BornGrace

What I do while I figure out what to do next . . .

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

To Lamb or not to Lamb

Well this lovely little cake was part experiment with a new cake and frosting recipe and part brain fart.  Excuse my language.  Every Easter for I don’t know how many years I have made and decorated various lamb or egg shaped cakes.  Kids vote – lamb usually wins.  One year I had thumb surgery on Good Friday and my 11 year old did the lamb cake.  It was lovely – it’s not that hard.  Well, unless you completely forget that it needs to be made with a very dense pound cake type of cake.  Guess what I forgot this year . . . I didn’t take a picture of the collapse.  Thankfully, it happened before I frosted it.   It was kind of like those abandoned buildings when they explode – it crumbled and disappeared within itself – would have actually been quite amusing if it had just exploded all over the kitchen instead.  Clearly I don’t get out enough . . . ANYWAY . . .

Lamb cake failure aside.  I had very conveniently also made 2 small rounds with the extra batter.  The recipe is awesome.  I absolutely LOVE the cake.  The frosting is a whipped white chocolate frosting and it is a really nice complement to the cake and I would absolutely make it again.  But it is not the Perfect Buttercream that I am searching for.  Also, the recipe said that if you refrigerate the cake it should be left at room temperature for 2 hours before being served.  We had it a room temperature day one.  But I really like the way the frosting tasted cold – so YMMV on that one.

 

Cake Recipe: (Adapted from Bake Me Blush)

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg at reoom temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Icing Recipe:

  • 6 oz white chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Prepare pans and set aside.  Because I was using an odd shaped pan I sprayed with baking Pam.  For the rounds the recipe states to add parchment paper and spray or butter.  I just sprayed and had no issues with sticking.

In a large bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy 3 to 4 minutes.

Add sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, 3 minutes.

Scrape down bowl and add egg.  Beat until just incorporated.

Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture alternating with ice water in 3 separate additions. Scrape down and mix on low a few more seconds.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Take care not to overbeat.  Gently fold egg whites into batter.

Divide batter evenly into prepared pans and smooth tops.  Bake 40-45 minutes until a toothpick in the center of each cake comes out clean.  DO NOT OVERBAKE.  The cakes will be gently pulling away from the sides of the pan.

 Transfer cakes to a wire rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Invert cakes onto rack and remove from pans.  Allow to cool completely.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

In microwave at half power, melt white chocolate for 1 minute.  Stir and continue microwaving at 20 second increments until white chocolate is creamy.  Set aside.  Chocolate can also be melted on the stovetop in a glass bowl over gently simmering water.  Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.

In medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together sugar and flour.  Add milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly.  The recipe said to whisk occassionally.  Do not do that.  Put in the effort.  Don’t burn your sugar and have to start over.  Ask me how I know. . .  Actually, I didn’t start over, I just scooped out the brown bits and hoped for the best and it was fine 🙂   But still.  . . whisk until mixture has come to a boil and thickened.  About 20 minutes.  I’m not sure when the timing starts.  Certainly does not take 20 minutes to thicken after it comes to a boil.  Mine was completely thick from when I just began whisking to about 16 minutes.  I gave it the full 20 but really it didn’t change as far as I could see.  There was also no flour taste to cook off after that point either.

Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed until cool. You can feel the heat rising out of the bowl.  Just takes a few minutes to cool.

Reduce speed to low and add butter.  Mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.   Add white chocolate and vanilla and continue mixing until combined.

Frost cakes and ENJOY!!!!

And please leave me your comments if you try this cake.  Or just think it looks like something fun to try. Or if you just want to be nice and let me know that you are out there 🙂

 

 

 

 

Birthdays are for the Birds

So, how cute is this cake??  It was for my husband’s birthday and he was out of town and I had NO IDEAS.  And I kept having NO IDEAS.  I had pretty much decided I was heading to the Cake Box and picking up 6 cupcakes the next day and calling it a night.  But at 10pm I found a recipe that I wanted to try.  I had all the ingredients.  It had glowing reviews (as are many people, I am in search of the perfect white cake).  When I made my girls’ 13th birthday cake (lemon, white and chocolate) I found a very strong white cake.  Absolutely perfect for fondant and we all liked it.  But hubby wasn’t sold.  Now remember, up until last year, this is the man who wanted the straight from a box, just add water Angel Food cake – so strong is not where is heart is.  So I was in search of light and airy tasting but with enough umph to hold up the fondant.  I know the cake would look soooo much better if it was big.  But I didn’t need big.  Also when you start baking at 10pm from scratch – well, let’s just say I’m too old to pull a cake all-nighter.  It also would have looked better with 2 layers of the square – but I only had one pan (and see earlier comments about lateness of hour and ingredients).  But back to perfect.  I love love love how it came out.  I found an inspiration picture and it just fit.  His favorite colors are red and blue.  He is a “bird guy” and we are both from Virginia (state bird Cardinal).  The cardinals are perfect.  I drew them free-hand on paper, cut them out, and then I traced around them with a knife in the red fondant.  Then I tweeked until they were right.  If they hadn’t been right nothing else would have mattered.  The tree branches and red petals are just piped free-hand with no particular plan.  I added the cardinals last.

The cake was wonderfully light.  And if I had had enough time to really let it cool and firm up it may have worked better, but I just popped it in the fridge with a crumb coat, threw in some hollow dowels for support and hoped for the best.  The lower layer in particular sagged a bit with just the fondant.  If it had been taller and I could have spread the weight of the fondant around more cake – may have been fine.   I really liked the taste (and I even messed up the recipe and added 2 sticks of butter rather than 1.5).  The frosting was an awesome whipped frosting.  Gorgeous, light, really tasty (well except to my one child who doesn’t like whipped cream – must be a texture thing).  If anyone wants the recipe – shoot me a comment and I will add it.

 

 

Chili Rubbed Flank Steak

While I am all about trying out new recipes, sometimes, even I need a standby.  This is it.  I made it for the first time maybe 5 years ago at the beach.  But it is an all-seasons meal.  It is just as perfect on a chilly night as it is on an outdoor deck.  I took pictures with the random sides that I did this time (what was in the cupboard) but it goes with absolutely anything.  You can even slice it up and toss it on a salad the next day (if there is any left over).

Recipe:

  1. 1.5 lbs flank steak (I use up to 2lbs without changing anything)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. 1 teaspon kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat broiler to Hi.

I now use a real broiler pan, but have also made it without problem on a flat rimmed cookie sheet (without problem means the pan warped, but the meat was fine anyway – and the pan returned to normal when it cooled.)

Rub both side of flank steak with olive oil.

Mix together dry ingredients and rub into meat.  The first time I just sort of put it on top – but my brother said with any rub you should really work it in and let it sit as long as possible.  So that’s what I shoot for.  But I also just rub it in and pop it under the broiler right away when I have to.

Broil without turning 10-12 minutes – 4 inches from the heating element.  I have tried this on the grill – didn’t work.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes so that juices can collect.

Slice on the bias (very thin – 45 degree angle). If you have a rimmed cutting board all the better, because there is a fair amount of juice that you don’t want to lose – or clean up off your counters.

This time I served with crusty bread, thin green beans (boiled in salted water for 5 minutes) and buttered egg noodles for a kid and family friendly weekend dinner.

Enjoy!!!

 

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