Sunday, May 10, 2009

Anne-Marie's Birthday Cake

It was our (my sig-o and I) friend's, Anne-Marie, birthday. She was holding the celebration at a club in Downtown L.A. I decided to bake her a miniature cake to commemorate the occasion. I had high hopes of how it was going to turn out. I ended up throwing the initial batch away because of a leveling mishap. In a fury of disappointment and anger, I stormed half way up the stairs (despite the comfort my sig-o tried to console me with) and then decided to come back down to try it again. I had extra batter and knew that if I didn't at least try again, I would be in a foul mood for the rest of the night, which would be no fun for anyone.
It turns out the second time was the charm! Everything from the cakes to the frosting and decorating turned out the way I wanted and I was a happy camper. That is until we got to the club. Being my naive self and not clubbing very often, I quickly found out from the bouncer that they didn't allow any food in the club (why didn't I think of that?). Because it was downtown and we had parked our car a few blocks away to avoid paying unnecessary parking fees, I refused to put the cake back in the car. With no other choice, my miniature cake gift was left outside on a ledge with the bouncer all night long. I am pleased to say that by the end of the night, the cake was fine and left with its rightful owner to be devoured as a hangover food.
For the cake, I chose one of my favorite cake recipes. For the frosting, I bittersweetly admit that it was from a can. With limited time after coming home from work and still having to get ready for the event, I was unable to make the cake and the frosting all in the same evening.
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Her recipe is for a larger cake. For a smaller cake like mine, simply halve or quarter all of the ingredients. I simply made the batter as is and saved the extra batter for future emergencies like this one.

3 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition. There will be 9 cups of batter; our 3 cups batter into each pan.

4. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Turn the layers out onto wire racks by placing a rack on top of a pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel off the paper liners and let cool completely. When the layers have cooled, place a cardboard cake board on top of a layer, invert again, and lift off the rack. To make the layers easier to handle, wrap them on their boards completely in plastic, so they don’t dry out, and refrigerate them.

Chocolate frosting from Duncan Hines

To make the frosting easily spreadable, I microwaved the entire can and checked on it every ten seconds until I achieved the desired consistency.

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