As any of you who have read my blog know, I have often had exception with Rose’s buttercreams.  This one is no exception.  It is completely delicious but as I often complain about it is so soft it is a nightmare to work with.  While I was frosting these cupcakes I had to put it back in the refrigerator no less than 6 times before I finished.  I would no sooner frost 2 cupcakes and it would be melting all over the place.  At any rate, it was very easy and quick to make,  just be sure to pour on the speed when you start to frost.

Melt the chocolate using your preferred method and set aside to cool.  Beat the butter until creamy.   In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and whip to soft peak stage.  Gradually begin to add the sugar while beating to the stiff peak stage.  Beat in the creamed butter by the tablespoon. When all the butter is incorporated add the melted chocolate and beat to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Next Up: Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pies

When I was growing up in Ohio we called these scooter pies and I detested them.  That was because I hated marshmallow and anything with marshmallow in it.  To be honest I still hate marshmallow.  Back then it was because I didn’t like the spongy texture, as I got older is was and is because I find them cloyingly sweet.  Way too sweet for my taste, and I still am not found of the spongy texture.  My mom made a version of them where they were filled with sweetened whipped cream and we called them Chocolate Goobers.  I actually like the Goobers.  Of course, no marshmallow.  When I was in the Navy and stationed in Memphis, TN they were called Moon Pies and I think they were a national obsession in Tennessee.  Everywhere you went you would see Moon Pies or someone eating them.  I shrugged and gave them a try.  Even though I was older I still didn’t like them.  It wasn’t until I moved to California that I heard them called Whoopie Pies and they are still not my favorites although I have come to appreciate them a bit more.

These chocolate cakes are really delicious, moist and tender with a nice round chocolate flavor.  A very nice compliment to the marshmallow filling.  This was another one of those recipes where it took longer to assemble the ingredients then it did to make the batter.  Chocolate is melted.  The brown sugar, butter , egg and oil are creamed and then the chocolate is mixed in.  Flour, cocoa, salt. baking powder and baking soda are sifted together and added alternately with the buttermilk in three additions.  Then the batter is spooned onto a baking sheet in mounds and baked.  I am a lifetime member of the Cooking Club of America and throughout the years for various reasons they have sent me these cute little silicon tartlet molds and to be honest all these years I have never used them.  They were packed in the back of a drawer and I had completely forgotten that I had them until last week I had to get something out of that drawer and I saw them and I immediately thought that they would be perfect for this recipe.  Out they came and I think they worked perfectly.  They are a bit thicker than if I had just mounded the batter free form but I like the little rippled shape they add.

The baked cakelets in their tartlet molds

The marshmallow cream was much easier to make than I originally thought it would be on my initial reading of the recipe.  Sugar syrup is boiled to 250 degrees.  The egg white is whipped to stiff peaks then the sugar syrup is beaten in,  then butter and vanilla and the mixture is chilled.  In the meantime,  confectioners sugar and butter are creamed until smooth and then whipped until light in color.  The meringue is added and beaten smooth. 

The little solders lined up and getting their filling

Then the cakes are sandwiched together with the marshmallow cream and they are ready to be eaten.  I thought they were delicious but the next time I make I will substitute sweetened whipped cream for the marshmallow filling as I did find it to be much too sweet for my taste.  These are a winner.

Next Up:  Coffee Chiffonlets with Dulce de Leche Cream

Banana Refrigerator Cake with Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting

In my youth when I was in the cub scouts we used to have a special ritual at our monthly pack meetings.  Each month one of the mothers was asked to bake a cake and one of the fathers was designated as Mr. X.  During the social period before the meeting the cub scouts of the pack were supposed to go around and shake everyone’s hand and talk to them.  It was all designed to teach us social skills and politeness.  During the meeting, the identity of Mr. X was revealed and he would announce who was the person who had shaken his hand the nth time.  The lucky cub scout who shook Mr. X’s hand the correct time won the cake.  I will never forget the first time I was the lucky winner.  That month, the special cub scout mom had baked a banana cake.  It was a marvelous affair to my young eyes.   The cake seemed enormous.  It was three layers of lucious banana cake filled and frosted with soft rich chocolate frosting.  I couldn’t wait to get it home and have a piece after the meeting.  I was smitten with that cake and begged my own mother to make it all the time after that.  Thus began my love affair with banana cake.  Imagine my excitement when I saw this weeks recipe.  I couldn’t wait to get started.

