It was one of those crazy, rare occasions where my brother, sister and I were all in the same place at the same time and most of the rest of the family was there. Our troops are a bit spread out, so it can be a feat getting us all together.
My contribution to the day was cake (and drinks and paper products - but we don't really care about that stuff, do we?).
Obviously, I couldn't show up with a Betty Crocker delight; but it might have been easier because the cake selection process was painful. I sat on the floor of the dining room surrounded by piles of open cookbooks for several evenings in a row. For real.
I am sure the members of the house just wanted me to "pick something already" - those words might actually have been muttered. Or maybe it was just my imagination.
|Mom, Dad & one of the "great-grand babies"|
The first cake was a Tropical Wedding Cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. This one was a
This was a challenge cake.
Apparently, whenever I am making something for an event I have to use at least one recipe/ technique that I have never tried before. Just to torture myself. The cake & curd were a breeze. The mousseline. Not. So. Much.
Raises fist to the sky and shouts "Curse You, Mousseline...".
It was a very dramatic moment, in my imagination.) If you look up the word "mousseline" in the dictionary, I think this is how it should be described: MOUSSELINE: A smooth, velvety concoction which is a ####ing pain in the a## to make. Beware - you will probably utter at least 2 curse words per minute while attempting to make it. Undoubtedly, at least one of those occasions will be the result of dropping boiling-soft candied stage sugar on your hand; another will arise from some mishap during the process of "slowly incorporating" said mixture into the meringue. However, one taste of the completed mousseline will have you promptly forgetting all pain and torture involved in creating it - quite unlike childbirth...
Frankly, Rose Levy Beranbaum is the Cake Goddess. The proof is in the
Oh, tropical fruit cake! How I love you and hate you all at the same time...
Equally delightful, but significantly less traumatic was a blueberry-lemon cake with white chocolate frosting. I have make this cake a few times and have always been pleased. The interior is a lovely pale yellow and flecked with blueberries - I really wish I had a shot of the cut-away...
Summer on a stand.
Of course, it wouldn't have been a celebratory party without some hi jinx.
Feisty, aren't they?
There WILL be cake...
That, my friends is a look into my crazy world.
Blueberry-Lemon Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Epicurious.com
3 1/3 cups unbleached cake flour
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from ~2-3 lemons)
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 Tbs buttermilk, room temperature
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed, patted dry and stems picked off (I used organic BB's)
12 oz white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli), roughly chopped
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
12 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice (~1 lemon)
Lemon twists (from ~2 lemons), for decoration
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch-cake pans (should have 2" high sides); line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper and grease the top of the parchment and then flour the pans. If you have insulated cake strips, use those as well (not mandatory, but I find it makes for a more even cake layer).
Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a medium sized bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until fluffy (medium speed - ~2 minutes) - be sure to scrape down sides of the bowl. Slowly add in sugar and beat well - be sure to scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in zest and lemon juice. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well & scraping down sides and bottom of bowl after each addition.
Add dry ingredients in four additions, alternately with buttermilk (3 additions) (add 1/4 of dry mixture, then 1/3 of buttermilk, etc) - stirring just to combine between each addition. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter equally between prepared pans and place into preheated oven. Bake ~35-40 minutes - until toothpick in center of cake comes away clean.
Remove from oven and cool cakes in pan on a rack for ~30 minutes. Remove from pans, peel off parchment and let finish cooling on racks. At this point, cakes may be wrapped and stored at room temperature overnight.
Place white chocolate in a small-medium sized microwave safe bowl. Heat chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring in between each heating, until chocolate is mostly melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm.
Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until smooth. Beat in lemon juice and white chocolate. (If you find your frosting is too loose at this point, you can beat in confectioner's sugar, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Place one cake on plate or stand - flat side up. Spread ~1 cup of frosting on layer. Top with second layer. At this point, I recommend applying a very thin coat of frosting (crumb coat) on the tops and sides of the cake and then placing the cake in the refrigerator (uncovered) for about a half hour (until the crumb coat sets). Remove cake from refrigerator and frost with remaining frosting. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.
Cake can be stored in the refrigerator overnight (cover with a dome or cover loosely with wax paper and plastic wrap). Allow cake to come to room temperature before serving.
As an end note...here is some of the "little people" cuteness that was running around that day...
The Karate Kid, my niece and the newest member of the tribe
Wheels & tight spaces = trouble :-)