Friday, September 11, 2009
Black Eyed Susan Cake
I made this in the event any readers were forgetting about my inability to decorate a cake. Look! Look! I still can't decorate a cake. There. Done. I should have rotated the layers so that it would show off the marbled effect...oh well.
But friends, I can bake. That's really what's important anyway, correct? Good decorating skills are just (No, I'm NOT going to say "The icing on the cake" give me some credit) far too overvalued in the food blogging world, along with skilled photography. Of course, if I could frost a damn cake or take a decent photograph I'd be writing a post about how baking food that tastes good is overvalued...
The recipe for the cake came from the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, 1950. Danny selected the cake today, and I came up with a suitable frosting. The original recipe called for the light part of the cake to be orange, but I skipped that as the kid hates citrus. Instead, I used vanilla and a bit of food colouring. I did use blood orange marmalade for the filling between layers because curiously, it doesn't taste like orange (Danny will eat it happily because he thinks it is some sort of honey thing). Go figure. The frosting is a rich ganache and the yellow leaves are decorator's buttercream. I made truffles from the extra ganache and cake trimmings and those are the round pieces at the centre of the top.
You Will Need:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon, divided into cup and tablespoon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Yellow food colouring
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Grease and flour 2 9 inch layer pans. I lined the bottom with parchment, which I also greased and floured which I find helpful. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream together the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternating with the 1 cup of milk. Divide batter in half. The easiest way to do this is to remove 2 cups liquid measure (I came up with a total of four cups, so I'm saving you the measuring. See how nice I am? I know, you're lucky I'm so thoughtful).
Into one half, mix the vanilla extract and food colouring. Into the other, mix the extra milk, melted chocolate and baking soda.
Drop by spoonfuls alternating in a circle with a solid colour in the centre. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cakes test done. Cool twenty minutes in pan on rack, then carefully remove from pan to cool completely. Fill and frost as desired. The recipe for frosting in the cookbook just sounded awful, so I won't bother reprinting it (I also haven't tried it). I'm rather partial to ganache because you get the bonus of truffles made with the extra. It is also fairly easy. The buttercream was simply butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Fairly simple, but still a pain to force through a pastry tube. My one hint about ganache is to place the cake on a rack over a baking sheet and just pour it over quickly. You can scrape the excess up later and make truffles once it hardens, but you don't want to spend too much time trying to fuss with it. The cake must be completely cooled when you pour, or it will cloud-up and loose the sheen once placed in the fridge. Other than that, it is really quite painless.