Sunday, April 26, 2015

funfetti cake

All the upcoming major life events have been keeping me on my toes; graduating, moving, starting a new job, and getting married within the span of a month has meant lots of paperwork and projects--not to mention that we recently celebrated a trifecta of birthdays that kept me busy!


Fortunately, I think we're now past some of the most stressful parts of all that, including the most important part of our wedding planning: choosing the cakes.  I made this funfetti cake back when I was deciding on which cakes we wanted to make, and, though this funfetti recipe is certainly good, I have to say that I much prefer the Italian Cream Cake when it comes to eating white (i.e. non-chocolate) cake, likely because my love for cream cheese frosting goes far above and beyond my appreciation for plain buttercream.



With the cake choices all sorted out, we've moved onto less stressful topics of debate, such as what couch we should get to replace our current one (let's just say the springs have completely sprung in all three cushions) and whether or not we'll be able to find a dreamy farmhouse table on craigslist.


Reading craigslist everyday for available furniture is most definitely going to be one of the best parts about furnishing our new house.  First of all, the posts (even for furniture) are littered with entertainment (I wanted to start a people of craigslist blog, but apparently that already exists).


Sofa with "staright lines?" (With much more "1980s awesomeness" than a striped sofa, mind you.)  Readily available this Saturday.  Get your number and get in line.

Looking for a vintage foyer or display table (also known as an ironing board in this case)?  This guy can meet you at Burger King; it can be all yours for $25.

Wanting a gorgeous set of china with which to serve your guests on special holidays?  I highly recommend this collectors set of plates decorated with "Classical American Beauties:" only $12!



Happy Sunday!  Enjoy some funfetti cake served on that new classy dish-ware you found on craigslist!


Adapted from Molly Yeh for Food52

Ingredients

cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used homemade vanilla extract)
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons sprinkles

frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used homemade vanilla extract)

Instructions

bake the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease two 6-inch cake pans with Crisco.  Line with parchment and grease parchment.
  3. Using an electric or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Incorporate two egg whites into the butter-sugar mixture, one at a time.
  5. Mix in vanilla and oil then baking powder and salt.
  6. Mix in cake flour, alternating with the milk.
  7. When batter is smooth, gently stir in 1/3 cup of sprinkles.
  8. Divide cake batter evenly between the two six-inch cake pans.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of sprinkles evenly of the top of the two cakes.
  9. Bake cakes for 15 to 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.  Allow cakes to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
make the frosting
  1. Using an electric or stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes on medium-high to high speed).
  2. Slowly incorporate powdered sugar and then vanilla extract.  When powdered sugar is fully incorporated, increase speed (medium-high speed or so) and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the frosting is nice and fluffy.
assemble the cake
I like to freeze my cake layers for about 15 to 30 minutes or so after they cool to make them easier to frost and level.  Once frozen, level cakes and then frost with a crumb coat.  Freeze after the crumb coat for about 15 minutes, and then finish with another coat of frosting.  Sprinkle with extra sprinkles for decoration and serve!



Monday, February 16, 2015

italian cream cake

This Italian cream cake (also called Italian wedding cake) is another old-school, family recipe.  Back before I fell in love with that chocolate peanut butter cake, I always wanted this for a birthday cake.  Before we discovered Italian cream cake, I was in love with carrot cake, and I suppose my love for all three stems from my deep adoration of a cream-cheese-based frosting.


In a few months, Nick and I will be tying the knot and celebrating with our nearest and dearest, some good food, and (hopefully) some homemade cake(s).


Personally, I have analysis paralysis sometimes, especially when it comes to picking a favorite dessert--I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens!  (Bonus points for knowing from which 1998 Drew Barrymore movie I stole that line).


Inevitably, this overwhelming love for dessert means that I'll be making several single-tier cakes, but the problem still remains in narrowing down my choices.  Obviously there must be a double chocolate cake for my sister Steph and a red velvet cake for my mother and a cheesecake for Nick, but what else? 


Funfetti?  Vanilla?  Almond?  Italian cream cake?  Strawberry?  Mix it up with brownies or crack pie?


I mean--sheesh!  How do you still pick from those?  Since we're not going around doing cake testing, I thought it would be kind of fun to still do it on a small scale to help us decide (and I'm sure that those getting in on the cake testing will certainly attest to its necessity).


This recipe is hopefully the first of several to undergo the test process, but it is still a favorite.  I scaled it down to two-fifths of the recipe for the sake of this small cake, but scaling it down is messy (think tablespoons mixed with teaspoons for each ingredient), so I have shared the whole, original, old-school recipe here, updated to have double the cream cheese frosting and everything.



Ingredients

Cake
1 stick (½ cup) butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 c oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup buttermilk
5 eggs, separated

Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 stick butter
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F

2.  Make the cake.
  • Prepare 3 round 9-inch cake pans by greasing, flouring, and lining with parchment paper.
  • Cream 1 stick butter, oil and sugar until smooth.
  • Add egg yolks and beat well. 
  • Add flour and baking soda to creamed mixture. 
  • Add the buttermilk, vanilla, coconut, and nuts.
  • In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Then, fold stiffly beaten egg whites into cake batter.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
3.  Make the frosting
  • Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add sugar and mix well.
  • Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Beat in nuts and coconut until well-combined.
4.  Frost cake and serve. Top with extra toasted coconut if desired for decoration.
5.  Store in the refrigerator covered or in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

loaded maple ice cream with oatmeal cookie pieces

With snow having already arrived here in St. Louis, it might be a little late for sharing this Fall-themed ice cream; in fact, it seems that we have been scooped up and dropped in the middle of Winter with the amount of snow that we've already had.


My only hope is that this early snow isn't a sign that we are about to be buried under another winter comprised of snowpocalypses; unfortunately, I do believe the Farmer's Almanac is predicting colder than normal temperatures if not massive amounts of snow.  I am still acclimating to the cold temperatures, and, as with every winter, will simply feel cold constantly until Spring decides to show its face.


I do maintain that, despite the cold weather, there is no seasonality for ice cream.  Though this may be Fall-themed, I do think that perhaps maple flavoring and oatmeal cookies have not quite worn out their welcome, as we have have yet to celebrate the upcoming pumpkin-turkey-mashed potatoes-and-gravy themed holiday... despite what the Christmas-themed department store might otherwise indicate.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

grilled asaparagus with prosciutto, fried bread,and poached egg

It's certainly no secret that Nick and I love foodie projects; from making our own pasta to trying Pad Thai at home to brewing beer, we we will try making anything for which we have the time.  Fortunately, we have an ever-growing collection of cookbooks, the Internet, and the Great British Bake Off to provide endless sources of inspiration.


Over the last year, we've been collecting Thomas Keller's cookbooks, which provide innumerable projects:  as the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants, you can hardly expect that his recipes will be simple.  We have made his Ad Hoc fried chicken, which was the best fried chicken I have ever had, and we just tried his apple fritters (dipped in caramel sauce despite Nick's protests) last night.