Monday, October 25, 2010

Yellow Cake with Amaretto Swiss Meringue Buttercream for Sugar High Friday

Small Chocolate Rose

Don't forget, time is running out to submit your cakes for this month's Sugar High Friday - Layer Cakes Edition!  Click here for more info. The deadline is tomorrow, October 26th.

Last week, I took the first of three week-long cake decorating classes from Toba Garrett at the Institute for Culinary Education in NYC.  It was a basic skills class which I had to take to take the more advances courses, but it was definitely worth it.  The chocolate rose alone was worth the cost of tuition.  And it was so much fun.  First you make modelling chocolate from chocolate and corn syrup. After it rests for 24 hours, you can mold the chocolate.  The rose above is a small chocolate rose or if you keep it a little tighter, the first step of the full chocolate rose, below.  It took about 2 hours to make the large rose for the first time, but it was great! 

We made this cake at the end of the week. Because the rose took so long, that left very little time to actually level, frost, fill, and decorate the cake.  The recipes can be found in Toba's book The Well Decorated Cake.  The cake was good, though I'm still a devotee of Shirley Corriher's yellow cake.  The buttercream is great if you like a very buttery buttercream; if you want a lighter frosting, try this swiss meringue recipe, and add the coffee & Amaretto mixture instead of the vanilla and jam.

Moist Yellow Cake 
(Toba Garrett's The Well Decorated Cake)

3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F, and spray 2 8" pans with baking spray.  Line with parchment paper, and spray again.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Cut the butter up into small pieces, and beat on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes until light and creamy, scraping the bowl occasionally if you don't have a beater blade.  Gradually add the sugar, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each one is just combined.  

Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk.

Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.  Divide the batter between the two pans, and smooth the batter with a knife or spatula.  Drop the pans on the counter from a height of 3" or 4" to burst any air bubbles.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pans.

Double wrap the cake in plastic wrap.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or the freezer for up to 2 months.


Hand Sculpted Large Chocolate Rose

Amaretto Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(Also Toba Garrett's)

12 ounces egg whites (about 1 1/2 cups or 10 large egg whites)
3 cups sugar
3 pounds butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons instant espresso coffee
1 fluid ounce Amaretto

Lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together in a mixer bowl over simmering water until the mixture reaches 140F.

Beat on medium-high speed with whisk attachment until it's about double in volume - soft peaks.  Cut up the butter into small pieces while the mixture is beating.

Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter, and increase the mixer's speed every 10 seconds until you reach medium-high.  (If you have a 5-quart mixing bowl, add half the butter, pulsate the mixer on low until the meringue covers the butter, and add the remaining butter; otherwise the butter might spill out).  Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 5-8 minutes.

Whisk the coffee and Amaretto until the coffee is dissolved.  Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the frosting, and beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. 

You can store the frosting in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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