Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A weekend of cakes

This past weekend has been one full of baking and experimenting, failing, and decorating. Asher's birthday was Monday the 6th and I wanted to make an amazing cake for his 1st birthday. Well, that didn't happen due to some technical difficulties, but that's ok. That's what the learning process is all about, right?! I had this really cute, brightly colored, 2-tiered cake planned that I was going to cover with chocolate plastic. Well, this is my first time using that, so I knew it was going to be risky. Well, I made it fine and got it nicely rolled out, but couldn't figure out how to get it off the counter-top without it ripping. I talked to my wonderful sister-in-law Kacey about it, and she recommended using either wax paper, or one of those pastry mats...duh. So I think I will have to invest in one of those mats, hopefully that will help to remedy the problem. So anyway, I just ended up splitting the two tiers up into 2 birthday cakes (one for Kacey and the other for Asher) and frosted Kacey's with Buttercream and Asher's with the most delicious chocolate frosting ever. Here are the pictures of the cakes. Kacey's decor is really random, I was so bugged about my disaster, I didn't take much time to make it cute.

Now I also tried a new Buttercake recipe from Baking 911. It actually ended up being a little too rich for my taste (but maybe I was just "sweeted out" from tasting the batter and frostings) but every one else seemed to like it. Nate and Whit also said that they thought it was kind of dry, now I don't know if that is my doing, or just how the recipe turns out, but it is a denser cake, and so I don't know if that has anything to do with it. Anyway...I recommend trying it for sure. The recipe calls for exactness in measurements and beating times, so if you are not into that, then maybe it's not for you. But it's gotten amazing reviews, so it might be worth a try. The other great thing about this recipe, is that you don't have to level the cake when it comes out of the oven, it was perfectly flat, crazy huh?!

I got a lot of compliments on the buttercream frosting that I used. It was much creamier than normal, and the best part is that it doesn't crust, which makes it harder to smooth out and decorate, but makes for a much tastier and creamier frosting. I definately recommend this recipe, which I actually can't find at the moment. But I will find it and post it along with a recipe that crusts, so it will be better for decorating.

The center for Kacey's cake was a white chocolate raspberry mousse filling, which is divine. It's not hard, although it is a little involved, but sooo worth it. Follow this link, it is the same mousse I used for the White Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Cake, just use raspberries instead of strawberries.

Ok, now the recipe for the best chocolate frosting/glaze ever. This is so simple, and a Busath family favorite.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips (preferably semi-sweet)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
4-5 TBS milk

Melt the butter and choco chips. Add vanilla and salt. Add one cup PS then about 2 or 3 TBS milk, mix until smooth. Then add the next q 1/4 C PS and the rest of the milk and stir until smooth. Frost immediately.

Ultimate Butter Cake Recipe

4 cups (17.64 ounces - 500.09 grams) unbleached all purpose flour -- spoon into measuring cup and level to top
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk (use cold; does not have to be at room temperature)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract; optional 1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 1 teaspoon orange or lemon extract or 1 tablespoon grated orange or 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon peel or 1/4 teaspoon citrus oil

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter (use cold; does not have to be at room temperature )
2 cups sugar -- or superfine sugar
3 large eggs -- (use cold; does not have to be at room temperature )

NOTE: Cake is mixed using a 325 watt KitchenAid Mixer. If you are using a more powerful one, adjust the mixing times downward or use the descriptions rather than mixing times with the instructions, otherwise the baked cake will fall apart and/or crumble or dome in the middle from overmixing.

1. Position the oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9-inch, preferably light colored, heavy NOT nonstick pans. (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 bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Add the vanilla to the milk and 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, 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 eggs one at a time and beat for 20 seconds after each addition. After the eggs have been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the mixture for 2 minutes. (If the eggs are cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together as the batter warms from the beaters. ) Set the kitchen timer to help you keep track of the time. The mixture will become fluffy and aerated.

5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions, alternating with the milk 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 in increments quickly; 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 seconds on LOW. The batter will be very thick. STOP the mixer. Do NOT overmix.

6. 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!

7. Divide the batter in the prepared baking pans (should fill 1/2 full) and lightly smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 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.

NOTE: The cake can be baked in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch, greased cake pan, taking 45 - 55 minutes to bake. Cupcakes take 20 - 30 minutes to bake.

8. Remove cakes to cool on wire racks for 10 to 15 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula or sharp knife, taking care not to scratch the cake pan. Invert onto cake rack and place upright to cool completely. Be careful, the cakes are delicate when warm.

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