This is a much more sophisticated recipe than the old fashioned banana cake from my childhood but it is every bit as delicious and oh what memories it brought back.  The recipe is not very complicated.  Bananas and creme fraiche are mixed in a food processor until smooth and then eggs, lemon zest and vanilla are added and processed until smooth.  I do have to admit that I found using the food processor a little unnecessary.  This could easily have been done in the mixer and saved the step of having to drag out and then clean the food processor.

Flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt are whisked together and set aside.  The banana mixture is put into the work bowl of a stand mixer and sugar is beaten in and then vegetable oil.  The flour mixture is then sifted over the egg mixture and beaten in until combined.  The batter is scraped into a prepared pan and baked.  Mine baked for 30 minutes at 325 degress in my convection oven.

The baked cake is then cooled on a rack for 10 minutes and then unmolded and cooled completely. 

The frosting is delicious and very easy to prepare.  White chocolate is melted and then left to cool.  Cream cheese, butter and creme fraiche are mixed in the food processor.  Then the melted white chocolate and almond extract are added and processed until smooth.  Again, this could easily be done with the electric mixer.  The recipe calls for just swirling the frosting on top of the layer and leaving the sides unadored but I chose to spruce it up just a bit by frosting the entire layer and adding sliced bananas and sliced almonds to the top.  I have often complained that I found Rose’s frostings too soft and this is no exception.  It was very soft and I had a difficult time icing the cake as you can see from the pictures it didn’t want to stay on or cover the sides of the cake.  I did a crumb coat and chilled it first and still had difficulty frosting and piping this icing.  That being said, the instructions did say to just swirl it on the top so I will say that it is my fault for not following the directions.  This frosting is delicious and certainly worth making again and following the directions.

Here’s to those fond childhood memories.

Next Up:  Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie

Woody’s Lemon Luxury Layer Cake

finished cake 1I love Lemon Cakes and this was no exception, it was delicious.  It was, however, not without its complications.  First off it has 17 eggs.  17 EGGS, most of that egg yolks.  Certainly not something you would want to be eating everyday but for that special occasion, it sure was good.   Along those same lines, this cake does take awhile to put together so it certainly isn’t something you can throw together without a little advanced planning.  Nothing was difficult to do but with all the cooking, cooling, chilling and wait time, it did take a good part of the day to get it finished.  The good thing is that you don’t need to sit and attend it, you can go about your normal routine and keep checking back  and do it in stages.  All that being said, lets move on.

The cake as with many of the cakes we have done from this book was simple and went together in no time.  To start I melted the white chocolate and set it aside to cool.  In the meantime I whisked together the egg yolks, 1/3 cup of the milk and the vanilla.  I then mixed together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  Once they were mixed I added the butter and the rest of the milk and mixed to combine and moisten the dry ingredients.  I then added the egg yolk mixture in 3 additions beating for 20 seconds to incorporate after each addition.  I then added the melted white chocolate and beat it in.  Then I divided the batter between 2 nine inch pans and put them in the oven to bake.  In my convection oven the cake took 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

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Melted white chocolate

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Whisked egg yolks

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Completed cake batter

While the cake was baking I set about making the Lemon Curd.  While the lemon curd is not difficult to make, if you are pressed for time you can get away with using a good store bought brand of lemon curd.  There are many of them out there to choose from.  To begin, in a medium saucepan, I whisked together the egg yolks, sugar and butter, then I whisked in the lemon juice and salt.  I began cooking the mixture over medium heat stirring constantly.  I cooked mine in a double boiler just because it is my preferred method for handling cooking egg yolks, it really isn’t necessary.  Once the mixture was fully thickened, I removed it from the heat and stained it into a small bowl and added the lemon zest and set it aside to cool.

