Tuesday, September 21, 2010

50 years of marriage deserves a crooked cake

Vanilla Cake
(adapted from the Raspberry Laced Vanilla Cake recipe on the Softasilk Cake Flour Box)

3 cups Pillsbury SOFTASILK® Cake Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla
4 large eggs

1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Spray three 9-inch round cake pans generously with flour no-stick cooking spray. I used a tiered baking set of 4 pans, lined the bottoms with parchment and spray them with Pam for Baking.
2. MIX cake flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; set aside. Beat 1 1/2 cups butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Beat in flour mixture, milk, vanilla and eggs on medium speed until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Spread batter evenly into prepared pans.
(I used the reverse-creaming method. I mixed all the dry ingredients and sugar together and beat that with the softened butter. Then I mixed the wet ingredients and slowly incorporated it into the dry ingredients + butter).
3. BAKE 19 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely.

I used Easy Buttercream for the frosting. The color is natural from the butter and the good vanilla I used. I free-styled a similar frosting for the filling, using only butter, no shortening and adding some melted bittersweet chocolate.

It was kind of last minute decision to make this cake for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary so I didn't have a lot of time to plan. I had picked up a cute set of vintage tiered pans at a yard sale earlier this summer and I've been itching to use them. I think they were all the rage at one point because when I tried to Google a picture of them for you, I found several sets that were sold by different manufacturers. Mine were made by Vitality but I couldn't find a good picture for you and I'm too lazy to take one myself.

I can see the attraction - there is something about a tiered cake that is enticing. They look very impressive. However, I can also see why they were probably just a passing fad for the home cook.

They are a bit of pain to bake since all four pans bake at different rates.

They are a bitch to make level when you stack them. My first two layers were fine but the third layer was completely wonky.

This style of cake doesn't give you much room for decorating or writing. Fortunately I didn't need to do much of either for this cake.

This cake was slightly difficult to transport. Since I added filling to each layer, this cake was just a bit too tall for my cake box. I had to transport it in a large cardboard box

They are pretty right up until you start cutting into them and then you have instant ugliness. Maybe there is a better way but I cut it starting at the top and working my way down the layers.

Would I make a tiered cake again? Sure. They are kind of fun even with all the quirks.

As for this particular cake, I was originally going to make my chocolate fudge cake but I was hesitant since I've always made that in disposable sheet cake pans and it's very moist. I wasn't sure how it would work for a layer cake like this (even though it's a recipe for a layer cake in it's original form). Then I spotted this recipe on the cake flour box and saw that it was the perfect size (the cake pans all together take batter that equals 1 1/2 boxes of cake mix or 3 regular sized layers). I added a chocolate filling and frosted it with buttercream.

I used the reverse creaming method but with the filling and all it was hard to tell what affect that had on the final result. It didn't hurt.

The cake was butt-ugly after I frosted it. I didn't have time to smooth the frosting as much as I would have liked. It was crooked too. I was starting to think about making a sheet cake but I got out my handy-dandy Pampered Chef Accent Decorator, piped on more frosting, added some gold dragees, topped it with an unattractive topper (all I could find on short notice - apparently most couple married this long score professional cakes), and I don't think it looked too bad.

The flavor was good but there was so much going on with the frosting and filling that it was hard to say just how good (or not) the cake itself was.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A beautiful cake nonetheless! Happy Anniversary to yoour parents!



Annie Jones said...

I think you did a great job with the cake. If you're like me, you're your own worst critic when it comes to decorated cakes. I have just enough skill to make a beautiful mess...LOL!

MommyProf said...

Very impressive! Right now, I have to debate if I have time to make a cake at all.

Sheila said...

I think you did a great job on the cake. Love the color. I can make a 2 layer cake tilt!! Take care.

Granny said...

That cake looks so good that I bet it didn't last long. I'm like Sheila, I can make a two layer tilt. That's why I stick to sheet cakes.

Congratulations to your parents on their 50th anniversary.

B and the boys said...

Wow! Not very hard on yourself are you? I bet your parents were thrilled and didn't even notice that layer three was a bit "wonky"-- is that a technical term? I thought the cake, the thought, and the time you spent creating it were all beautiful gifts for a
50th anniversary.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Oh my dad was sure to comment on it as I was about to cut it. Of course, this is the man who commented on how I was really good at the vault when I took gymnastic lessons, since I had all that extra weight to propel me off the springboard. And then he wondered why I didn't stick with gymnastics.

Cate O'Malley said...

Crooked or not, it looks awesome!

Heather said...

You deserve definite props for this. i think it looks amazing!!

Wanda said...

That is a beautiful cake! I once (once!) made a two layer cake for my oldest son's birthday, that split right down the middle as I was icing it, about half an hour before the party. Yikes! After trying unsuccessfully to 'glue' it together and prop it up, and ending up with a big pile of crumbs. So I ran out to the corner store - no supermarkets in our town - and bought a crappy two layer coconut-covered cake and used the decorations to make it vaguely resemble the drum cake I had in mind.

Nicole said...

I think it looks great and what a wonderful gift to your parents!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Congrats to your parents! That cake looks delish. Hope you all enjoyed it :)