Thursday, March 20, 2008

layers aren't just for clothes...

they can be for cake too.

this past weekend while some were getting ready for st.patty's day, delana and i were getting ready for cake. a cake that she was going to be making in honor of her dad's birthday. he had requested a yellow cake with chocolate frosting and threw in that it would be nice to have a three layer cake, a first for him. when he said this, he probably wasn't expecting to have that changed much less have an extra layer thrown in there. surprises. they're a wonderful thing.especially when they involve butter and chocolate.

the cake making process began on friday afternoon and was relatively simple. i think it only took about an hour before everything was mixed, poured, baked, and out the oven. pretty good when you have to double a recipe and only have two cake pans to work with. the frosting for the cake probably took a little over an hour just because it needs an hour to cool before you can use it. let me forewarn you, the frosting taste dangerously close to a melted hershey's milk chocolate bar so try and refrain from finger dipping unless you're prepared to eat it sans the cake. can we say chocolate hangover? bring it on.

saturday night: time to break into this four layered monster.

after singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles, we - delana, her dad, her mom and myself-each got a slice with a spoonful of light vanilla ice cream. yes, light. we like to keep things balanced here remember? ice cream was good. the cake was great. definitely rich but it's supposed to be. it says so in the title, "rich and tender yellow cake". no lie.
delana said she felt it was a little dry but then again she's never satisfied. always trying to improve, and that is not something i can condemn her for. i enjoyed the cake. it was a splurge. a splurge i ate very slowly and enjoyed thoroughly.

Rich and Tender Yellow Layer Cake
Taken from Baking Illustrated
Makes two 9-inch cakes

large eggs , room temperature
1/2 cup
whole milk , room temperature
2 teaspoons
vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons
baking powder
3/4 teaspoon
table salt
1/2 pound
unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened, each stick cut into 8 pieces

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 9-by-1 1/2-inch cake pans with vegetable shortening and cover pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper or wax paper. Grease parchment rounds, dust cake pans with flour, and tap out excess.

2. Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla with fork in small bowl; measure out 1 cup of this mixture and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running at lowest speed, add butter one piece at a time; mix until butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and pebbly, with pieces about the size of peas, 30 to 40 seconds after all butter is added. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture and mix at lowest speed until incorporated, 5 to 10 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high (setting 6 on KitchenAid) and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add remaining egg mixture (about 1/2 cup) in slow steady stream, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat on medium-high until thoroughly combined and batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds longer. (To mix using hand mixer, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add butter pieces and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture; beat with hand mixer at lowest speed until incorporated, 20 to 30 seconds. Increase speed to high, add remaining egg mixture, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat at high speed 15 seconds longer.)

3. Divide batter equally between prepared cake pans; spread to sides of pan and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until cake tops are light golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. (Cakes may mound slightly but will level when cooled.) Cool on rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan perimeter to loosen. Invert cake onto large plate, peel off parchment, and re-invert onto lightly greased rack. Cool completely before icing.

Creamy Milk Chocolate Frosting
Makes about 2 cups

1/2 cup heavy cream
table salt
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (or dark)
10 ounces
milk chocolate , chopped
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
8 tablespoons
unsalted butter (1 stick), cold, cut into 8 pieces

Heat cream, salt, and corn syrup in microwave-safe measuring cup on high until simmering, about 1 minute, or bring to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Place chocolate in workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. With machine running, gradually add hot cream mixture through feed tube; process 1 minute after cream has been added. Stop machine; add confectioners´ sugar to workbowl and process to combine, about 30 seconds. With machine running, add butter through feed tube one piece at a time; process until incorporated and smooth, about 20 seconds longer. Transfer frosting to medium bowl and cool at room temperature, stirring frequently, until thick and spreadable, about 1 hour.

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