Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Mother...and...."Zebra" Cake!

Yesterday was my mom's birthday! But my family celebrated her birthday last weekend. My brother and sister-in-law came into town and my mom wanted to go to El Real Tex-Mex, the Astros game, and the David Crowder concert after the game. So we did!
Dad and brother at the Astros game.
I also made the Cake Slice Bakers cake of the month (I missed June's), which was a Zebra Cake. My mom's favorite kind of cake is "white with white icing", but when I told her about the zebra cake she was game to try it.

I've noticed something about myself - with few exceptions, I don't like to make something more than once. I love trying new recipes and seeing how they will turn out, but I rarely make them again. It just seems like there are too many recipes that I want to try and I don't want to waste time making the same thing again. Although, making the same recipe repeatedly is the best way to perfect it.

I've also noticed that I like to be a little daring with my baking. Like making a new recipe for a group. Or committing to a cake I'm not sure I can pull off. Or combining things that maybe shouldn't go zebra cake....and swiss meringue buttercream....yeah.

This zebra cake was supposed to be one layer and sans icing. I decided to double the recipe and make it 2 layers and add icing.

A few notes:
1. The batter was really thin and different than most cake batters I've made.
2. My cake did NOT come out looking zebra striped. I'm not sure what I did wrong, and it didn't truly bother me, but my cake was sporting more of a marble look than zebra stripes.
3. This cake is thick and dense, like a pound cake.
4. I don't really like swiss meringue buttercream, but it was fun to make and it's nice to know what it is. I've definitely tasted it on cupcakes. It's light and yet rich at the same time, with a very silky texture, and an almost whipped cream like feel.
5. Don't ever buy those cans of icing to decorate a cake. You know, those cans that are kind of like an EZ-cheese can? They give you no control and anything you do with them will look like something that belongs on Cake Wrecks.

6. Overall, this cake was very tasty. Most people (including myself) scraped the icing off and mostly ate the cake, but that's fine.

Zebra Cake
Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman
4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups whole or 2% milk
2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
1 cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pan and dust with flour. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, stir in the milk, butter, oil and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. Stir in the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time.

Transfer a third of the batter into another bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder.

Place a quarter cup of the vanilla batter into the center of the pan and let it stand for a few seconds so it spreads out slightly. Place 2 tablespoons of the chocolate batter right on top of the vanilla and wait another few seconds until it spreads. Continue alternating vanilla and chocolate until you have used up all the batter and it has spread to the edges of the pan.

Bake until the cake is set and a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a cutting board. Re-invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Marth Stewart via Annie Eats
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don't worry, it will come together!) Stir in the vanilla extract and mix just until incorporated. Tint with gel icing color as desired.
Yield: about 5 cups

No comments: