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October…

… Brought a world of delicious chocolate cupcakes into our home. And two cats who are apparently coco for cuckoopoops (does anyone remember 30 Rock?) Read on to find out about a triple chocolate threat from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s a three-parter (obviously), where you make ganache, then a perfect chocolate cupcake, and top it with chocolate frosting.

Let’s start with ganache. You need:.

  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

Combine ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds, until warm to the touch. Whisk until smooth, then refrigerate until chilled. Don’t leave it in there for more than 30 minutes, or a chocolate brick ye shall have.

For fudgy, deep chocolate cupcakes that don’t crumble in your hand, you need:

  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Put the oven rack in the middle and set the oven at good old 350. Line a muffin tin with liners. Also, set out 12 tbsp unsalted butter to soften for your frosting. Then, let’s actually cook! Combine the cocoa and chopped chocolate in a bowl, then pour the hot coffee over. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until completely cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together.

In another bowl, combine the eggs, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Whisk into the cooled cocoa mixture until smooth.

Pour even amounts of batter into the muffin cups. Place a slightly rounded tsp of ganache on top of each cupcake.

Bake until set and barely firm to the touch, about 17-19 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes to a rack and let cool completely.

While in cooling land, make your final component: frosting. You need:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • A pinch of salt
  • 12 tbsp softened unsalted butter, cut 12 pieces
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate (chopped, then melted and cooled)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, then place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. I mean, use your double boiler if you want, but why wash another pot? Whisk the mixture gently and constantly until it reaches 150 degrees and is slightly thickened/foamy.

Beat the mixture using the whisk attachment on medium until it looks like shaving cream and is a bit cooled. Add the butter, one piece at a time, until very smooth and creamy. Don’t worry when it goes through a phase where the mixture looks chunky/curdled; it will work out. When all the butter is incorporated, add the cooled chocolate and vanilla, and mix to combine. Bump the speed up to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy (about 30 more seconds). Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Once everything has set and cooled, dollop 2-3 tbsp of frosting onto each cupcake and spread with an offset spatula.

Devour.

These are definitely one of my favorites this year. Rich, yet somehow not too sweet. Even my vanilla-loving husband thought they were excellent. Stock up on some quality bittersweet chocolate, and enjoy!

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September…

… Leads us to cake 9!

As far as recipes go, the cake is actually a repeat of the mermaid cake I did much earlier this year. However, the challenge of the resolution is all about trying different techniques, and this one was for another form of icing: hombre. I still have a long way to go in terms of achieving smooth finishes, but it was still an overall success.

For the cake, you need:

  • 14 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temp
  • 4 egg whites, room temp

Heat the oven to 350. Grease the sides and bottom of 2 9×2 inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment and grease the parchment, while you’re at it.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream the butter, vanilla, and 1 cup sugar. Start with the mixer on low to combine, then bump it up to medium high and go until the mixture is light and fluffy. Turn the speed back to low to lessen the mess, and beat in half the flour, then half the milk. Repeat once more with the other halves of the flour and milk. Increase the speed again to medium-high and go until the mixture is smooth and glossy, about a minute.

Beat those egg whites on medium-high (make sure your bowl and beaters are clean) until nice and foamy. Slowly add the leftover 1/3 cup of sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold half of these into the batter, then fold in the rest. Divide evenly between your 2 prepared pans.

Bake until lightly browned, the cakes begin to shrink from the sides, and the trusty tester comes out clean (25-35 minutes). Cool in the pans set on a rack for 15 minutes, then loosen edges and turn out onto the rack to cool completely. And don’t forget to peel off the parchment!

While cooling, make some heart-stopping buttercream. Also known as buttercream. You need:

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter (yup, that much)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Beat the butter and salt on medium-high until smooth and fluffy. Turn it down to low, and beat in the sugar 1 cup at a time. When incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat in the remaining 4 cups. Go until fluffy, then beat in the milk and vanilla until smooth.

Let’s assemble! Level the cakes with a serrated knife. Then, cut the cakes in half to make a total of four layers. It helps to hold the serrated knife horizontally against the middle of the cake and just turn it on a turntable to score it, then you can just cut the cake all the way through using that line as a guide. Spread 2/3 cup frosting on one of the cakes with an offset spatula, then top with another layer. Repeat with the remaining layers, but turn the top layer upside down for a smooth finish. Spread a thin layer of icing over the entire cake-your crumb coat, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remember, doesn’t have to be pretty at this point.

Cover just the top with more plain frosting. Then, divide the icing among 3 bowls. Using your color of choice, tint a dark and light shade, leaving the third bowl white. Use an offset spatula and spread the dark frosting around the bottom of the cake. Repeat with the lighter shade, then finish with the white on top. Use a bench scraper or offset spatula to smooth the frosting together, spinning on a turntable as you go.

As I was saying, I still need to work toward totally smooth icing. However, the effect and, more importantly, the taste were there. Oh darn. An excuse to keep practicing…

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August…

… = you guessed it, cake 8! Since the end of summer and strawberry season is upon us, I decided to end summer with a classic fruity throwback-the chiffon cake. I’ve never eaten one (to my knowledge) and certainly never made one, but they are pretty much a snap. Break out your Pink Ladies jacket, and let’s get baking.

For a “Pretty in Pink” Chiffon Cake from Moosewood, you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 7 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 strained pureed strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel

I would start by pureeing your chosen berries in the blender or food processor, then pressing them through a fine strainer.

Get the oven going to 325, and grease/flour a tube pan. If you’re unfamiliar, a tube pan is basically an angel food cake pan. You could probably use a Bundt, but it might be difficult to turn the cake out with all the nooks and crannies.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg yolks and oil, but don’t mix.

In your stand mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and confectioners’ sugar, and beat until very stiff. However, stop before the whites get dry and flaky.

Beat the egg and flour mixture you made earlier, then slowly add the strawberry puree, lemon juice/peel and beat until just blended. It will look… Interesting.

Gently fold in a small amount of the egg whites into the glowing pink batter. Then, over the course of 5-6 additions, fold this batter into your bowl with the egg whites. It should look light and bubbly; visible remaining egg whites are encouraged.

Slowly pour the batter into your pan and bake for 25 minutes. Then, bump up the heat to 350 and bake another 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. The cake should rise nicely, and its crazy pink hue will lessen considerably.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool to the touch. When it has done so, let it cool completely on your serving plate.

Meantime, make some easy sauce.

Combine two cups sliced strawberries, 1 tbsp lemon juice (I ended up using lime in the sauce-delicious), and as much sugar as you like (less is more…) in a bowl. Let it sit at room temp for at least half an hour while the cake cools.

Slice up your cake and top with whipped cream and strawberry sauce.

Nostalgia aside, this definitely tops the strawberry shortcake I grew up with that used those premade, tiny, gummy cakes. For an end of summer treat, it’s hard to go wrong with strawberries and cake that is light as air thanks to all those egg whites- gumminess be gone! Buy yourself a dozen eggs and get cracking (and make a giant omelet, while you’re at it).

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July…

… Means the most epic cake yet this year. We are fans of The Great British Bake Off, and when we saw the episode featuring an epic creation called Tennis Cake, I knew it had to make the list for this year’s challenge.

A word of warning. If you are a standard home baker who is comfortable in the kitchen, this will still take forever. How the contestants do it on the clock, I clearly will never know.

However, the end result is actually delicious. I took leftovers to work and apparently made the mistake of telling coworkers it is a very delicious fruitcake. Did anyone except my professional kindred spirit/dear friend try it? Nope. That said, my friend did love it, and agreed the others were missing out.

