Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Classic White Cake with Whipped Vanilla Frosting
While I was exploring a new part of the world, my sister was in Costa Rica! Yes, Costa Rica. It really surprised me.
In my high school every year Spanish 3 students get this schpeal about going to Spanish speaking countries for a considerable amount of time (either a 2 week trip, or a 4 week trip). I am terrible at Spanish (I can semi-understand people speaking it and I can read it, but I can’t speak it myself). I also have a huge comfort zone. I don’t like going outside and I don’t like trying weird exotic foods. I know I sound like a snob, but I don’t care. This is me.
My sister, however, got really into it. And all because of this new program that the Walking Tree Company (the name of the tour group) had come up with. If she decided to go, she would be going to Costa Rica for 14 days, 10 of which would be spend in the jungles helping out sea turtles! Yes, I was slightly jealous that this program wasn’t available when I took Spanish 3, but then again Becca + Jungle = Unhappy. It seemed like every day she would get more and more excited about going the trip. When it was apparent that she was committed to doing this, my parents signed her up.
My sister ended up leaving the day before I did and got back the following Tuesday of my return home. Now my sister absolutely loves eating cake, donettes, brownies, cookies, sour gummy worms, and all that jazz (She’s also a big Shirley Temple drinker and hamburger eater.) So in honor of her arrival back to civilization, I made her a white cake with vanilla frosting, her favorite!
She must have really enjoyed it, because she ate three slices in about 10 minutes. And even though she said she had an amazing time in Costa Rica, she said she was just happy to be home and eat some real food. It turns out that she ate rice and beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a majority of the time. And she was only allowed to have dessert on the last night of her stay in Costa Rica. Yup, I could definitely not handle that at all.
This cake really did not last long, no more than 12 hours once it was presented. It’s super soft and springy with the slightest hint of almond for sweetness. It really was delicious. And the frosting, although not my favorite, was definitely tasty. But be careful, the frosting gets very soft when not refrigerated. So keep the frosted cake in the fridge until a few minutes before serving.
Classic White Cake
From Baking Illustrated
Makes one 9 inch round cake
1 cup + 2 tbsp. cake flour
½ cup milk, room temperature
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp. almond extract
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup +1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper (you can just trace the pan and then cut), and grease the parchment. Set aside.
Whisk together the milk, egg whites, almond extract, and vanilla extract into a small bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed. Add the butter slowly and beat until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add half of the milk mixture to the crumbs. Beat on medium speed for 1 ½ minutes. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat for 30 more seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, making sure to get the batter at the bottom of the bowl incorporated. Return the speed to medium and beat batter for another 20 seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Use a rubber spatula to spread the batter and smooth the top. Place on the center rack and bake for about 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cake rest in the pan for a few minutes before inverting it onto a cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely before frosting, about 1 ½ hours.
Whipped Vanilla Frosting
Adapted from Sweetopolita
Makes enough to crumb coat and frost one layer cake; plus about 1 cup extra
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Food coloring (if desired)
Beat butter on medium speed for 8 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. The butter will become very cream and pale.
Turn the speed down to low and add the remaining ingredients. Mix for 1 minute. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 6 minutes. The frosting will be very light and fluffy. Add a small amount of food coloring.
Best used right away for ideal spreading consistency.