Saturday, August 17, 2013

Mission: Wedding Cake

They all said it was impossible...They all said it was insane....They all said I was suicidal...

But I don't CARE!

I made my own wedding cake! It was a two-tiered two-flavored masterpiece. The bottom was chocolate mint and the top was almond-raspberry, and both were draped in beautiful, Swiss buttercream frosting (none o' that fondant jank). My trial run went smoothly, but took me 4 pounds of butter, 24 eggs, and 7 hours of my day. It was exhausting, but worth it.

So I bet you want to know the non-wedding-cake-sized version. It's a DREAM. I've spent 6 months perfecting my recipe and it is very precious indeed. I hate recipes...but in this case I made an exception and ACTUALLY wrote it all down!

Here are the two separate cake recipes, followed by my frosting recipe.

Chocolate Mint Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Butter Cake):
Makes one 3 layered 9 inch cake

3 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of  cooled coffee, minus 2 teaspoons
2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 package of Andes Mints, crushed into small pieces

-1/3 recipe of Swiss Buttercream frosting with 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract and green food coloring to make a light green/minty color.

-2/3 (the rest of the recipe) of Swiss Buttercream frosting with 2 squares of Baker's dark chocolate (melted and cooled slightly).

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 9 inch, round cake pans (or 3 8 inch square pans). Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Whisk the eggs, coffee, and peppermint, and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only until blended after each addition. Stir in the Andes Mint pieces. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans; each pan will take about 3 1/4 cups of batter.

4. Bake for 38 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully turn them out onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. Remove the paper liners only when they are cool.

5. When cool--absolutely room temperature, it's time to put the layers together. Set your first layer of cake on your cake stand--if you've got rounded tops, you may want to even those out with a good bread knife. Spread your mint Swiss Buttercream filling onto the first layer, being sure to keep a half inch border around the cake free of frosting. This way, when you press the layers down, icing won't spill out the sides. place on your second layer of cake and press down. Make sure it's even on top. Fill this layer and add on the final layer of  cake and press down to make the top as even as possible.

6. Finally, it is time to frost the cake using your Chocolate Swiss Buttercream Frosting. Here is a video that explains the best way to frost a cake. It would be too difficult for me to describe in writing. You don't have to make your cake super smooth, like this person does, but the basic method of frosting the cake is really easy to follow.

 There were my sheetcakes for the  wedding guests. This just gives you an idea of what the filling should look like. This was a SUPER thick cake :)

Almond Raspberry Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Vanilla Butterrmilk Cake): Makes one 3 layer 9 inch cake, or a really thick 3 layer 8 inch cake!

3 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 package almond paste crumbled into food processor with 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or 1/4 cup of Amaretto), 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4-1/3 cup of heavy cream. Add first three ingredients, blend until smooth. Drizzle in heavy cream a little at a time until the marzipan filling is light and fluffy--and most importantly--easily spreadable. Taste it. If you want it sweeter, add a couple more teaspoons of powdered sugar. If you want more flavor, add more Amaretto or almond extract.

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

1 recipe Swiss Buttercream Frosting with 2 teaspoons of almond extract added

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition. There will be 9 cups of batter; our 3 cups batter into each pan.

4. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Turn the layers out onto wire racks by placing a rack on top of a pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel off the paper liners and let cool completely.

6. To frost the cake, place the first layer on your cake stand, and spread your marzipan filling--keeping a 1/2 inch border free. Take a large spoon of jam and spread it over the layer of filling. Press  on the next layer of cake.Repeat the layer of filling and of  jam. Add on the top layer, making sure it is  as even as possible. Then frost the cake with the rest of the frosting. Here is a good example of how to frost a cake (you can skip the extra-smooth part at the end...rustic  looks better anyway :P).

These are my huge bowls of  frosting to cover all of the wedding cakes. 

Swiss Buttercream Frosting Recipe:
Base to which you add the ingredients listed on the cake recipe of  your choice

2 cups sugar
8 large egg whites
52 tablespoons butter, softened (6 sticks plus 4 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. (Here’s a tip: when you transfer to the mixer, make sure you wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl so that no water gets into the egg whites. This can keep them from whipping up properly.)

Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip, whip, whip. It will take a good few minutes of whipping for it  to start looking like frosting. At first it will look  curdled, once you have added in all of the butter, but never fear!!! Keep on whipping for a good 5-7 minutes and it should all come together looking the texture of whipped butter or mayonnaise.

1 comment:

  1. That is one delicious looking cake!