THE Vanilla Cake

Hiiii! I know I haven’t posted anything for a few weeks, and I am so sorry! Sooo to compensate, I have for you CAKE! We recently celebrated a big birthday, and thus, a special birthday cake was in order for my brother.

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Every single year, about a month before his birthday, I ask my brother what kind of cake he wants. I’m always hatching a plan for an extravagant cake, and he always asks for a plain vanilla cake. Just a white cake with white frosting. No fancy decorations or fun flavour combinations. Being a pizzazz-loving person, I cannot accept this, so we usually end up getting him a store-bought vanilla cake.

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This year, I thought I would finally give in to his demands, and bake the plainest cake of all time. Luckily, it just so happens that I found a new vanilla cake recipe, which claims to be the “best”. I’m constantly on the hunt for a better recipe, and mayhaps this is it. I used this recipe that I had pinned on Pinterest a while back: http://sweetapolita.com/2012/06/how-to-make-a-perfectly-delightful-vanilla-birthday-cake/. It was just perfect! I often find that homemade vanilla cakes never really turn out as fluffy and as moist as store bought vanilla cakes, but this one was just to die for.  I made a 6” two layer round cake by halving the recipe. To make sure it stayed extra moist, I made a simple syrup of equal parts water and sugar, and brushed it on both layers after they cooled.

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To decorate it, I frosted the outside of the cake with our favourite fluffy buttercream, which is literally THE BEST. Oh, by the way, if you ever make it, and it ends up a teensy bit runnier than you would like it, just throw it in the freezer for 10 minutes, and it will firm up! For the frosting in the middle, I wanted to try this cool effect I saw on Foodgawker. I made a plain jane vanilla buttercream, and a Nutella buttercream (the recipes are below), and I piped concentric circles of alternating frostings. You want it to look like a target, and when you cut it, you will get a cool effect!

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Now, for the glitz! I was at the baking supply shop, and I found this edible silver dust (http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?sku=pg_pearldust)! I made a stencil of a symbol that my brother wanted on his cake, and just dusted the silver dust on the surface of the cake with a metal sieve.

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It was a special day and a great cake! I hope this cake makes up for my absence, and I’ll see you again as soon as I can!

Enjoy,

G

THE Vanilla Cake

Adapted slightly from: http://sweetapolita.com/2012/06/how-to-make-a-perfectly-delightful-vanilla-birthday-cake/

Yield: One 2-layer, 6-inch round cake

Ingredients

¾ cup milk, at room temperature

3 egg whites, at room temperature

1 whole egg, at room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ¾ cup flour + 2 tbsp corn starch, sifted

1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

¾ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

3 tablespoons vegetable shortening

 

Simple Syrup

¼ cup water

¼ cup sugar

Combine, and heat in microwave until sugar is dissolved.

           

Instructions

1. Grease, line with parchment and flour two round 6-inch pans. I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment and flour two round 6-inch pans. I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease.

3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir 1/4 cup of the milk, stir the egg whites, whole egg, vanilla. Set aside.

4. Sift flour and cornstarch. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together on low-speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.

5. Add the butter and shortening, blending on low-speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low-speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 -1/2 minutes (90 seconds), but no more.

6. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg/milk/extract mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.

7. Pour 1/2 of your batter into each prepared pan spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife.

8. Bake cake layers in center of oven and 20-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.

9. Once cool, brush on simple syrup.

Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream

(Source: Baker’s Royale)

Ices 2 layer 6” Cake

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

¾ cup sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed

tiny pinch of salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1) Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly.

2) Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until mixture cools and doubles in volume.

3) Add butter one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine.   The frosting may appear to look separated, keep mixing and it will come together (this commonly happens when making Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Vanilla Buttercream

¼ cup butter

1 cup icing sugar

1/8 – ¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp milk

Beat all ingredients together using an electric mixer.

Nutella Buttercream

¼ cup butter

1 cup icing sugar

2 tbsp Nutella

1/8 – ¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp milk

Beat all ingredients together using an electric mixer.

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Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

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Life is all about small joys. Little things that make you smile or feel grateful for your blessings. The moment when your favourite song from back in the day comes on the radio, or when you and your best friend randomly start talking in weird voices/accents, and break out into laughter as you realize that no one else would understand the hilarity of the situation. Sometimes, you don’t need anything huge and complicated, sometimes a simple Peanut Butter Nutella cookie with tea is the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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I came across these cookies on a blog called Little B Cooks, and the moment I saw them I knew I had to make them for my brother. He loves peanut butter and Nutella, so putting the two together in cookie form just makes perfect sense!

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This recipe is pretty straight forward, with a peanut butter cookie base, and some Nutella drizzled in throughout the dough. I would recommend making smaller cookies than I did, just because they would look so much cuter than bigger ones. If you’re in the mood to throw in some extra calories, you could make mini sandwich cookies with nutella buttercream filling.

My family loved these cookies soooo much! I hope you try them out, and let us know how they turn out!

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As things are getting a little bit hectic with exams and life in general, our posts will not be weekly for the next little while, but do come and check up on the blog whenever you get a chance!

Thanks for spending some time with us, we’ll see you when we see you! Enjoy the small joys in your day!

-G

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies (makes 18 cookies)

Recipe from: http://littlebcooks.blogspot.ca/2013/02/peanut-butter-nutella-cookies.html

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 & 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup Nutella

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer add both sugars, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and egg and mix until smooth and creamy.  In a separate small bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Add the Nutella and using a knife swirl it into the batter.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

While it’s in the refrigerator, preheat your oven to 350 and spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray.  When the dough is done chilling, scoop about a 1/4 cup of dough out and roll it into a ball and place on cookie sheet (no more than 12 on a cookie sheet).  With a fork, press down gently on each cookie to flatten it a bit and to give it the cookies a nice pattern on top.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.