Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time for Cake!

The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

In my family we get together for all the birthdays in a month at one time.  I made the cake for the January birthdays, and I made Red Velvet Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, both from ATK's Family Baking Book.

The cake was pretty straightforward.  I got two 9 inch cakes, one of which got a bit stuck in the pan - but I faked my way through that one...more to come...stay tuned...

Worth noting...it is a good idea to put strips of parchment or waxed paper down under the cake before you frost it so you can remove the messy extra frosting before presenting the cake to guests.

The really interesting part is it the frosting.  You start by whipping up six egg yolks (I saved the whites in the freezer for an Angel Food Cake later on).

Then you bring the sugar and corn syrup to a boil.

Here's the tricky part.  You have to carefully - and slowly - pour the boiling sugar liquid into the eggs while they are beating on a lower speed.  You have to try not to hit the side of the bowl, nor the beater.  Now, that's all the book says....nothing about WHY.  Well, that is a hard maneuver, so I didn't pull it off cleanly and then I found out WHY.  See all that stuff glommed on the side of the bowl?  It cools fast and stays stuck there so it (1) doesn't incorporate into your frosting, and (2) becomes really difficult to remove later.  I suggest being more careful than I was on this run.

Then you have to whip this for about 10 minutes - you have to beat it until the bowl is no longer warm.  This one they do explain:  you want it cooled down a bit before you put in the softened butter or else the frosting will 'break'.

This turns out nice and fluffy - easy to spread.

Ok, so back to the booboo.  See that missing chunk there?  It stayed in the pan.  I treated the pan, including a parchment round in there, but the parchment slipped a little, and where it slipped, the cake stayed in the pan.  So it pays to be careful with pan-prep.  (But I got a preview of the yummy cake!)

Anyway, I just frosted the flat surfaces first, and then carefully installed a big blob of frosting the gap.  Who could complain about extra frosting in their serving of cake?

As it turns out, it was among the remainder of the cake that I took home.

Here's how it looked going to the party.  I like easy frosting ideas - this peak effect was just done by pulling the spatula up quickly...a bunch of times.

Everyone liked the cake!  I will be doing it again for sure.  

Also, there was extra frosting, which my Mom always said is perfect for schmearing on Graham crackers.

Now I just need to get some Graham crackers....


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