May 20, 2012

pink cake

I made my first ever pink cake, for the boys' cousin Abby, who turned 4 this weekend.  Her mum's just given birth to another little girl, and together with Abby and little brother Jack, she had her hands full but couldn't not throw a birthday party for the little girl who loves pink.  So I volunteered to make the cake, because lord knows I might never get the chance to make pink one for my own children.

It was pretty much great.  Even if I do say so.  A little sweet maybe, but it was a birthday cake!  The pink frosting was a normal buttercream frosting, pinked up with pureed raspberries.  And for the cake itself, I followed a recipe I found online, modifying it slightly and adding 1/2 cup of hundreds and thousands, which in the baked cake left little speckles of pink throughout.  I kept the decoration simple (I always do - I can't use a piping bag and I'm really not that inventive), a few silver cachous sprinkled on top and some white ribbon and twine around the sides.  It was a winner - we thought it looked and tasted great.  The cake batter itself is a recipe I'm going to use again.  It's the first I've ever baked using just egg whites, and it was delicious.  It actually tasted like birthday.  Here is the recipe, adapted slightly from Sweetapolita, a blog that has more recipes for a simple butter cake than you could imagine.

White vanilla cake (enough for two 8" or 9" layers)

1 cup whole milk (240 ml at room temperature
6 large egg whites (175 grams), at room temperature (I only needed 5 for 175 grams)
2 1/4 teaspoons (11.25 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups (315 g) plain flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar (300 grams) (I really think you could get away with much less)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder (20g)
3/4 teaspoon salt (5 grams)
170 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
~1/2 cup hundreds and thousands or whatever you like or nothing at all

1. Preheat oven to 180°c. Grease and line  two round 8 or 9 inch pans.
2. Combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk and vanilla in a jug. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together on low speed for a minute or so.
4. Add the butter and blend on low speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining 3/4 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg/milk mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition. Gently stir in the hundreds and thousands, until just combined.
6. Divide the batter into the two tins.
7. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Start checking the cakes at 20 minutes and then every couple of minutes. 
8. Apparently, you can wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. 

Raspberry frosting (way loads - 3/4 of the quantity below would be enough to sandwich, crumb coat and cover a two layer 9" cake)

375 g unsalted butter, softened
500 g icing sugar (I used the soft icing mix stuff you get here in Australia)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk 
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raspberry puree made from frozen raspberries

1. Whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I used my KitchenAid on setting 4) until it is pale and creamy.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except puree, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.
3. Add raspberry puree and beat until incorporated.

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