Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pretty in Pink

I don't make pretty cakes. I am clumsy, have little patience and, to make matters worse, I have rather chunky fingers that sometimes don't do what my brain tells them to. All these make it very difficult for me to make pretty cakes. 

But yesterday, for some strange reason, I wanted so badly to make a pretty cake. Maybe it's the Christmas spill-over effect? You know, you see so many pretty cakes and cookies around christmas you feel you just have to jump on the Christmas wagon and make some pretty edibles yourself? No? Well, maybe its just me.

So I wanted to make a pretty cake. A pink pretty cake. I visited my bake shop and bought the necessary spoilers: one little container of colourful sugar sprinkles and another of some pretty silver sugar balls. I feel pretty, Oh so pretty and witty and gay ... (and obviously a little mad)!

I was excited. I came home from work early so that I could finish all my chores quickly and get to my cake. It's a light, if a little sweet, vanilla cake with pink butter cream icing. The recipe is from Magnolia bakery, you know the bakery that became famous because of Carrie and her friends (Sex And The City, peeps)?  Ooooooooooh. 

The recipe called for three layers but since I only had two 9-in pans, I made just two layers. No biggie. I also reduced the ammount of sugar called for in the cake because 2 cups of sugar for the cake PLUS 1/12 cups for the icing seemed like wayyyy too much sugar for me. So, I used just 11/2 cups for the cake and 1 cups + 1 tbsp for the buttercream. How you do it (should you too want to make a pretty cake) is up to you.  

Also, though the recipe calls for vanilla extract, I'd add some fresh vanilla into the cake because nothing beats real, fresh vanilla beans and if you are making a vanilla cake, you gotta use real beans man! You just gotta.

Vanilla Cake
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
225 gm unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar 
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to180C. Grease and lighly flour two 9in round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment  paper.
In a small bowl, combine the flours, sifted of course. Set aside.
Using your stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth (med speed). Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the flours in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. 
Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 25 - 35 mins or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool the layers completely before you begin to ice them.

Pink vanilla buttercream icing

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream
pink food coloring

Cream together the vegetable shortening and butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat till fluffy. Add the cream, vanilla extract and pink coloring (use as little or as much as you wish) and beat until you reach the desired consistency.

Once the cakes are nice and cool, lay the bottom layer on a plate/cake stand and slather some of the cream (about 1/3) on it. Place the top layer on and ice the cake, sides and all, with the remaining cream. Decorate as you please. 

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