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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rainbow Cake, lightly lemon.

  • Ok, so in my house, my husband got the brilliant idea that we should not eat sweets for a month, just to do it, he says. Well, then we had his birthday and my son's third birthday in the same week, and we went a little crazy.  Or rather, I went a little crazy.  I made 4 cakes in 1 week.  Yes, 4.  
>pause for effect<

Anywhoo, so here' s the one I was most proud of.  The Rainbow cake.  Whisk kid uses a different cake recipe, but I'm sure that one is yummy too. I thinks Cooks Illlustrated walks on water, so they are often my go to.  I also did not do frosting between the layers, I used lemon curd.  Store bought lemon curd.  Judge me now.  But I think this gave me not only a more visually striking cake but also more lemon flavor and slightly less butter.  

The freezer method may seem silly, but it gives you three very helpful things.  #1, it keeps it moist!!  #2, it allows you to go to bed and deal with these puppies in the morning, which for me, was a huge plus.  Oh, and #3....they are pretty thin and fragile.  So being frozen helps them easier to work with- this is also why I left them on the plate in the freezer....1 crumbled worthless cake layer when you are making 6 is all you need.

A couple other notes: KITCHEN SCALE.  I wish I has this one, but alas, I have a totally old school, non digital one.  It lets those under 4 feet help by scooping flour and sugar onto the scale  - 18 ounces is 18 ounces!!  And assures consistent results.  Cake strips.  They really do help prevent doming.   And this stuff-- saves a step, no buttering and flouring, and your layers leap out of the pan, no knife around the cake to loosen it...

Classic White Cake:
  • adapted from Baking Illustrated.
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk , at room temperature
  • 3 3/8 cups cake flour (13.5 ounces)
  • 9 large egg whites (1 1/8 cup), at room temperature
  • 1/8 + 1/16 teaspoon lemon oil (0.936 ml-- i have a "pinch" measurement =0.312 ml, plus a 1/8 teaspoon measurement which gives you the right amount)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder 
  • 2 5/8 cups granulated sugar (18 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 18 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray six 9-inch round  cake pans with Baker's Joy cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment rounds. Spray the rounds with baker's joy.  Soak cake strips in water and wrap around the pans.
  • Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into a glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.
  • Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
  • Add all but 1 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.  I got 60 ounces of batter, so this means I zeroed my scale and added 10 ounces of batter per bowl.  Then use americolor gel food coloring (very vibrant, your batter color equals your cake color) and tint each batter individually.
  • Divide batter into 6 prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Do 2-3 at a time.  Bake until the tops spring back, 20 to 25 minutes.  
  • Let cakes rest in pans for 3-5 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto a plate covered with plastic wrap.  Wrap the plastic wrap around the still warm cakes and cover the whole plate with tin foil and pop it in the freezer.  

  • The next morning, once you've slept and have faith restored in the world, take the layers out and assemble.  Schmear a very thin layer of lemon curd between each one- you will have just enough lemon curd to do this!!!  Stack by color.   

Make your frosting now or before you assemble the layers.  

Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Lemon.
adapted from Whisk Kid (great tutorial)

5 egg whites from large eggs
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2 sticks (226 g) butter, room temperature in tablespoon sized pieces
1/8 teaspoon lemon oil

Whisk egg whites and sugar in a metal mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water, untik the sugar is dissolved (no longer gritty between your fingers) and the temp is 160F.  Then whisk the egg whites in your stand (or hand) mixer (off the makeshift double boiler, of course) until stiff peaks form.  Add the butter tablespoon by tablespoon, letting each one incorporate fully.   Then add lemon oil.  It will curdle at this point, whip again until it comes together!! Frost.  Adorn with as many candles as you can and make a wish!!!

(for the record- this is still 12 too few candles for my husband's age...just sayin'.)



1 comment:

  1. It looks so great! I love your variations, and am glad that you went with a cake recipe you were more comfortable with :)

    The fact that you made four cakes in one week makes me very happy!