Vanilla Butter Cake

July 22, 2012


This is a larger amount of batter for those of you who have the good fortune to be able to work with a 20 quart mixer.

1 lb unsalted butter at room temperature

8 ounces vegetable oil

12 whole eggs

6 cups sugar

1 Tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 lbs plus 6 2/3 ounces cake flour

2 Tablespoons baking powder

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

4 1/2 cups milk

You will need a 20 quart mixer for this recipe.  If you have smaller mixers, reduce the batch by a half and bake a few cake pans at a time.  You can also bake the cake on sheet pans and cut the rounds with cake rings that look something like this:

Stainless Steel Rings Round 18 ga 12in dia x 3i

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 3 – 12″ cake pans, 3 – 9″ cake pans and 3 – 6″ cake pans with plenty of pan release and rounds of parchment paper.

Cream the butter, vegetable oil and sugar together until light and fluffy and I should tell you that this butter/oil/sugar mixture will be

very light and fluffy.  The oil will create a very nice soft crumb.

Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and the salt.

Alternate the dry ingredients with the whole milk in three rounds, scraping the bowl well and blending until just smooth.  Do not over mix this batter or you will create tunnels.  Divide the batter between the cake pans so that there is about an inch of batter in each cake pan.  Try to find the perfect amount of batter for each cake pan that you like for the height of your cakes.  If you like tall cakes, you will need more batter in each cake pan if you like shorter cake tiers, use less batter per cake pan.  Jot down the weights of batter that you prefer for the kinds of cakes that you like to make.

Bake at 350 degrees f for approximately 25 minutes.  If the center springs back when touched then the cakes are well baked.  You can also test with a toothpick if you wish.  Whenever your fingers leave marks in the top of a baked cake, leave that cake in the oven for about 5 more minutes to finish baking.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for at least 20 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans.  Invert the cake pans and place the cakes on their parchment rounds on the inverted pans to finish cooling before chilling thoroughly.  Cakes must be well chilled before filling.

Spice Cake

July 20, 2012

Before we know it, Autumn will be here and Autumn in the Pacific Northwest means Spice Cake.  If you have the opportunity to use Vietnamese cinnamon, do so.  You will be delighted with the flavor.

Prepare 3 – 8″ cake pans with plenty of pan release and rounds of parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f.

Cream together:

8 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature

2 cups sugar

Make sure you cream the butter and the sugar very well.  People have a tendency not to cream the butter and sugar enough.  When butter and sugar are well creamed together, they will lighten in color and be very fluffy.  This is because you are “dissolving” the sugar into the fat and the action of mixing these ingredients means the sugar will be acting as an abrasive.

Add:

4 whole eggs one at a time

Beat well after each addition of an egg.  Scrape down the bowl.

Sift 3 cups of cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground  cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Alternate the dry ingredients with:

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Start with a third of the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl followed by 3/4 cups of the buttermilk and alternate until all the buttermilk and dry ingredients are used.  Scrape down the bowl and the paddle well and blend until just incorporate.  Do not overmix.

Divide evenly between the three 8″ cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees f.  When the cakes are just becoming light brown and the center springs back when touched, remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.  Remove the cakes from the cake pans and invert them on top of the bottom of the cake pans to cool completely.   Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before filling.

Filling suggestions:

Blackberry Mousse is a hands down winner of a filling for this spice cake and is just so Pacific Northwest.  A good cream cheese filling would be nice or a mascarpone cream filling with fresh blackberries even nicer…!!

Lemon Cake

July 20, 2012

Preheat oven to 350 degrees f.  Prepare 3 – 9 inch round cake pans with pan release and parchment rounds.

2 1/2 cups cake flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces unsalted butter softened to room temperature

4 eggs

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer with a paddle attachment.   Add the eggs and the yolks a few at a time and scrape down the sides of the bowl along with the paddle.  Add the lemon zest.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt together and alternate the dry ingredients with the buttermilk.

Divide into baking pans that are prepared with plenty of pan release and rounds of parchment.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched in the center.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before brushing with cooled lemon syrup..recipe follows.

Lemon Syrup

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Because this syrup is thinned with a fair amount of lemon juice the ratio of sugar to water is 1:1.  Boil the water and sugar for 5 minutes and remove from the heat.  Cool and add the lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Brush the warm cakes with this lemon syrup and you will see that the cake will absorb the syrup evenly.

Now what do you envision would be the best possible filling for this lovely cake?  I imagine Lemon Cream with fresh blueberries or Blueberry Preserves under a Lemon Cream.  I can imagine a mascarpone cream filling with fresh strawberries or raspberries..hmm..