Do not be afraid of the amount of dried fruits in here. You’ve got the glory of homemade almond paste, fondant, and sugary royal icing topping what is a truly yummy, moist cake. Also, the tennis net (yes, you read that correctly) is really no big deal, either. Every component is fun to make, though I might not have said so if I hadn’t had Schatzi to help roll out that fondant-it’s a beast all its own!

So before I list the dozens of ingredients required for this masterpiece, a few words of advice. This is a British classic-the recipe dates back to the 1800s, with Mary Berry’s genius of today added. That said, I had to go to Amazon for a few of the ingredients, as my average hometown did not carry them at the store. You’ll want to use your trusty kitchen scale for measurements, as most of them are in grams. I also purchased a sweet cake pan that you can adjust to make any size cake you desire (this one is weird, 6×9). You can find it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000GW89M8/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_tBFpDbHBDVV58

Alright! Let’s get baking.

Love, all.

For the cake, you need:

  • 350 grams glace cherries, quartered (Amazon)
  • 225 grams canned pineapple, drained and chopped
  • 350 grams dried apricots, chopped
  • 100 grams blanched almonds, chopped
  • 350 grams sultanas
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 250 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 250 grams caster sugar (look for it at Fresh Market, etc.)
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250 grams self-rising flour
  • 75 grams almond meal

Start by heating the oven to 320. Grease a 6×9 inch baking pan and line it with a double layer of parchment. Don’t be like me and wimp out on stuffing the paper into the corners-as you will see, I was lazy and ended up with a cake that was a bit rounded like a boat. Your want to really push it into the corners for a crisp finish. Also, a word on the cherries that you have likely purchased from Amazon. You’ve quartered them, now put them in a strainer and rinse, rinse, rinse that weird juice away. Let them strain completely and then dry them along with the pineapple as thoroughly as you can on a towel. Wet fruits sink in your cake. Dry cherries do not, and I’ll prove it. Now that you’ve prepped the fruit, plop it in a bowl with the lemon zest and remaining fruits, and acquaint everyone.


You’ll know you’ve dried your fruits properly when you pick them up and they sprinkle, like this:


Quality photography there. 😂 Mary Berry suggests adding some of the flour to this mixture to help keep fruit from sinking. I forgot, and as you will see, it turned out fine because the fruit was dried well.

Now let’s cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one with a spoonful of flour to keep the mixture from curdling (mine did anyway… but maybe you’ll have better luck!)

Fold in the rest of the flour and the almond meal. Gently fold in the dried fruits and nuts, then pour into your prepped cake pan and smooth off the top. Bake for about 2 hours, until golden and a pick comes out clean. Halfway through the bake, cover the cake with foil to prevent over-browning.

Leave the cake in the pan to cook for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely (or stone-cold, as the expert would say).

Fifteen, love.

Let’s make the delicious almond paste! You need:

  • 250 grams almond meal
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 150 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Mix the dry ingredients, then stir in the egg and extract. Knead together in a bowl just until everything comes together and cover it in Saran wrap. It should be stiff, but don’t overdo it.

Thirty, love.

Now we make royal icing! You need:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 675 grams powdered sugar, sifted
  • Gel food coloring for yellow and pink (again, I went to Amazon)

Whisk the egg whites until nice and frothy (I did use my trusty stand mixer). Now, painstakingly mix in the sugar one tablespoon at a time until the final mixture is very stiff with peaks. Again, cover with Saran wrap.

Forty, love.

Last component! Fondant. Cursed fondant. This is why bakeries charge you more, people. Nancy Crockett, thank you endlessly for covering our beautiful wedding cake with fondant. I’m so sorry. But it was indeed beautiful. For this beast, you need:

  • Roughly 1.5 tbsp gelatin or 4 leaves gelatin
  • 4 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 1 1/2 tsp glycerine
  • 500 grams powdered sugar
  • Green gel food coloring

Use a double boiler with barely simmering water and add the gelatin with 2 tbsp water and the glucose and glycerine. Heat until everything is combined, but do not boil! Get it off the heat.

