Friday, December 21, 2012
Before the year ends (no, not the world, come on already!), apparently I’ve achieved something rather unexpected.
The one where I baked not my first one, but TWO wedding cakes, to be picked up on the same day. To top that off, one of the cakes was new to me. No, to top that off, I missed the wedding (logistic issues) and didn’t get to eat the cake. There were sleepless hours, agony over non-existent fridge real estate, and that few minutes where I dropped (and almost broke) one of the red velvet layers. There were consultations with the other half on the piping job – yes, Vijay has a good eye on these things too.
In the end it was worth it. Even when that one piece of Double Chocolate Layer Cake saved for me by the client was accidentally given to someone else. I was told the cakes were fought over, completely wiped out.
And we got really good home-cooked mutton from the village.
Magnolia’s Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Vanilla Frosting
Recipe adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes From New York's Sweetest Bakery
Yield: 1 3-layer 9-inch round cake
For the cake:
For the frosting:
- 3 1/2 cups/470 grams cake flour (not self-rising)
- 3/4 cup/1 1/2 sticks/6 ounces/170 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups/470 grams sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons red food coloring
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, shaken
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups/4 sticks/16 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Bake the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with baking paper.
In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (mine were done around 23 minutes). Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
Prepare the frosting: In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, about 10-15 minutes. (The time here is just a guide, I took about 8 minutes.)
Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Place a piece of waxed paper directly on the surface and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. In a large bowl, on medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.
Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (no less and no longer – set a timer!) Use immediately.
Prepare the frosting: Prepare the cake board or serving platter with strips of baking paper around it. Dollop a small amount of frosting and place on top the first cake layer in the center. Spread over about 1/2 cup of frosting. Repeat with next cake layer and top with the final cake layer. Cover cake completely with a thin layer frosting for the crumb coat. Chill cake along with the rest of the frosting for about 15 minutes. Decorate cake as desired – this frosting pipes rather well, as long as chilled to the right consistency.
Do ahead: Cake layers can be baked, cooled, cling wrapped and frozen ahead for up to 5 days. Frosting has to be made and used at the same day. Cake keeps well chilled.
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