November 28, 2009
I love getting an order for my baked goods.
getting paid to bake!? and usually cupcakes!? trying out new fun cake recipes and buttercreams!?
I would almost pay to do it…… almost. Then I remember the stress, assembly, and price of ingredients. Perhaps it is fair that they would pay me to do this 🙂
Anyways…. this was an order I did a few months ago and never posted. I forgot to photograph so these are some pictures hurriedly taken from the car as I was dropping them off! It was a friend’s birthday and his wife wanted to surprise him with my cupcakes. The friend only really likes white cake with white frosting. So that’s exactly what I did, a white on white cupcake (and emphasis on not too much frosting!). When looking for a recipe to use, I remembered Bridget’s blog’s white cake comparison from this summer.(Her blog is amazing check it out!) Alas, my work had been done for me! Bridget had compared Dorie’s perfect party cake, Cook’s Illustrated white cake, and one that she had adapted herself. I agreed with her that Dorie’s is a bit too dry for me, I had made that before. I decided to go with Bridget’s own recipe that claimed the best of both worlds, great flavor from Dorie’s and texture from CI’s cupcakes.
I’m super critical of my baking when it comes to paid orders. Nothing is ever good enough. I probably made my mom eat 3 cupcakes just to reaffirm how delicious they were. I finally believed her. These cupcakes are delicious. They just didn’t rise enough for me.
As for the buttercream, I just used an American style easy-peasy recipe that I adapted from another favorite blog of mine, milk+honey cafe.
This couple can be tough to please. But they loved the cupcakes. And so did their snooty, foodie, San Francisco food-blogging friends.
White Cake (Bridget’s adaptation from Cooks Illustrated’s Classic White Cake)
Nonstick cooking spray
2¼ cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus more for dusting the pans
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (¾ cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (11.35 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened but still cool
1. For the Cake: Set oven rack in middle position. (If oven is too small to cook both layers on a single rack, set racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds. Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.
2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.
3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
4. Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
5. Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.
6. Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1½ hours.
For buttercreams, I usually just play around and don’t do exact measurements. Add more milk to lighten it up, or more sugar for extra body. Just see what works best and tastes good!
Vanilla Buttercream (adapted from milk+honey cafe)
1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add half the confectioners’ sugar salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. Add the rest of the sugar and mix again. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and milk, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.