I realized I didn’t post at least a picture of my Snow White cake. I made this cake for my DIL Frances’ birthday last week. It’s an Extreme Chocolate Cake with buttercream frosting. (I am not the best at frosting smooth buttercream cakes.) The apple is real, but the leaves on the top are gum paste.
The ribbons, yellow crowns and red apples are also gum paste. The figurines are all purchased, but I thought my granddaughters would like to play with them.
Another week, another birthday cake, except this one wasn’t a themed cake, just a plain cake. Whew! Deep breath.
Today is my son Dan’s birthday. This summer I made Grace’s “Galaxy Cake” and Vivian’s “Princess Aurora “ and Mommy Frances’ “Snow White Cake.” Today was just plain Daddy Dan’s birthday cake. Let me say up front, there is and has never been anything “just plain” about Dan. I don’t have adequate adjectives to describe what a fantastic person, father, husband and son he is.
The cake is my Extreme Chocolate Cake, which is everyone’s favorite. This time I frosted it with marshmallow frosting (my favorite.) A light dusting of freeze dried raspberry powder added a nice tart contrast to the cake and frosting. I made the 10” Round Cake size which perfected filled three 8” cake pans. Wrapping them with wet cake pan strips kept the cakes from doming.
The filling between layers was home made raspberry jam. I piped a ring of buttercream to dam the raspberry filling in place. I used the rest of the buttercream to crumb coat the cake. (Not the smoothest crumb coating. It was fixed after setting in the fridge for a while.)
This is Version 1.1 because after I baked the cakes QC asked if I put jammy bits into the cake. What a great idea, a couple of hours too late, but never fear, there will be another chocolate cake and will certainly have jammy bits included in the batter!
Extreme Chocolate Cake
(Sorry, this blog software doesn’t let me create nice columns.)
Cake 10” ROUND CAKE
9” ROUND CAKE Or 11”x15” or HALF Sheet Cake (18”X13”
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. (SEE QTY FOR 10” CAKES, AND SHEET CAKES)
Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in the boiling water by hand. Pour evenly (1000g in each 9” cake pan) into the two prepared pans. (For cupcakes, portion ¼ scant cups in each cupcake paper.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or 205 internal temp. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.
To make the frosting, use the second set of ingredients. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Stir in the cocoa and confectioners’ sugar alternately with the milk and vanilla. Beat to a spreading consistency. (This recipe will frost 36 cupcakes.)
Split the layers of cooled cake horizontally, cover the top of each layer with frosting, then stack them onto a serving plate. Frost the outside of the cake.
Do NOT let the internal temp exceed 210 deg F or the cake will be overdone.
Fill cupcake papers 2/3rds full. This will allow space for the cupcakes to expand and create a nice domed shape.
2 egg whites
5 tablespoons cool water, plus more for the double boiler
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pour about 2 inches of water into a saucepan to create a double boiler. Bring the water to a gentle simmer.
In a clean, grease free large mixing bowl, combine 5 tablespoons of cool water, cream of tartar, sugar, egg whites and corn syrup. Place the bowl over the simmering water. Turn off the heat. Use an electric hand beater to whip the mixture. Do not leave mixture unattended and do not stop beating any time during this process.
After about 3 minutes, remove the bowl from the heat and quickly take the temperature of the egg whites. They need to reach 140 degrees F. If the mixture is less than 140 degrees F put the bowl back over the water and resume beating until they are finished, an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the water and fold in the vanilla extract. It should look like marshmallow fluff. Allow the frosting to cool. Frost and serve immediately
Finally I made the Princess Aurora cake for my granddaughter Vivian’s birthday – 20 Covid days late. The extra days gave me extra time to obsess and agonize on the design and execution. The original design was to be 4 layers of 10” cake for the base and 3 of 8” for the top and serve 60 people. We are down to 9 people and a scaled down cake.
