So I decided to defy my tradition for my birthday and bake a cake this year.
I know, I know. I’m not a cake person. But I have this very cool cookbook, The Birthday Cake Book, and decided to try a recipe from it. See? I actually use the cookbooks I have on my shelves! (I am assuming my husband is reading this. Hi honey!)
I chose the Pretty-in-Pink Cake, which is essentially a white cake with raspberries and a raspberry buttercream frosting. I have not baked a lot of cakes from scratch, so I started early Saturday so the cake would be ready for my birthday party/game night that evening.
I learned a few things.
1. I am so neat that baking from scratch makes me freak out a little because it gets my kitchen messy, but I handled it.
2. Always read the directions all the way through. My frosting was GORGEOUS, but then I added the raspberry puree too fast and so it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. This is what the recipe said would happen if I added the raspberries too fast. D’oh!
3. I need to stop apologizing if my cake doesn’t turn out perfectly. The cake itself was more pound cake than I expected, but everyone still ate it. As Julia Child said, “Never apologize!” They got free cake, right?
- 1 recipe for white cake mix (see below)
- 11/2 cups fresh or frozen, defrosted and drained, raspberries
- 1 standard batch Italian Meringue Buttercream, raspberry variation (see below)
Position rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fold 1/2 cups raspberries into the prepared batter. Proceed with recipe as directed.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool the pans on wire racks for 8 to 10 minutes. Unmold, peel off the parchment, and place the layers directly on the racks to cool completely. They layers are ready to fill and frost.
Have the frosting ready to use. Fill and frost the cake. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight in a covered container. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- 31/2 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 tbsp and 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 11/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 11/2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Coat the bottoms of two 9 x 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray the paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl to combine; set aside. Whisk together the egg whites and milk in a small bowl; set aside.
Beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes, with an electric mixture on medium-high speed. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about three minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the egg white-milk mixture, while beating on low speed. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula.
Follow pretty-in-pink recipe from this point on.
RASPBERRY ITALIAN MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
- 11/4 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 41/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- Frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
Place 1 cup of the sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Stir to wet the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally. Dip a pastry brush in cold water and wash down the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan once or twice. Allow the sugar mixture to simmer gently as you proceed with the egg whites.
Place the egg whites in a clean, grease-free stand mixer bowl and whip until frothy on low speed using the balloon whip attachment. Add the cream of tartar and turn the speed up to medium-high. When the soft peaks form, gradually add the remaining sugar. Continue whipping until soft, glossy peaks form.
Bring the sugar-water mixture to a rapid boil and cook until is reaches 248 to 250 degrees. When the syrup is ready, pour a thin, steady stream directly over the meringue. Do not pour onto the whisk or the sides of the bowl. Whip the meringue until cool to the touch, add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time. Keep beating until the buttercream is completely smooth.
Puree the raspberries in a food processor. Slowly add the puree to the buttercream. It may look soupy, but with continued beating, it will absorb the puree. At some point, the buttercream will not absorb the puree, so proceed with caution. (I added that, as I just dumped it in.) A standard bath of frosting can take about 1 cup of puree.
Recipe courtsey of The Birthday Cake Book