Friday, May 07, 2010
A Strawberry Vanilla Cake For Mother's Day
I recently made a complicated strawberry cake from a recipe I'd bookmarked a few years ago. It was terrible. Really, disgusting. What's more-the instructions were waaaay off. Sizes of pans, amounts, whole parts missing and left to the baker's guess. Just a lousy waste of time, and expensive ingredients. I suppose the components of a genoise, Bavarian filling and jelly top would have been fine together, with a competent technique...but I still prefer my own genoise, Bavarian and jelly recipes to the crap I ended up making...and tossing out. I think the gods of Internet recipes were trying to send me a message that week with the ruined cookies, etc. I took the message. This recipe comes from the 1950 edition of The Betty Crocker Cookbook. You know, a tested recipe. I'm not saying you can't screw it up, because let's face it-cakes can be temperamental even when following the recipe closely, but at least you know the recipe was tried out a few times before being sent to the publishers.
With Mother's Day coming up, I thought this might be nice to post today, so if you feel like baking it for Sunday you can get started. The ingredients are all pretty standard, which is nice. I used some strawberry freezer jam for the filling which is why it looks so bright. Regular old strawberry jam would be fine too-or just frost the centre layer. If you have candied rose petals, they would look just lovely on this cake.
For The Cake (makes two nine inch layers)
2/3 cup soft, unsalted butter
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 whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grease and flour the pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. with rack in centre position.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix well. Sift together dry ingredients. Add vanilla to milk. Add, alternating ending with milk. Pour into pans and bake 25-30 minutes or until they test done. Cool five minutes in pan, then cool completely on racks. Trim tops when cool, if needed.
For the Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons flour (I used Wondra)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
3 (possibly more) cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan melt the butter. Remove from heat and whisk in flour and salt. Return to heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and with an electric mixer, beat in the three cups of confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Whisk until cooled and of a spreading consistency. If it won't set, you can try whisking it in a bowl over ice cubes, or if all else fails, adding a bit more confectioner's sugar. Once you start spreading it on the cake, it sets pretty quickly, so be aware that it can go from too runny to too thick rather quickly. That's kind of the nature of cooked frostings (in my experience). This hardens to a candy-like crust and is just delicious.