Classic White Cake

July 18, 2012

Nothing says wedding more than White Cake.  However, white cakes can be tricky if you are a person challenged by folding whipped egg whites into a cake batter which is the case with many a white cake recipe.  The best way to make white cake is to use the egg whites as if they were ordinary eggs and add them as you would a whole egg..just add the egg whites a little at a time.

Classic wedding cake with lovely blue ribbon border

Prepare 3 – 10″ cake pans with parchment rounds and plenty of pan release.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees f.

Ingredients:

6 ounces unsalted butter softened to room temperature

2 ounces vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

6 ounces egg whites

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 1/3 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

Cream the unsalted butter, vegetable oil and sugar together until they are very light and fluffy.  Add the egg whites a little at a time.  Add the vanilla extract.

Alternate the dry ingredients with the milk in thirds.  Do not over mix or tunneling may occur.  Divide evenly into your cake pans and bake for about 25 and test with a toothpick to make sure the cakes are baked through the center.  Remove from the oven and cool at least 15 to 20 minutes in the cake pans before removing from the cake pans.  Invert the pans and finish cooling the cake layers on top of the bottom of the pans before chilling them thoroughly in the refrigerator.

This cake is excellent filled with fresh Strawberry Mousse (see Fillings in categories), or Chocolate Mousse, or Bavarian Cream with fresh fruit.  I love it with Lemon Cream and fresh blueberries.  Use your imagination and begin to visualize good combinations of flavors and textures.

To make an orange cake, simply add a Tablespoon of grated orange rind and a teaspoon or two of Hero Orange Compound.

Opera Cake

June 14, 2012

Traditionally, Opera Cake is a square cake half the size of the cake you would make here.  You can make opera cake into bite sized petit fours by just cutting them in tiny rectangles and glazing them with chocolate and a dab of 24 carat gold.  I have made wedding cakes of Opera Cake and they are exceedingly rich.  The coffee syrup should soak the layers of rich almond cake well and a thin layer of chocolate glaze or thin ganache is good under each layer of coffee flavored buttercream.

Opera Cake

10 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature

10 ounces granulated sugar divided into equal 5 ounce portions

10 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

10 egg whites

6 ounces cake flour

4 ounces almond meal or ground almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Prepare two half sheet pans with spray and parchment for lining.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer cream the butter and 5 ounces of granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the yolks a few at a time and scrape down the bowl.  Add the vanilla extract.

Blend the flour and almond meal and set aside.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer whip the egg whites to a frothy point and add the remaining 5 ounces of granulated sugar in a thin stream and whip to soft peaks.

Carefully fold the whites into the yolk mixture and then sprinkle and gently fold in the flour and almonds.

Divide batter between the two pans equally and spread evenly and thinly.  Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Cool and remove bake skin.  Use an 8” square template to cut the cake for building in the pan.

This cake was all Opera Cake. Because Opera Cake is filled with buttercream over chocolate ganache or glaze, it will firm up quite a bit in refrigeration which means it will hold up during a long reception quite well.

Process for making the Opera Cake

Bake the almond sponge cake in two sheet pans that are lined with parchment paper and sprayed with pan release or buttered.

Reduce 1 cup of strong coffee to two Tablespoons for flavoring the buttercream.

Boil 1 cup of strong coffee with 1 cup of sugar for 5 minutes and add 2 Tablespoons of coffee liquor for the soaking syrup.

Make the buttercream

Make the ganache for the filling under the coffee flavored buttercream.

Make the chocolate glaze for the top of the cake.

Using an 8” square template, cut the squares of sponge and the strips of sponge for the center pieces of the cake.  Line a 8” square cake pan with plastic wrap.  Start by placing a full square of sponge on the bottom of the cake pan.  Soak with the coffee/liquor syrup and then spread a thin layer of the chocolate ganache on top of the soaked sponge.  Chill until the ganache is set and then add the coffee buttercream on top of the ganache layer..add another square of sponge, soak with coffee simple syrup, cover with chocolate ganache and set in refrigeration before adding more coffee flavored buttercream.  Add the spliced layers of sponge and repeat..until you end with a neat square on top.  Chill and then cover the top of the cake with chocolate glaze and set in the refrigerator.  Decorate with gold leaf if desired.

The recipe will make two tiers of cake like this one. Remember to build your cake in a lined cake pan and chill well.

8 eggs separated

1 cup water

2/3 cups vegetable oil

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

12 ounces cake flour

6 ounces hazelnut meal (special order through PCC)

4 teaspoons baking powder (1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon salt

5 ounces granulated sugar for the flour/hazelnut mixture

9 ounces granulated sugar for the meringue

Using two mixers with whip attachments, place the yolks in one bowl and whites in the other mixer bowl.  Add the water, oil and vanilla to the yolks and combine all on low speed.

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the hazelnut meal with the baking powder and salt plus 5 ounces of the granulated sugar.  Whisk together so that the hazelnut meal is well incorporated into the flour.

Begin to whip the egg whites on medium high.  Add the 9 ounces of granulated sugar to the whites when they are at the soft peak stage.  Whip the whites until they are soft but completely hold their shape.

Put all of the flour/hazelnut mixture into the egg yolks and whip until well combined.  Scrape down the bowl and whip on high for about a minute.

Fold the whites into the yolk/hazelnut mixture until they are very well combined.  Remember that you have baking powder in this cake so the possibility of the cake falling is remote.

Divide into your cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes.  This is enough batter for 3 8” cake pans and 3 5”cake pans.

5 ounces of batter can go into the 5” cake pans and  12 ounces of batter an go into the 8” cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes..

Chocolate Mousse which can be flavored with

Praline Paste

8 ounces good quality dark chocolate melted and cooled

3 ounces egg yolks

3 ounces whole eggs

4 ounces granulated sugar for hot syrup

¼ cup cold water

14 ounces heavy cream whipped

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer whip the yolks and whole eggs until they are light and fluffy.

Moisten the granulated sugar with ¼ cup of water and boil it to a temperature of 240 degrees F.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and refrigerate until needed.

When the syrup is 240 degrees F, pour over the whipped egg mixture in the heavy duty mixer and allow to continue to whip until cool.

The melted chocolate should be no cooler than 90 degrees F. when you pour it into the cooled egg mixture.  The chocolate needs to be immediately and with some vigor folded into the eggs.

Fold in the whipped cream and thoroughly blend.  Add the vanilla and you have the most delectable chocolate mousse ever..!

Flavor with praline paste for a hazelnut mousse by putting a couple of scoops of the praline paste in with the melted chocolate before you add the chocolate to the whipped eggs.

You can ice the cakes with Italian meringue buttercream flavored with chocolate or just vanilla.  To flavor buttercream with chocolate, you need to melt a weight of chocolate that is 25% of the total weight of the buttercream you are going to flavor.

If you have 28 ounces of Italian meringue buttercream, which is a single recipe, you need to melt 7 ounces of good chocolate.

Frangelico Simple Syrup

Flavor 1 cup of simple syrup with 1/2 cup Frangelico liquor

Your simple syrup should be made by boiling 1 cup sugar in 2 cups water for 10 minutes and make sure it is cool before adding the Frangelico liquor.

Flavored syrups are good in refrigeration for a week or so but it is always best to use all your products as soon as possible.

Two tiers 8″ and 5″

Line the cake pans with plastic wrap and place a prepared layer of cake in each pan.  Brush layer of cake with Frangelico syrup and pipe a dam of Italian meringue butter cream around the rim of each cake layer.   Fill with hazelnut mousse, top with another layer of cake, brush with syrup, pipe the dam and fill with the mousse..top with the final layer of cake upside down and brush with syrup.

Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  Remove from the pans and invert on cake boards right side up so that the syrup continues to move downwards.  Ice with Italian meringue buttercream and if you are going to cover your cakes with white chocolate fondant, chill them very well before hand.  Remember to always ice your cake boards so that the fondant has something to adhere to at the very bottom of the cake.  Stack as you would with support dowels in the 8″ tier.  You can glue the cakes with royal icing on the top of the 8″ cake or just assemble at your venue or at home so that there is no dowel mark showing on top.  Some people will create a hole in the bottom of the top tier of cake through the cake board and place a dowel half way up into the top tier.  It is up to you to discover what works best for you.

People are apprehensive about doweling cakes and putting stabilizing dowels in cakes.  You just have to do it enough times successfully so that you gain confidence.

Best of luck!

Swedish Princess Cake

June 12, 2012

Because the cakes are domed with whipped cream, placing cakes on separated plates like this is a way to serve a Princess Cake for a wedding cake. Otherwise, ice the filled cakes with buttercream before covering with marzipan.

I was very fortunate to have gone to the California Culinary Academy beginning in January of 1979 which meant, I was the second class formed in that school.  Bo Friberg was the pastry chef instructor at the time.  Bo was a Swedish pastry chef who was very well trained in Sweden.  He was also the pastry chef at Tiburon’s well loved bakery cafe, Sweden House.  His signature cake in my estimation was Princess Cake which is a light delicately flavored cake covered in marzipan.  This was my birthday cake every year for I don’t know how many years.  It was my favorite cake growing up.

When I went to New York City soon after beginning my baking career, I made Swedish Princess Cake for a job application at William Poll Gourmet Luxuries and Catering which used to be located on Lexington Ave. and 72nd Street.  I got the job.  Princess Cake has always been a truly beloved cake.