Sift half of the sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the gelatin mixture into the well and mix together. Sift the remaining sugar onto the counter, and turn your new mixture onto it. Knead until smooth and pliable.

Keep a tiny piece of white fondant for the tennis ball, but slowly knead green dye into the remaining fondant until you can’t stand it or you get the color for your tennis court that you want. *Read, here’s where I needed help.* Guess what? Wrap it in Saran wrap. The key to these components is that we don’t want them to dry out before getting them on the cake.

Match! And it’s finally time to assemble! Can you believe?

Add some powdered sugar on top of some Silpat and roll the almond paste out into a rectangle slightly bigger than your cooled cake. Then, cut a 6×9 inch rectangle from it and place that on top of the cake. Stuff your face with the remaining almond paste because heck, it’s delicious protein.

Roll out the green fondant on the Silpat that has been re-dusted with sugar. Again, roll until a bit bigger than the cake, then cut down to 6×9 and place on top of the almond paste layer. Enjoy eating some extra fondant with your almond paste.

Divide the royal icing to make three colors: pink, yellow, and white. Put most of the white icing into a piping bag using a number 3 writing nozzle (the tips are numbered, just look!). Pipe a tennis court onto the fondant, and don’t be afraid to ask Google for a pattern. Try to leave about 3/4 inch around the edge.

Still with the number 3 nozzle, pipe two rackets and the outline of a tennis net that is the width of the cake onto a piece of parchment. Place the rest of the white icing in a bag with a number 2 writing nozzle, and pipe the strings into your rackets and tennis court. You can also pipe other sorta equipment as desired. Like a bike. Leave everyone to dry until easily lifted from the parchment.

Add the pink icing to a piping bag with a number 8 star nozzle, and the yellow to a bag with a number 7 star nozzle. Pipe a border around the court.

Pipe a line of white icing across the middle of the cake, and stand the net across it. Place the rackets and ball as you wish on the court.

My goodness! It’s the end of the day and you finally finished the cake! And look how much drying that fruit paid off:

I think this would actually pass the Paul and Mary judgement, if I do say so myself. I don’t even like fruitcake, but I would eat this any day! And it actually keeps well because it is nice and moist. It’s a marathon, but if you love a baking challenge, I recommend trying it.

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June…

… added another success story to the year of cakes. I’m starting to sound cocky at this point, but the cakes just keep turning out so well! This month marked our 10 year anniversary, so I decided to make a version of our wedding cake. I skipped the original fondant and went for rich buttercream, and it was quite worth it. Having a brand new oven from this century (heck, this decade!) certainly didn’t hurt, either.

For a classic white layer cake with raspberry-almond filling from America’s Test Kitchen, you need:

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour (plus some for pans)
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temp
  • 6 egg whites, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

Heat the oven to 350 with the rack in the middle position. Grease and flour two 9- inch (8 works, too) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. Whisk the milk, egg whites, and extracts together.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, just until combined. USE THE LOW SPEED. Flour, etc. will otherwise go everywhere. Bump the speed up to medium-low and beat in the butter, one piece at a time, until you have moist crumbs (about 1 minute).

Add all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture you made, then bump it up to medium and keep going until you have a smooth, fluffy mixture (about a minute). Turn the speed back to low and stream in the rest of the milk mixture until your batter almost looks curdled. The recipe says this takes about 25 seconds; mine was closer to a minute.

Stir the batter with a spatula to make sure you got everything incorporated. Scrape into your pans, smooth off the top, and tap the pans on the counter a few times to settle.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Rotate the pans halfway through the bake. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then loosen edges with a knife and turn them out onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment and turn the cakes right side up. To speed things up, I popped mine in the freezer to finish cooling.

For frosting, you need:

  • 16 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds (chopped coarse)
  • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt on low speed until the sugar is moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until creamy and fluffy; pause a couple of times to scrape the bowl.