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Freshly made lemon curd

Then I began on the White Chocolate custard base.  In a double boiler I melted the white chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally to insure it melted smoothly.  I broke up the egg and whisked them into the melted chocolate mixture and continued cooking until the mixture reached a temperature of 140 degrees.  I poured it into a bowl, covered and refrigerated it.  The recipe said to stir it every 15 minutes until it reaches 65 to 70 degrees but to be honest I just didn’t have the time to be tethered to this frosting so I just let it sit in the refrigerator knowing that it would eventually reach 65 degrees.  This was one of those steps where I feel Rose gets just a bit too fussy with her recipes.

custard base

White chocolate custard base

Once the custard had reached 65 degrees I moved on to complete the buttecream.  I beat the butter on medium-low spead until it was creamy, I then beat in the custard base and continued beating until it formed stiff peaks.  I then set the mixture aside for 2 hours.  This is another of those steps that I could not see the point of.  I really didn’t see any reason to let this sit at room temperature for 2 hours and then have to chill it down in order to work with it.  And, the recipe says to let it sit until it beomes “spongy”.   My buttercream was creamy when I set it aside and was still creamy 2 hours later so the next time, I will totally skip this whole step.  Again, too fussy for no apparent reason that I could see.  After the waiting period I added the reserved lemon curd and beat it to incorporate.  I then proceeded to assemble the cake.

I split my two cake layers into 4.  The method I use for splitting cake layers is one I learned years ago and it has always worked for me.  I wrap a long piece of dental floss around the first knuckle of the index finger of each hand.  With the cake layer in front of me, I rest the tip of each index finger on the counter in front of the cake.  Slide the floss into the cake and wiggle it a bit to get it started.  Then I pull the floss back toward myself and then cross it behind the layer and pull it out.  The layer slices evenly into two layers.

I spread half the lemon curd between the first two layers.  Then a layer of the buttercream on top of this and then I added the third layer and spread the remaining buttercream on this layer and placed the fourth layer on top of this to complete the four layers.  Rose does this differently in her instructions but I think it is easier to buil it layer by layer than having to lift a cake with filling in it on top ot the first completed cake layers.  Whatever is easiest for you.  I then frosted the top and sides with the white chocolate buttercream. 

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Filled and stacked layers

While this frosting is delicious, I found that it was very soft and I had to keep refrigerating it and the cake in order to get it to apply smoothly and to adhere to the cake without sliding.  Even as tasty as it was, I really felt that it was way too much trouble for what I ended up with.  The next time I make this cake, I will just make a classic Julia Child French buttercream and be done with it.

 

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finished cake 2

 

Next Up:  Catalan Salt Pinch Cake

Tyler Wentworth 10th Anniversary Cake

aboveSome friends of mine who are doll collectors asked me to make a cake for their doll club to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the creation of their favorite fashion doll Tyler Wentworth by Robert Tonner of the Tonner Doll Company.  Since it is fall and so close to Thanksgiving I decided to make something pumpkin.  This pumpkin cake recipe is very easy to make and is always well received.  I have had it in my files for so many years that I don’t even remember where I got it or who I got it from.  It’s usually baked in a 10 inch tube or bundt pan but this time I decided to dress it up for the club and baked it in a heart shaped pan.

I split the cake into two layers and filled and frosted it with Cream Cheese frosting.  For decoration I printed a classic picture of Tyler doll on rice paper using edible ink and applied it to the top of the cake with clear piping gel. (While this ink and rice paper are edible, I must admit that they don’t  taste very good.  I usually just peal the rice paper decorations off when I serve the cake)  Then a few frills to complete the cake.  Happy Birthday Tyler.

 

 

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overall

Pumpkin Cake
Printer Friendly Version
Serves 14

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan. Sift together flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Add nuts and pumpkin and blend until smooth. Pour batter into greased 10 inch tube pan.

Bake at 375 degrees F  for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and finish cooling. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Printer Friendly Version
Makes 3 cups

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.