Thursday, June 04, 2015

White Cake With Chocolate Sour Cream Icing

I was burdened with too many egg whites from making ice cream and pastas, so it was time for a cake. I'd recently made an angel food to deal with a glut of whites, so it was time for something different. I do freeze whites, but after a bit, the freezer space becomes limited. There are only so many egg white omelettes a family can eat, even in the summer with an abundance of herbs to add. Meringues are out of the question with 95% humidity. I don't think it is ever going to stop raining.
White cakes often suffer from being a bit on the dry side. This cake escapes that fate, but only if you use vegetable shortening for the fat. I know to many people that is like suggesting adding an industrial lubricant to their food (I *have* used Crisco on squeaky door hinges, but don't tell anyone!) but it keeps it moist without being damp (no one wants damp cake) and helps it keep longer. If you really can't bear the thought of using shortening, it would probably be best to find a different recipe-this one isn't as good with butter (I've tried it).
Before I get to the recipe, I should talk about the chocolate for a moment. Unsweetened baking chocolate isn't always a readily available product outside of North America, and it may be confusing what I'm talking about.
Many an American child has had a rude surprise attempting a secret nibble of  unsweetened baking chocolate. I'm not sure why the product caught on here the way it did, but most older American recipes tend to call for it. You can use bittersweet chocolate in place of unsweetened, just adjust the overall sugar in the recipe down a bit. Most desserts are too sweet for my taste, so this does give me a bit of flexibility. I like icing on a cake, but I'd rather taste the chocolate and butter without being overwhelmed by sweetness.
They've had this brownie recipe on the box for as long as I can remember. Several generations of Americans have seen these brownies tucked into lunch boxes. They're on the plain side, just like unsweetened baking chocolate. OK, I just wanted to make certain you knew what I was talking about and didn't try using cocoa powder.

You Will Need:

2 greased and floured 8 inch cake tins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1 cup of egg whites at room temperature, then stiffly beaten
2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup half and half (light cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Mix together cream and vanilla extract. Add cream to sugar mixture, alternating with dry ingredients in a few additions. Gently but somewhat thoroughly fold the beaten egg whites into the creamed mixture. This will be tricky, so do it a bit at a time. Don't worry if it isn't all perfectly incorporated-you're baking a cake, not diffusing a bomb. Perfection not required.

Pour into the prepared tins, and bake on the centre rack for 25-30 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly and cake pulls from side of tin. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, on a rack, then remove from tin and cool completely on the rack.


6 ounces unsweetened, or bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups icing sugar
Cream or milk for thinning if needed

In a pan, melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth. Cool off the heat ten minutes. Stir in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Using a hand mixer, slowly add the sugar on low speed a cup at a time until you have a icing with a good spreading consistency. You may prefer a lighter, less fudge-like icing, and this can be achieved by beating in a bit of milk or cream. This is really a matter of taste, so do as you please. This sets quickly, particularly if you have chilled the cake ahead of time (I filled mine with apricot jam to add some tartness, but you could use all icing if you prefer). Adding a bit of milk buys you time before it sets into rigid fudge.

The cake should be stored in the fridge, but taken out at least 20 minutes before serving.

I made borage ice cubes for the drinks.
Why? Why not?!

1 comment:

Mim said...

Oh, pretty ice cubes!

I can't remember what brand the chocolate I cook with is, but it's very high cocoa solids and is found in the baking section at the supermarket. It might be similar to yours.