I read so many baking blogs. I love looking at what others are baking and I usually spend a few hours browsing when I find a new blog, getting a zillion ideas every time. So, last week, I found this. Now, I have never piped a design before so I wasn't even thinking about doing the roses. However, the vertical layer cake! Awesome! I knew I had to make it for Valentine's Day.
At first, I wanted to do a chocolate-red velvet cake, so it would be more red and Valentine day-ish. However, since we're not red velvet cake lovers, I decided against it. I thought it would be the safest to use the recipes that I am Baker provided, but there weren't any! So I used the basic white cake and chocolate cake recipes from her blog. Little did I know that I wasn't going to make two, but three cakes.
White Cake (makes one 8 inch - 20 cm two layer cake - from Joy of Baking)
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour two 8 inch (20 cm) pans.
- Mix sifted flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add 3/4 cup of sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until completely incorporated. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Then add 1/2 milk and mix until combined. Add half of the remaining flour mixture, mix, add the remaining milk and mix. Now add the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Do not overbeat!
- In another clean bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks and gradually add the remaining sugar. Beat until you get stiff peaks (about 3 minutes).
- Fold the egg whites into the cake batter. Do not overstir the batter.
- Put batter into pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry or with very few crumbs.
Chocolate Cake (makes one 8 inch - 20 cm cake, make only half of it! - from the Barefoot Contessa)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter 2 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, butter and flour the pans.
- Mix sifted flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry with the mixer on low speed.
- Add the coffee and stir just to combine.
- Pour the batter into prepared pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Cool in the pans for 30 minutes. Then turn them out on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Forget the part about cooling the cakes. Immediately out of the oven, cut the upper crust of both cakes and stack them. Then place them into the freezer. Now you have 5 (or more) hours to proceed to I am Baker and learn how to make the vertical layers.
I should warn you, though, that you won't get the same amount of cake from both recipes. Sure, they both say that they make enough batter for an 8-inch, 2-layer cake, but they don't specify how tall the layers are going to be! I ended up with a whole other 9-inch chocolate cake. Yes, you guessed right, there was too much chocolate cake batter. But I made the best of it. Nom. The best idea here would be to only make one half of the chocolate batter. I'm sure it would be enough.
I made 2 8-inch cakes, but I had to discard the outermost layers because they somehow fell apart. I ended up with two 6-inch cakes. They were small, but delicious and more beautiful that they would've been if I left the outer layer there. It's the first white cake that I actually liked (frosted with chocolate though), and the chocolate cake was really good too. I think I'll make the two cakes again, since they're really basic and simple recipes that produce great results.
To frost the two vertical layer cakes, I used one batch of Nigella's Chocolate Icing, which tastes heavenly. You can use any frosting/icing you want, but I like this one because it uses sour cream, which we always have at home, and it's very easy to prepare. I would've used red buttercream, but I find it too sweet and I don't like using artificial food colorings on my cakes.
I mentioned that I actually made 3 cakes. I was left with so much leftover chocolate batter that I poured it into a 9-inch pan and baked it. I frosted it with a strawberry-chocolate frosting, which didn't taste like strawberries. Apparently, I didn't use enough of them. It's really not worthy of a blog post. I'll try some other time, maybe with raspberries. More of them.
Approximate cost: 6 €