For the Marzipan:

Real marzipan is made with pure almond paste and the fresher the almond paste the better.  (see my page on Suppliers and Ingredients)

Marzipan

14 ounces almond paste

14 ounces confectioners’ sugar

3 ounces corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon rum

Break up the almond paste into small pieces and place it in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer.  It is advisable to add the confectioner’s sugar a little at a time and using a  paddle mix the almond paste and confectioners’ sugar until dry crumbs the size of peas is achieved.

Add the corn syrup and the vanilla and the rum if you like.  Rum can be omitted but it is delicious.

Make sure the paste is soft and pliable..wrap and set aside for covering the cake.  You can refrigerate marzipan for up to a month.  You can use the marzipan immediately.

Chiffon Cake

8 eggs separated

2/3 cup oil

1 cup cold water

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

14 ounces cake flour

14 ounces sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

With whip attachments, place the egg whites and egg yolks in separate mixing bowls.  In the bowl with the yolks, add the oil, water and vanilla.  Whip on slow speed until frothy.

Begin whipping the egg whites on moderately high speed.  When the whites are at the soft peak stage add 2/3 of the sugar and continue to whip to a meringue..

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1/3 of the sugar or 5 ounces and add the dry all at once to the egg yolk mixture and whip on medium speed to incorporate the ingredients well.  Scrape down the bowl and continue to whip for 1 minute on moderately high speed.

Fold the whites into the yolk mixture and and make sure the whites are well incorporated.  Bake in the pans for about  20 minutes, give or take a few.

Strawberry Preserves

The nice thing about making strawberry preserves or any preserves for Swedish princess cake is their freshness and the ability to add lemon for brightness.

You can use commercial preserves of your choice.  Raspberry preserves are often used but strawberry has always been a favorite as well.

1 pound strawberries cleaned and finely chopped

2 cups sugar

Rind of a lemon

A couple of teaspoons lemon juice

1 packet pectin

Cook the strawberries and sugar over medium high heat until the juices run and the mixture begins to boil.  Add the rind of the lemon and the lemon juice and bring to a boil.  When the mixture comes to a rolling boil add the packet of pectin and boil for exactly 1 minute and remove from heat.  Pour into a clean container and cool for a day.   Preserves should be used immediately.  For wedding cake making, it is advisable to make preserves just for the cake that is being filled with them.  It is best not to use homemade canned preserves for wedding cakes.  Use commercially made preserves for safety reasons.

French Vanilla Cream

1 ½ cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

1 whole egg

2 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons corn starch

2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream whipped

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, using a paddle, beat the yolks and the whole egg until they begin to lighten.  Add the granulated sugar to the egg mixture in a thin stream.  Allow to beat until the egg/sugar mixture is light and increased in volume.

Bring the milk and the heavy cream to a boil in a saucepan.

While the milk and heavy cream are warming up on the stove, add the corn starch and the all purpose flour to the egg mixture and beat well to thicken.

After the milk and cream show the first signs of bubbles, remove from the stove, stop the mixer and pour in a small amount of the hot milk/cream to temper the eggs.  You never want to shock eggs with hot liquids..this process has to happen slowly.  Begin to blend slowly and then pour mixture back into the saucepan and start to warm the mixture up on the stove once again but use a whisk to keep the mixture moving as it heats up because you don’t want lumps to form.  The process of heating this custard with the corn starch and the flour is a process that bursts the starch in both ingredients and that is how the custard is thickened.

When a bubble is reached and the temperature is about 160 degrees F or a bit more, remove from the stove and add the vanilla extract.   Pour the contents of the saucepan into a flat shallow container and place plastic directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming..chill well.

Whip the 1 cup of heavy cream and fold into the cooled custard to lighten it up.

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and add the sugar.  Whip to stiff peaks and chill to reserve.

Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

2 cups cold water

Boil for 10 minutes and cool

Assemble

Bake the chiffon cakes

Make the marzipan and the strawberry preserves.

Whip the cream

Make the French Vanilla Cream

Have simple syrup ready

Prepare the layers of chiffon cake by removing the bake layer.  On the bottom layer of cake, spread a generous amount of strawberry preserves.  Place another layer of cake on the preserves and brush with simple syrup.  Cover the second layer with a generous amount of French Vanilla Cream.  Place another layer of cake on the French Vanilla Cream and brush with simple syrup.  Cover the whole cake with the chilled whipped cream and dome in the center so that when you cover the cake with marzipan it will have a rounded top.

Roll out the marzipan and drape over the cake.  Marzipan can benefit from being rolled out over a thin dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Decorate with royal icing piped in any design you wish or just decorate with a simple pink marzipan rose which is the traditional decoration.  These cakes are often tinted green, however for a wedding cake, the natural color of the marzipan is beautiful.  You can color the marzipan any color you wish but keep the colors light and pale..dark marzipan is unappetizing.