Last week, Ty’s mom asked me if I would make a cake for a party that she was throwing for her niece, who had just gotten married. After I stopped jumping up and down from giddiness, she and I discussed flavors and decorations and such. Later that night when I told Ty about it, he said, “You know you’re making their Wedding Cake, right?”. I immediately seized up and panicked. I thought, ‘A Wedding Cake? I’m not qualified to do that! I need to go to cooking school and get better at using a pastry bag first!’. Even though Ty clarified later that I was not actually making The Wedding Cake, I spent a day or two obsessing. In those few days, I went out and bought some disposable pastry bags and ties. I was praying that my limited pastry bag skills would be enough!
I started with the basic yellow cake recipe from my bible, The Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking. Although, I did remember that it had been a little dry that last time that I had made it. So, I decided to experiment with it a little…
I combined baking powder, salt, and flour in a bowl. The recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I decided to use half all-purpose flour and half cake flour so that it would be a little sweeter and more moist. I also sifted the dry ingredients, which the original recipe doesn’t call for. Sifting breaks up the dry ingredients a little more, and gives you a fluffier product.
Next, I beat sugar and butter together until it was light and fluffy.
I added the eggs and the vanilla…
…and then alternated adding in the dry ingredients and heavy whipping cream to the batter. The recipe called for milk, but I wanted to see if using cream would make it extra moist.
The batter was pretty thick, so I got a bit concerned that my efforts of trying to make this cake super moist might have left me with a cake brick! I poured the batter into two prepared cake pans…
…and baked them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
I let them cool and started on the buttercream frosting, which is also from The Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking, and it begins by beating butter until it’s light and fluffy.
Then, I gradually added powdered sugar, which thickened it to a mold-able state. At this point, I realized that the consistency of the frosting was like the fondant mixture that we used in the Chocolate House as the base of the flavor-filled creams! Next time I make creams, I’m going to try making this as the base.
And then I added in the vanilla and heavy cream, which got it to a good frosting state.
Once my cakes were cool, I trimmed them so that they wouldn’t have any tough edges and so that the top of the cake would be flat.
Then I started assembling the cake…
At this point, I made another batch of frosting and separated it into four bowls, so that I could make four different colors of frosting.
And I loaded my shiny, new, disposable pastry bags with each of the colors.
I started the decorations on the cake by making a cute swirly border…
…but it was a bit uneven. So, I used a toothpick and slightly moved the frosting so that the swirls would be more even. Aren’t I crafty?
Then, I let my imagination wander and I started drawing flowers all over the top of the cake.
What do you all think? Did I do pretty well? I know that I’ll get better with practice and advice, but for my first attempt, I’m proud of myself. I snagged a few bites of crumbled cake and leftover frosting to see how the cake came out, and I thought that it was great. The cake was moist like I had hoped and the buttercream was very sweet and creamy.
I just heard this morning from Ty’s mom about how the cake went over at the party this past weekend. She said that “There wasn’t a crumb left”, and that makes me pretty damn happy. And guess what I realized, I kind of ended up making my own yellow cake recipe! I changed some ingredients and some of the process and got a different cake! I still give most of the credit to Pillsbury, but at least I’m on my way to my own recipes!
Recipe for (My) Yellow Cake: Adapted from The Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two cake pans. Sift together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a mixer, beat butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs and blend well. Alternately add dry ingredients and heavy cream, beating well after each addition. Distribute batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 27 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Recipe for Buttercream Frosting from The Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking
2/3 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons milk (I used heavy cream)
In a mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in vanilla and heavy cream, adding enough half-and-half for desired spreading consistency.