Well, I was hopeful after my last post, in which I “caught up” on recent cooking adventures, that I’d post regularly, but again the life of a student, intern and devoted long-distance girlfriend have caught up with me! Nonetheless, I’m back and best of all, I spent the whole weekend in the kitchen. An early Valentine’s Day cake for my roommates on Friday, Chinese-style tofu and broccoli Teriyaki over brown rice on Saturday and a homemade apple crisp tonight! The jury is still out on the crisp, which will be broken into at my friend Lindsay’s during the 9pm showing of Bret Michaels Rock of Love show (what goes with white trash television better than apple crisp? You’ve got me…), but everything else has received raved reviews! And best of all, with Valentine’s Day, spring and Easter just around the corner, there’s lots more cute baking to come. But first, the Valentine’s Day cake!
Valentine’s Day Sweethearts Cake:
1 cup milk, room temperature
6 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (6 oz), softened
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. In a small bowl, combine milk, eggs whites and extracts with a fork. Set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer and mix at slow speed with a paddle attachment. Add butter. Continue beating at slow speed until mixture looks like wet sand (if you're doing this by hand, sift the dry ingredients together and rub in butter). Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Do not over-mix.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and gently shake to smooth batter. Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes then invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting.
(I frosted the cake with a simple buttercream, adding red food dye rather than milk.) The recipe is as follows:
Simple Buttercream Frosting:
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 1/2 Tbs. milk, plus more, if needed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
In a bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, the 4 1/2 Tbs. milk, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Tint with food coloring as desired. Makes about 4 cups.