Friday, January 22, 2010

Dear readers, (Written Tuesday, 18/1/10)

I am sitting down at my desk, taking a short break from my baking to stop and tell you what I’ve done today. Today I have tried my first recipe in the Cake Bible which Mummy and Daddy bought last week. Mrs. Beranbaum is very detailed and I like the way she scientifically approaches baking. And today I have begun with Lesson 1.

Baking cakes on my own for last year has been a great experience. I have used my own recipes and improved on them, and did all kinds of funny things, including make mistakes, which all turned out well in the end. I seem to have this knack to turn cake failures into something presentable.

Today I baked my second cake in the whole year, and my first recipe from any RLB book. This second cake has been in many ways very similar to my first, which I made last week and will post later, and yet in many ways an improvement.

To tell you the truth, though I have been warned against this in the internet, I took many liberties with the cake I made, the Buttermilk Country cake. Doubling it is no issue to me, since I just have to be careful not to forget to double any ingredient. I decided I didn’t want to go to the trouble of separating 8 eggs, so I searched the book and came across Rose’s ratio for egg yolks to egg whites, which is 2: 1.5, which I doubled to 4:3. SO then I decided to use 4 egg yolks and 3 egg whites. After noting down the different weights, I broke four eggs and separated them. The egg yolks came a bit short so I made up the difference with whites. I was sure this whole egg thing would work out, but I knew it would make a difference in my cake as compared to Mrs. Beranbaum’s original.

Another thing I did was to use fresh Tesco milk instead of buttermilk. This cake is for my Great-Uncle Joshua’s birthday and I was not sure how all my relatives tonight would take the tangy buttermilk taste. Besides, the only buttermilk I know here in Malaysia is substituting two tablespoons of milk for lemon or apple cider vinegar and letting it sit. (Not counting the time I whipped 1/8 cup of fresh cream into ¼ tsp of butter and 1 tsp of buttermilk…. haha). Anyway, that made the cake taste milky.

Furthermore, I used salted butter and then put in ½ a tsp of salt to make it just right. (Mrs. Beranbaum says to cup down 1 tsp for every cup of butter )

I also did not have any cake flour on hand so I subbed with 1/8 cup of cornstarch to ¾ cup of All purpose for every cup. I also ground my own icing sugar out of castor sugar and sifted it because I don’t want to waste icing sugar, haha… gov subsidy removed already, sugar very expensive lah! Oh and I cut down sugar by half – something risky yet I know I HAVE to or else everyone (including me) will complain it’s sweet. As it is, 200gms of sugar is stil a lot!

The cake was mixed, exactly per the plastic-protected Cake bible (You don’t want to know what I can do to books while baking… ). The batter was a little soupy, and did not look buttery but was milky in color.

While it baked I cleaned up and prepped the icing. My recipe for icing is simple: 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter. Most cake decorators told me to double the sugar, resulting in a very firm and stiff icing that is very sweet! It also is so stiff it peels off a layer of the cake when frosting, which means I have to crumbcoat. I dislike that recipe, somehow. I like half the sugar, it makes the icing less sweet, very buttery and smooth, and SO EASY to apply to the cake! It is incredibly tasty because I flavor it.

The icing recipe I used for this cake, which I created on the spur of the moment,

250gm salted butter, 100 gm icing sugar, and 55 gm mixed nuts, creamed. The nuts must be blended until slightly sticky, when the oil have released from the nuts. The oil from the nuts will release its aroma into the buttercream, making the cream very tasty and no tooooo sweet, in fact a nice nutty with a hint of saltiness.


The filling was just the nuts, coarsely blended, with a tsp each of honey, evaporated milk, and homemade pnut butter. You can put anything you like that will bind the nuts together and to the cake.


I applied a thin coat of Butternut Cream, as I called it, to the stacked cake and let it firm in the freezer. Surprisingly I didn’t need all of the icing, still had some left over. The butter firms very well and so I only needed 2/3 of it to coat the whole cake. The whole process is: Smooth cake with spatula and (clean!) fingers, let it firm in freezer, repeat until cake is SUPER smooth like faux fondant. The butternut cream firms so well I can shave smooth the sides, just like fondant. I then applied fondant flowers with piping jelly, and coated the whole cake with piping jelly to make it shine. Piping jelly is sweet and not really necessary, but gave the cake a nice shine. BTW<>

Mummy tells me to take a little batter out of each cake and made a cupcake, so I can be sure the cake turned out fine without having to cut it. The moment I took a bite of the little cupcake I knew that cake was going to be wonderful! It was delicious, tasty, incredibly moist and milky. Not too sweet, not too dry, not to sticky- just right! Daddy told me I can’t go wrong if I follow the recipe. Mmm… I could tell this cake is one class above the normal “butter”cake I make. It is simply scrumptious.

The cake was a success. All the Grands loved it! We ate half that night, and the rest Mama kept for their tea the next day. The cake was delicious, and the butternut cream was what it special, Mama said. I’m glad we got to celebrate Grand Uncle’s birthday with him, and pray he will have many more happy ones. Thanks to mummy n daddy for buying the book and letting me make the cake, and most of all I thank God for giving me the skill, abilities, and resources to bless my beloved Yeye Mama, Kuche, Grand-Uncle Joshua, and Grant-Aunty Elizabeth. Happy Birthday Grand Uncle!



Ps, I have been improving on my fondant flowers, this was the first cake I made this year, and check the flowers out!

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