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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!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vanilla Ruffle Cake

Ruffle Cake.  It's easy.  It's impressive looking.  And very forgiving.  I topped this cake with swiss meringue buttercream, which is rich, but not very sugary.  It's a good frosting for the mostly sugar averse (and pro-butter).  My niece tried to make this frosting and had trouble, so we had to try it together.  Turns out I think it was a lack of whipping problem- you really so have to beat the egg-sugar mixture until it look like meringue- this also cools it down.  

I like this cake base a lot, but I would extra vanilla bean next time- change made below!  If you don't have cake flour, use all purpose, but it will be more dense.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake 
Adapted from Sweetapolita

Yield: One 8″ triple layer cake; serves 12-16


4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature


1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans or spray to coat with vegetable oil. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.

2. Put the eggs and yolks in a medium mixing mixing bowl, add the vanilla extract and paste, and 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Whisk to blend well.

3. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, in a large mixer bowl; whisk to blend. Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup buttermilk to these dry ingredients.  Mix gently with a whisk. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the side of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

5. Bake the cake layers for 28-32 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool in the pans for 5 minutes; then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel of the paper liners, and wrap in saran wrap, then in tin foil, and put in the freezer to chill for an hour.  This seals in the moisture.

6. To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread 3/4 cup of Frosting over the layer right to the edge.  Ruffle the sides with a pastry bag and petal tip.  Video from someone else here.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Sweetapolita (and here) and Whisk Kid

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream        


5 large egg whites
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
 pinch of salt

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with vinegar on paper towel, to remove grease. Add egg whites and sugar,  and simmer over a pot of water (should not be boiling, or touch the bottom of the mixing bowl), whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.  The best thing is to stick a finger in there and check for grittiness.  

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool.  Feel free to put some frozen veggie packages on the side of the bowl to speed things up. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).  If it doesn't, stick it in the fridge for 1/2 an hour and try again.  Add vanilla and salt, mix well.

Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week.

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