First of all, just let me tell you how beautiful you look in lilac and soft daffodil-yellow. (You should wear them longer, and more often.)
Since we have always been close, I thought I could come to you with a tiny request.
I managed to make a perfectly, symmetrical, layer cake. This is very rare, very rare, and I'm concerned about a hidden price.
Also, aside from the shifty-looking "freckle" on my arm, and a shady "unknown" number that keeps ringing my cell phone at 2am, it's been kind of smooth sailing lately. *knock on wood*
Because I tend to get a bit antsy when I don't have something huge to pick apart anxiously, I'm really hoping that this isn't a "calm before the storm" scenario.(If that were the case, I'd like to believe that we're tight, and you would give me some sort of a heads-up, yes?)
So I'm just going to ask that you please allow today to be amazing. No pre-weekend bombshells, please.
Thanks, Friday. ♥
P.S. If it's not too much to ask, could you please pass this along to your bff, Saturday? xo
Did I really make a cake that didn't require post-baking surgery, or massive amounts of frosting to patch up a rogue sloping edge?
Yes, yes I did.
Before you get too excited for me (because I know you're trying hard to hold back), I should confess that this was a tiny 4-inch cake...it really didn't have room, or reason, to throw a fantastic crumbly, hissy, fit.
But she is adorable, isn't she?
The recipe is simple, and basic, and should be doubled by anyone who has luck with layer cakes.
However, if you're looking for a tight, little, compact cake, one that you can inconspicuously carry to some unseen corner (with a fork tucked neatly in your belt), this is yours...all yours.
recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking; From My Home to Yours
Yields one 4-inch layer cake
for the cake
1 1/8 cups cake flour
1/2 Tablespoon baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons buttermilk (have the amount measured out and at room temperature before using)
2 egg whites
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 Tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup (that's half a stick) unsalted, room temperature butter
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1/4 cup strawberry preserves.
for the strawberry buttercream
1/4 cup (that's 1/2 a stick) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
4 oz of cream cheese
2-3 Tablespoons strawberry preserves
2 cups confectioners' sugar (have an extra 1/2 cup on hand, just in case)
1/2 Tablespoon milk or cream
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter two 4 x 2 1/2-inch cake pans. Line with the bottoms with parchment paper, butter the paper, and then flour the pans; gently tap out any excess flour.
In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites; Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until it becomes moist and aromatic. Add the butter, and, using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add about one third of the dry ingredients, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the buttermilk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients; beat until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk-egg mixture and beat until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Once everything has been added, beat the batter on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly touched and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on a cooling rack; Let them rest in the pans for about 10 minutes before inverting. Remove the parchment paper, and cool to room temperature. [Well-wrapped, the cakes can be stored at room temperature overnight, or frozen for 2 months.]
Prepare the filling: In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup of strawberry preserves to just below a simmer. Once it has thinned out, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside until cool.
Once the filling has cooled, spread it onto one of the cake layers. Set both cakes aside as you prepare the frosting.
Buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the preserves, and beat to combine. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating well after each addition. Once all the sugar has been added, beat in the cream. If the frosting is too thin, add a about 1/4 cup more of sugar. If it's too thick, add a splash more cream. (Be careful when you add the cream, a little bit can go a long way.)
Spread a little bit of the frosting over the cake layer with the strawberry filling. (If you want, you can actually mix the two together right on top of the cake.) Place the second layer on top of the filling and frosting, gently press down so that it adheres to the first layer. *Use the rest of the buttercream frosting to frost the top and the sides of the cake, sneaking a few licks here and there. :-)
*If you want to apply a crumb coat, spread a very thin layer of the frosting over the entire cake. (Don't use too much frosting, and don't worry about the crumbly bits.) Once the thin layer has been applied, refrigerate the cake for about 2 hours, or until the frosting hardens. Once it's nice and hard, apply the remaining frosting without the worry of crumbs spoiling all the fun.
Decorate as desired!