Put one layer of cake on a platter (you can line the platter with parchment to keep it very clean; I did not). Mix about 1/2 cup frosting and the almonds. Spread the mixture on top of the first layer of cake.

Top the almond layer with the jam.

Place the second layer on top, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

Fondant looks beautiful, but this icing did just fine. It’s a very rich, sweet cake, and the raspberry jam provides a nice bit of tart relief. Happy anniversary, Schatzi! Here’s to another 10, and many more.

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May…

Brings us to cake 5! Can’t believe we’re almost halfway through this most delicious year. May brought yet another cake success this year, and it came in the form of Bahamian Rum Cake by none other than David Lebovitz. I only have one of his cookbooks, Ready for Dessert, but everything I’ve made from it is an absolute hit. It’s also very accessible stuff to make. Highly recommend; it also helps to have an awesome sister-from-another-mister who chooses excellent Christmas gifts.

For a delicious cake and great excuse to drink rum, you need:

Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly ground, please)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 cups plain sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 2 egg yolks, room temp
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup Thai coconut milk

Coconut-Rum Syrup:

  • 3/4 cup Thai coconut milk
  • 6 tbsp plain sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum

*One can of coconut milk is the exact amount for the entire recipe

Glaze:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 tbsp heavy cream
  • 6 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 1/2 cup dried large-flake coconut, toasted (I used unsweetened)

Let’s make some cake! Heat the oven to 350. Guys, it’s my last cake in this oven! How am I going to learn to trust again?! Anyway, while you’re at it, grease and flour a Bundt pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and 3/4 tsp salt together.

Break out the stand mixer and paddle one cup of butter and the 2 cups of sugar on medium until you get a nice, fluffy mixture. It takes about 4 minutes. And close supervision, clearly.

Grab a small bowl and beat the eggs and yolks with the vanilla. Keep the mixer on medium, and slowly stream in your egg mixture until incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides, should you need to. It might look funky and curdled; don’t worry, it’s not ruined.

Channel your gentle side and stir in about 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the required amount of coconut milk (about 90 mL). Add another half of the leftover flour mix, and follow it with the remaining milk. Finish off by gently mixing in the remaining flour, just until combined. We don’t care about lumps.

Pour into your prepared pan and bake just until the cake is starting to feel set towards the center of the pan, maybe just shy of an hour.

Meanwhile, let’s make some syrup. Warm the coconut milk and sugar, mixing until dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and add the rum.

After the cake comes out of the oven, poke it all over with a skewer or cake tester about 60 times. Spoon 2/3 of your syrup over the top and let it soak in. Cool the cake completely. Do not let stalkers eat your cake.

Turn the cake out (I would use something with a lip!). Pour the rest of the syrup over the cake.

Finish off by making the glaze. Bring the butter, cream, sugar, and a pinch of salt to a boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and cook for about a minute and a half. Get it off the heat and stir in the rum.

Let the glaze cool completely, then stir in the coconut (I made mine while the cake baked). Spoon the luscious sauce over the cake and let it run down the sides. If your glaze thickens as it cools, rewarm it a bit so it is pourable.

What. A. Treat. I got to take cake to my mom to celebrate Mother’s Day, and it was enjoyed by all. Good luck eating just one slice! And please. Don’t forget to toast the coconut. It is essential for the noms.

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April…

… Means cake 4! How are we already 4 cakes in to this delicious adventure? April is a month of birthdays in our house, so I went with Christina Tosi’s birthday cake. And yes, by birthdays, I proudly mean those of both our four-footed cuties. No, they did not get to actually eat this ridiculously good cake. Shhhh, don’t tell them about it.

