Happy Mother's Day!
Last year, I sneakily pulled off an afternoon tea party for my mom and a few of her friends; unfortunately, I wasn't able to do something like that again this year, but I realize now that this recipe is very similar to the "Rustic Lemon Raspberry Petit Fours" I served last year, so I guess I was able to up my game ever so slightly ;)
This recipe is actually very simple, but is easiest when completed over a span of 2-3 days! I've scoured the internet for decent recipes, and found two great ones from AllRecipes (one of which I tweaked). What I love about AllRecipes is that it's just like Amazon but for recipes -- there are tons of reviews, some with great tips. You can also see how many people have rated the recipe (kind of like the statistic on Amazon that tells you how many people have bought a product/rated it) to determine if the recipe is worth your time!
(Also, just to clarify, this isn't technically a "white cake" recipe since the recipe calls for both egg yolks and egg whites, but that's what the original recipe calls this, so I'm rolling with it!)
Why the sudden interest in finding the best recipes? During my visit to Linton Hopkins' restaurants, Chef Hopkins mentioned that many of the current recipes out there aren't 100% accurate because chefs are worried about competitors stealing their recipes. Given that, I've become very wary of recipes that I find online (that means you should be wary of mine too ;P) -- I made cornbread today as well (recipe to come soon), and realized that the blogger wrote "greek yogurt" in the ingredients list but "sour cream" in the directions...sure, both are interchangeable, but that emphasizes the importance of keenly analyzing recipes before making them! :)
I think I've stalled long enough, so let's get into the recipe/tips:
Let's start with the tips:
Lining your baking pan with strips of wax paper makes the process of pulling the cake out much easier!
It's crucial that you use room temperature ingredients! The temperature of your ingredients impacts how they interact with each other and the heat of the oven chemically, which significantly impacts the appearance and texture of your final product. Set your ingredients out in your kitchen at least 30-60 minutes beforehand if possible. If you forget, you can put your butter/milk in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds and dunk your eggs in warm water for about 5 minutes.
It's also important to cream your butter/sugar until fluffy (a Miracle Whip consistency!). I also read several comments on AllRecipes that people are too worried about overbeating their batter and end up underbeating it -- this leads to bad results too! While I wasn't super liberal with beating my batter, I did mix it more than I'd normally feel comfortable mixing, and the cake still turned out moist and crumbly (in a good way) :).
Make the filling ingredients 1-2 days before assembling the cake! This will save you time.
It's also a good idea to bake the cake a day before assembling it since you have to wait for it to cool.
(Note: I messed up on one cake layer -- I originally intended on making a 4 layer cake, but the center top half of one cake was rather jiggly when I pulled it out of the oven. Why did I pull it out so early? The toothpick came out clean! -- Don't make the same mistake that I did. If your cake's center wobbles, leave it in the oven! The same circumstance arose when I baked cornbread today too, and I kept it in the oven for another 10-20 minutes, or until the center no longer wobbled and a toothpick came out clean when the center/surrounding edges were poked. The cornbread was still very moist, so don't worry about overbaking it! If you do pull your cake out too early like I did, just scoop out the underbaked portion and cut the cake bits surrounding the scooped out portion to even the layer. You can use the leftover bits to make "cake parfaits").
Lining your cake stand with wax paper makes clean up go a lot quicker, and allows your cake stand to look a little bit more presentable!
I should have trimmed the golden brown edges of my cakes :( This won't matter if you plan on frosting around the edges of the cake, but this cake was so sweet that I didn't want to add any more sweetness)
Recipe: Raspberry Compote
By: Hannah Claudia
4 cups of frozen raspberries*
1. In a small saucepan, add the frozen raspberries and turn the heat to medium.
2. Let the raspberries "melt" and gently mash them with a wooden spoon until you get a "pureed" consistency.
3. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
*I only used about 2 cups since I needed the raspberry compote for only 1 layer, not two due to my mishap that resulted in a 3 layer cake not 4.
Recipe: Lemon Curd
(find it here - the only alteration I made to it was that I cut the amount of sugar by 1/2)
Recipe: Buttercream Frosting
By: George Geary
Adapted by: Hannah Claudia
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, room temperature
3.5 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until fluffy.
2. Add the vanilla extract
3. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing slowly to avoid a powdered sugar facial.
4. Add the almond milk and beat until the frosting is fluffy and creamy.
Recipe: White Cake
Original recipe from: AllRecipes
Adapted by: Hannah Claudia
(Makes one 9" cake - double this recipe for 2 cakes)
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, room temperature
1/2 - 3/4 cup of sugar*
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1.5 cups of all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of almond milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (omit if you choose to use whole or buttermilk instead of almond milk)
1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Prepare a 9" round cake pan (see photos above). Add the apple cider vinegar to the almond milk (if you choose to use non-dairy milk).
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter for 1 minute, or until fluffy. (Throughout this entire recipe, don't forget to scrap the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula!)
3. Add the sugar to the butter and cream until fluffy (could take anywhere from 4-10 minutes.)
4. Add one egg and beat for 1 minute. Repeat with the second egg.
5. Add the vanilla extract and beat to simply combine.
6. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
7. Alternate sifting in the dry ingredients and adding the milk, starting and ending with an addition of dry ingredients (1/3 dry, 1/2 milk, 1/3 dry, 1/2 milk, 1/3 dry). Make sure you fully incorporate the dry ingredients/milk before the next addition; you should mix each addition for about 1 minute, starting slowly and then working your way up to a faster rotation.
8. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center is not jiggly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean! (I recommend scraping the toothpick through areas around the center to be sure).
9. Let the cakes cool completely before assembling/frosting.
*I experimented a bit with the sugar ratios: I used 1 cup as called for in my first cake and 3/4 cup in my second cake. The cake with 1 cup actually gave me baking issues (the jiggly center), while the 3/4 cup didn't! Not sure if there's a correlation, but I also think that the first cake with 1 cup of sugar was wayy too sweet. The cake with 3/4 cup of sugar was sweet but not cloyingly sweet; I would probably reduce the sugar further to 1/2 cup next time, but I haven't tested that out yet.
2 white cakes (for a total of 4 layers)
1 batch of raspberry compote
1 batch of lemon curd
1 batch of buttercream frosting
raspberries and lemon rinds for decorating
1. Use a serrated knife to cut each cake in half (see this video for a tutorial!). Place one layer onto a cake stand prepared with wax paper.
2. Spread the raspberry compote on the bottom layer. Add another layer.
3. Spread the lemon curd on the second layer. Add a third layer.
4. Add more raspberry compote on the third layer. Add the top layer.
5. Spread the buttercream frosting on top and decorate with raspberries and lemon rinds.
(leftover cake bits/raspberry compote/lemon curd/frosting can be used to make "cake parfaits": )
The "cake parfaits" I mentioned earlier.