Sure, two of the girls look totally ticked and the other a bit unsure of herself, but it's not because they don't look fabulous in their neck ties. Which is why I decided to put my lady cake's bow around her neck instead of atop her head.
Cupid's Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream
from Baking for Every Occasion by Flo Braker
from Baking for Every Occasion by Flo Braker
Notes about this cake: Flo Braker's cakes are incredibly well-crafted. You can tell she understands what she's doing just by the way she writes her recipes. They're extremely well-detailed; it's like she's holding your hand the whole way through. However, they require both careful reading and planning. I highly recommend reading each recipe thoroughly before deciding to take on the challenge, because, though this cake is doable, it is a challenge. It is imperative that each ingredient be as she describes and each step be followed exactly as she says, or it won't turn out, especially the frosting. It is certainly a very delicious cake with fantastic texture, and it's exactly the kind of cake you'd want to make if you're interested in building your culinary skills. But there are easier from-scratch cakes to make which are almost or just as good (like this Buttermilk Spice Cake.)
Signature Yellow Cake
Yield: Two 9-inch or three 8-inch cake layers
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 3/4 ounces/305 grams) cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks/225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temerpature
2 cups (14 ounces/400 grams) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 large (1/4 cup/2fl ounces/60ml) egg yolks
1 cup (8 fl ounces/240 ml) whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Before baking: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat two 9 by 2-inch or three 8 by 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, then flour them, tapping out the excess flour. Or, butter and flour the pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. have all of the ingredients at room temerature.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a large sheet of waxed paper; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it is lighter in color, clings to the sides of the bowl, and is smooth and creamy, about 45 seconds. Add the sugar in a steady stream, and then stop the mizer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat on medium speed until the mixture is very lightin color and texture, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the beaten whole eggs, 3 to 4 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then add the egg yolks, one at a time, again beating after each addition until incorporated. The entire process of adding and beating the eggs should take 3 to 4 minutes, at which point the mixture should appear fluffy and increased in volume.
On the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in four additions alternately with the milk in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing well after each addition until incorporated. Stop the mixer often to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the vanilla during the last moments of mixing.
Spoon equal amounts of the batter into each pan. With a rubber spatula, spread the batter from the center outward, creating a slightly raised ridge around the outside rim.
Bake the cakes until the tops spring back when lightly touched in the center and the edges are beginning to come away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Tilt and rotate a pan while gently tapping at on a counter to release the cake sides. If they don't release, slip a thin metal spatula between the still-warm cake and the pan and run the spatula carefully along the entire perimeter of the pan. Invert a wire rack on top of the cake, invert the cake onto it, and carefully life off the pan. Slowly peel off the parchment liner, turn it over so that the sticky side faces up, and reposition it on the top of the cake. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack. Repeat with the remaining layer(s). Let cool completely.
If serving the cake within 24 house, wrap each layer in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. For longer storage, overwrap with aluminum foil, label with the contents and date, and freeze for up to 2 weeks. To thaw, remove the foil and leave at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
|With her beau who you can learn all about here! He's made of Chocolate Mousse Cake...|
Cream Cheese Buttercream
Yield: One 9-inch, 4-layer round cake, 14 to 16 servings
Two 8-ounce packages cold cream cheese
4 ounces (1 stick/115 grams) unsalted butter
4 larges (1/2 cup/21/2 fl ounces/75ml) egg yolks, at room temperature
4 Tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces/150 grams) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces/35 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup (5 ounces/140 grams) red currant jelly
2 cups (10 ounces/280 grams) strawberries, hulled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
Bake the cake layers as directed, and let cool completely on wire racks.
To make the Cream Cheese Buttercream:
Have ready for easy access in the freezer about 15 ice cubes in a resealable plastic bag for cooling the buttercream frosting quickly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese on the lowest speed just until spreading consistency. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add the butter, mixing just until smooth and homeogenous. Transfer the miture to a medium bowl; set nearby.
Reattach the clean bowl with the whisk attachment to the mixer abd whip the egg yolks on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. Detach the whisk and the bowl from the mixer; set the whisk close by to use later. Pour 1 tablespoon of the water in a small microwave-safe glass. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside to soften for at least 5 minutes.
In a small, heavy sauce pan, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons water and the [granulated] sugar, place over low heat, swirling the pan occasionally to distribute the heat and dissolve the sugar. Combine to cook over low heat (don't boil) until the sugar completely dissolves, about 2 minutes. Keep a pastry brush in a small glass of water nearby for washing down any sugar crystals that form along the sides of the pan.
As soon as the sugar has dissolved, raise the heat to medium and boil, without stirring, until the mixture registers 238 degrees F (soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 4 minutes. Without delay, pour the syrup into the center og the whipped yolks amd, using the mixer's whisk attachment, whisk vigorously by hand to combine.
Reattach the bowl and the whisk to the mixer and whip on medium speed until the egg yolk mixture thickens, increases in volume, lightens in color and texture, and cools to room temperature, about 4 minutes. As you begin to whip, hold the reserved plastic bag with ice cubes against the bottom of the bowl, or as close to the bottom of the bowl as possible, to speed the cooling. As soon as the mixture is cool (close to room temperature or slightly cooler to avoid melting the cream cheese mixture when it is added), detach the whisk and replace it with the paddle attachment. Microwave the gelatin for 8 to 9 seconds only, to heat the mixture just enough to dissolve the gelatin. Stir or swirl the gelatin mixture and set aside briefly. On the lowest speed, slowly add the cream cheese mixture and blend after each addition until smooth. Add the gelatin mixture in the last moments of mixing. Detach the paddle and the bowl from the mixer and with a rubber spatula, gently fold in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. Use the buttercream right away.
To assemble the cake:
Using a 12-inch serrated knife, split each layer in half horizontally (page 25) to create 4 layers, each about 3/4 inch thick. Set the bottom layer of 1 cake, cut side up, on a sturdy cardboard round the same diameter as the cake. Using a metal icing spatula, spread 1/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces/70 grams) of the jelly evenly over the layer to the edge. Top with the second layer, cut side down. Using an offset spatula, evenly spread about 3/4 cup of the buttercream over the cake to the edge. Cover the buttercream to the edge with a single layer of strawberry slices, and then carefully spread (to keep the strawberries in place) about 1/3 cup of the buttercream over the strawberries. Center the bottom layer of the second cake layer, cut side up, on top. Spread the remaining 1/4 cup jelly evenly over the cake. Top with the last cake layer, cut side down.
Spread the sides and top of the cake with buttercream. (You won't need all of the buttercream for this cake. Cover and refrigerate the remainder for another dessert. It will keep for up to 1 week. Remove fro mthe refrigerator 20 to 30 minute before using, to allow it to soften sufficiently to spread.) With a textured scraper, gently comb lines in the soft buttercream onthe top and sides of the cake, forming a grid pattern. Arrange the remaining strawberry slices, overlapping them, around the top of the edge of the cake.
To serve, cut into slices with a serrated knige. Or, transfer the cake to a cake box or sturdy covered contrainer and refrigerate for up to 2 days (the buttercream will firm up in the refrigerator yet remain creamy.) For the best flavor and texture, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
|You can see the lemon zest in the frosting. Combined with the strawberries and currants inside, this cake has a warm yet vibrant flavor.|
Serve her alongside her other half as part of a couples Valentine's Day dessert party!
Happy Valentine's Day!