I made most of the decorations a few weeks ago and kept them safely tucked away until now. All the flowers and birds are gumpaste. The roses were made using the typical technique of adding several rows of die cut petals. The other flowers were also die cut and while still flexible placed on a slightly crumpled sheet of parchment paper to give them some contour.
The letters fondant, rolled thick and cut with a die. A sharp knife cut the pattern into the letters which were airbrushed gold and dusted with glitter. The picture frame was cut from rolled gumpaste, allowed to dry and the edges were painted gold. Gumpaste glue stuck the picture to the frame.
The drapes and dress are darker pink dyed, rolled fondant and dusted with silver petal dust. The crown is gold airbrushed gumpaste cut in the shape of Princess Aurora’s crown. Gold glitter was dusted on the still slightly wet crown. The “4” is tempered dark chocolate, airbrushed with gold and dusted (too heavily) with gold glitter. (The fingerprints are mine.)
The top two 6” layers are white cake and the bottom three 8” layers and my extreme chocolate cake (family favorite.) I am not a fan of this white cake. (I constantly and this far unsuccessfully search for a recipe that is light and moist.) The frosting is a simple buttercream with 3:1 butter to shortening ratio.
Many techniques, lots of time, tons of fun making this cake.
Tender White Cake
INGREDIENTS • 326g (2¾c) Unbleached Cake Flour Blend • 333g (1⅔c) sugar; superfine sugar is best • 1 Tablespoon baking powder • 3/4 teaspoon salt • 170g (12Tbl) unsalted butter, softened • 4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg • 227g (1c) whole milk (2% plus 4Tbl Heavy Cream) • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8″ x 2″ or 9″ x 2″ round pans; a 9″ x 13″ pan; or 2 standard cupcake pans (20 to 24 cupcakes) by greasing and flouring; or lining with parchment, then greasing the parchment. Note: Make sure your 8″ round pans are at least 2″ deep; if they’re not, use one of the other pan options.
Mix all of the dry ingredients on slow speed to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste, depending on the temperature of the butter, how much it’s mixed, and granulation of the sugar used.
Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition to begin building the structure of the cake. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for 8″ or 9″ rounds; 23 to 26 minutes for a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ sheet cake; or 20 minutes for cupcakes. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan, if desired (not advisable for a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake), cool on a rack, and frost.
Yield: Two 8″ or 9″ round layers; one 9″x 13″ x 2″ sheet cake, or 20 to 24 cupcakes.
Basic Crusting Buttercream
INGREDIENTS: • 1/2 cup solid high ratio shortening (1/4 cup Crisco, ¾ cup butter) • 1/2 cup butter softened (see above) • 1 tablespoon of merengue powder • 1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract (or extract of choice) • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approx. 1 lb.) • 2 tablespoons milk METHOD
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
Add vanilla and milk.
Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating on a slow speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
Keep bowl or covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks.
Don’t over whip or it will bring air to the icing and will be impossible to smooth. NOTE: If you have a kitchen Aid use white attachment, not whip attachment. YIELD: Makes about 3 cups.
Grace’s sixth birthday is a space themed extravaganza so I made a galaxy cake. It’s more of a solar system cake, but not our solar system.
The cake is a six layer stacked extreme chocolate cake. A cardboard cake board separates each two layers to make cutting and serving easier. Each layer is a 9” round cake, and the “internal” cake board is 8” to allow a smooth buttercream transition between layers. The small white stars are tempered white chocolate made with a silicon mold. The larger stars, around the base, are various colors of white chocolate, again formed using a silicon mold.
The planets are white chocolate made with a variety of hemispherical silicon molds and painted with decorating colors mixed with vodka. Some of them were fused together to make spheres, the ones on the side of the cake were left as hemispheres. Slightly melting the edges of the hemisphere or the bottom of the spheres helped them adhere to the blue buttercream.
Before adding the planets I splattered the cake with white food coloring. The “space woman” was purchased and a printable decal image of Grace was pasted on the silver faceplate of the space suit.