This recipe requires several components and a few pieces of gear you might not have. So just do yourself a favor and buy yourself some acetate (3 inches wide) and some glucose (it comes in a tub) and citric acid from Amazon. We’ve already discussed the clear vanilla extract in other recipes; if you haven’t caved yet, it’s not too late to add it to your cart with your other goodies. While we’re here, my latest revelation is citric acid. It honestly makes this frosting amazing. Trust me, cake icing has never hit every taste bud you own. It will with this recipe, and it’s a delight. So let’s get started!

Make yourself some cake crumbs to get this guy started. You need:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 tbsp clear vanilla extract

Heat your oven to 300. PS PEOPLE WE ARE GETTING A NEW HOUSE! I’m going to have to learn to bake again in an oven that actually has the correct temperature! I digress.

Mix the dry ingredients until well combined in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Then, slowly add the oil and vanilla and paddle until you have little clusters. Spread them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat and bake for any 20 minutes. Break them up gently every once in awhile while baking and don’t leave them in too long-they should still be a bit most when you pull them out. Then, let them cool completely while you make everything else.

For the cake-cake part, you need:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2 tsp clear vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Increase your oven heat to 350. Spray a quarter sheet pan and line with parchment or Silpat. Mix the butter, shortening, and sugars in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium- high until creamed well (2ish minutes). Scrape down the sides, add your eggs, and go for another 2 minutes. Scrape again.

Slow down to low speed, and stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Bump it back to medium-high and go for 5 minutes, until you’ve got a basically white mixture that’s actually twice the size of what you originally had. It should be even and homogenous, you can’t rush chemistry, people! We don’t want any streaks of anything-no fat or liquid of any sort. Scrape again.

Go to a very slow speed so you don’t get flour all over the place and slowly add the flour, baking powder, sprinkles, and salt. Mix just until it comes together (less than a minute). Guess what? Scrape. Spread the cake into the prepared pan using a spatula and then sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp of sprinkles on top.

Bake for 30 minutes until doubled in size and when the cake’s edge bounces back when you poke it. We also don’t want a jiggly center; leave it in the oven until the jiggle is no more. Cool on a wire rack or the freezer.

We need a soak for the cake! Mix 1/4 cup milk and 1tsp clear vanilla, and set aside.

Last component! The icing I raved about. You need:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp glucose
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp clear vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • Pinch of citric acid

Mix the butter, shortening, and cream cheese with the paddle attachment on medium-high until fluffy. Scrape.

Turn the mixer to its lowest speed and add the remaining wet ingredients. Go back to medium-high and beat for a couple minutes, until you have a silky-smooth, glossy mixture. Scrape. Add the dry ingredients on low and mix just enough to get everyone acquainted. Go back up to medium-high and beat another couple of minutes until you have what you would call gorgeous frosting.

Assemble!! Invert the cake onto a piece of parchment. Use a 6 inch cake ring to stamp out to rounds of cake. Keep the scraps!

Put the cake ring in the center of a lined sheet pan. Line the inside of the ring with one strip of acetate. Put those cake scraps in the ring and tamp them into an even layer. The back of your hand was made for this.

Use a pastry brush to coat this layer with half of the birthday soak. Spread about 1/5 of your icing in an even layer on top. Sprinkle 1/3 of the birthday crumbs over the frosting. Push them down a bit to stick. Spread another 1/5 of icing on the crumbs.

Tuck the second strip of acetate between the ring and top 1/4 inch of the first strip you already put in place. You want a ring of acetate that’s 5-6 inches tall so we can finish the cake.

Put one of the cake rounds on top of the frosting and repeat the layers you just did. Top with the last cake layer and cover the top with the remaining frosting.

Add the rest of the birthday crumbs to the top. Move the whole pan to the freezer for at least 12 hours to get everything nice and set. When you’re ready to serve, pop the cake out of the ring and peel off the acetate (can’t lie, it feels pretty cool to peel that acetate away). Defrost in the fridge for 3 hours, then slice!

This is a thing of beauty. I mean, really. It’s birthday cake from another dimension. Cheers to Christina Tosi and her experimental soul. Try it, you’ll like it!

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