Thursday, August 11, 2011

I like cake, make no mistake-Take (Angela) Jean

Amelia's birthday cake was inspired by a drawing she made for me several weeks ago. I wish I had kept the drawing and scanned if for you, but you'll just have to trust me. It was a picture of a round white cake, with white icing and pink, yellow, purple and orange flowers on it. It had four candles on the top.

I've always loved the smooth look of fondant cakes and have watched my fair share of Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes. I thought I'd give it a shot.

I bought all the fondant pre-made and pre-coloured, at Bulk Barn (the happiest place on earth). I'm no hero.

I decided to make a white cake and used a favourite recipe from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. It is such a delicious cake that I forget how much work it is. Every time I'm making the cake I swear I'll never make it again. And every time I eat the cake I moan.

  • 3 cups cake flour, (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 large egg whites

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9 by 2 inch cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
  4. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.
  5. Divide the batter between prepared pans, smooth with an offset spatula.
  6. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.
I inverted the cakes onto a cooling rack and let them cool.

I made a very simple frosting to fill between the layers, and to cover the cake before adding the fondant.

  • 2 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
I mixed the ingredients by hand with a silicone spatula. The frosting came together very quickly. No need for an electric mixer. Truth be told, I didn't feel like washing the bowl for the mixer AGAIN.

My biggest challenge for the next part was tempering my perfectionistic self with my inclusive-mothering-teaching self, as is always the case when I bake with Amelia. Little kids want to rush. They want to get it done. They want to do it All. By. Themself! I, on the other hand, want to take my time, set up properly, go slowly and have it look as good as it can.
I have to bite my tongue a lot, and resist the temptation to say "No! Wait! Not like that!" I want her to learn patience, and attention to detail, but not at the expense of enjoyment. I want her to remember baking with me (and this translates to other activities too) as being magical and fun. I don't want her memories to be having to watch only, or of me barking at her. For the most part, I think I'm OK at finding that balance...i.e. letting her decorate her own batch of cookies, gingerbread house etc, but this time was trickier because fondant was new to me too, and we only got one kick at the can.
Amelia helped quite a bit. She rolled all the little balls of pink and purple fondant. She used the cookie cutters to cut out the flower shapes and she decided where each flower got placed on the cake.
Rolling out the fondant was pretty easy. It did crack a wee bit in spots, but all in all I was pleased. Unfortunately, with all the biting of tongues and icing sugar all over my hands, there are no photos of the process.
But, as my Dad says "we made a memory" and it was a good one!

No comments:

Post a Comment