vanilla-cardamom cake with vanilla-cardamom italian buttercream frosting

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This triple layer cake smells rich and wonderful with vanilla. Then the whole is frosted with an Italian butter cream frosting speckled with vanilla beans. An Italian butter cream uses a hot sugar syrup to sweeten the meringue. On a whim I added the initial “C” for Chitra’s birthday celebration today.

Vanilla-Cardamom Cake (adapted from Savory Simple)
Ingredients
10 1/2 ounces all purpose flour
3 ounces (9 tablespoons) cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups half and half (or 50% cream and 50% whole milk)
1/4 cup dark rum
1-3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (add more or less to taste; I added 1 tablespoon)
9 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
21 ounces granulated sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature

Vanilla-Cardamom Butter Cream Frosting:
12 ounces granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon corn syrup
5 egg whites
16 ounces (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
2  teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Instructions
Prepare the cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place an oven rack in the middle position. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and mix in 1 tablespoon flour. Brush the flour mixture inside three 9 inch x 1 1/2 inch pans. Then cover bottoms with parchment rounds. Grease and flour the parchment rounds. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cardamom in a medium bowl.

Cake Baker’s Note: Add 1-3 tablespoons vanilla extract to the half and half mixture.

In a separate small bowl, combine the half and half, brandy or rum, and vanilla.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. On low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer still on low speed, quickly alternate between adding the dry and liquid ingredients (ending with the dry) until just combined. Scrape down the sides well, making sure to reach the bottom of the bowl.

Distribute the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, using a spatula to even out the tops. Tap pans lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake until the center springs back when lightly touched, approximately 25-35 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan on wire cooling racks before unmolding.

Prepare the frosting
Add sugar, water and corn syrup to a medium sized sauce pan. Cover and turn the heat to high. Once the liquid begins to simmer and steam has developed, remove the cover (this helps prevent crystallization). Using a candy thermometer, cook the sugar to the soft boil stage, 235-240 degrees F.

While the sugar is cooking, whisk the egg whites on high in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until a soft peak has formed.

Cake Baker’s Note: Timing is delicate between getting the sugar syrup to temperature and the meringue to the soft peak stage. I start the sugar syrup then I begin the meringue. I turn the machine off when the meringue gets to the soft peak stage.

Turn the mixer speed to medium low and very slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Don’t pour the hot syrup directly into the meringue. If you have a pouring shield, use it.

Once the syrup is completely incorporated, turn the speed to high and allow the meringue to continue to form a stiff peak while cooling down. Mix on high until the meringue has reached room temperature. The bottom of the bowl will be cool to the touch. This can be 8-20 minutes.

Cake Baker’s Note: Because the kitchen may be hot, refrigerate the butter cubes until ready to use.

Once the meringue is at room temperature, slowly begin incorporating the soft butter on medium speed.

Cake Baker’s Note: The mixture may curdle and deflate, but don’t worry, it will come together.

Once all of the butter has been incorporated, turn the mixer speed up to high and very slowly add the vanilla paste, vanilla extract and cardamom. I knew it was “done” when the frosting was smooth and shiny.

Cake Baker’s Note: The final color of the frosting was creamy, not white, probably because the butter I was using was too soft.

Assemble the layers
Place the first layer of cake upside down on a revolving cake stand and remove the parchment paper. Placing a cardboard round below the cake is recommended as it will make transporting the cake easier after it is assembled.

Spread approximately one cup of butter cream on the cake and spread it around evenly with an offset spatula. Add more butter cream as needed to reach the desired thickness. Repeat with the second and third layer (don’t forget to remove the parchment each time). Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting to the side and top of the cake. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set this first layer of butter cream. Cover the entire cake with a final layer of frosting.

Cake Baker’s Note: Because my kitchen is hot, I refrigerated the extra frosting. To re-use I brought it to room temperature and whipped it until it was a spreadable consistency.

Cake is best when served at room temperature. To get clean slices when cutting the cake, use a long, sharp knife. Run it under hot water, wipe it dry and immediately cut one slice in a straight down, non-sawing motion. Don’t pull the knife up, pull it straight out toward you. Then repeat the process for the other side, starting with the hot water.

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mama’s bundt butter cake

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This cake only has 6 ingredients. It yields a cake with a moist and tender crumb. The cake can be  glazed too. My favorite glaze for this cake is the lemon-lime glaze for a 7-up cake . Just mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 1 tablespoon lime juice to 1 cup confectioner’s sugar. It adds just the right amount of sweetness with a tangy citrus flavor.

Mama’s Bundt Butter Cake
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes

227 grams unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
338g superfine sugar
281g all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C/325˚F. Grease a 10 inch bundt cake pan with butter, making sure to get inside all the crevices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix the butter on low speed to soften. Add the vanilla. Pour in the sugar all at once and mix on medium speed 2-3 minutes until the butter-sugar mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides.

Add the flour all at once to the butter mixture, and mix on low speed until the flour mixture is just incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan lightly on the counter top to dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 30 minutes on a wire cooling rack. Invert the pan and unmold the cake. Cool completely. Simply dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.

blueberry butter cake

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We’ve been in Calgary here in Canada for 4 days, and I’ve been looking forward to berries of any kind: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. So I dressed up my mother-in-law’s butter cake with 2 cups of fresh blueberries. It came out lightly sweet, just right for a summer cake, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which was sweeter.

Blueberry Butter Cake

Have at room temperature:
1 pound butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups fresh blueberries
Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Pre-heat the oven 325˚F/180˚C. Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking dish or a 10-cup bundt cake pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and vanilla. Add the sugar all at once and cream until fluffy and light. Add the eggs one at a time until just combined.

In another large bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour in 3 batches to the butter mixture. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles. Then bake 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cake springs back when pressed lightly towards the middle.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. It’s not necessary to remove the cake from the baking dish to serve it. Invert the bundt pan and remove the cake. Thoroughly cool the cake then dust lightly with powdered sugar, if desired.

a simple easter menu

DSC_0529.jpgIn the past we’ve had more elaborate meals for Easter Sunday. Today, we had a simple Easter meal consisting of a quiche, simple salad, corned egg, and a Jamaican spice cake with malted buttercream frosting.

Bacon and Cheddar Crustless Quiche

1 1/2 cups whole milk
White pepper
1/2 cup prepared biscuit mix (recipe to follow)
1/4 cup melted butter
4 eggs
8 pieces of bacon, crisped and crumbled
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven 325˚F/175˚C. Grease a 9″ pie dish and set aside.

In a blender, combine the milk, white pepper, biscuit mix, melted butter, and eggs. Pour the milk mixture into the prepared pie dish.

Sprinkle on top the crumbled bacon, red pepper, and cheddar cheese. Use a fork to press down into the milk mixture.

Bake 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Biscuit Mix
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon all vegetable shortening

Put flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Stir to combine. Add the shortening and cut into the flour mixture until the mixture is the texture of sand. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Jamaican Spice Cake (adapted from The Cake Bible)

All ingredients at room temperature:
1/4 cup milk
120g or 4 large egg whites
2 teaspoons Jamaican rum
250g or 2 cups sifted cake flour, plus 1 tablespoon
225g or 1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
227+14g (241g) unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon

Preheat oven 350˚F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and mix in 1 tablespoon flour. Brush butter-flour mixture on the insides and bottom of one 8.5 inch loaf pan. Line bottom of loaf pan with waxed paper or parchment. Grease and flour parchment.

In a medium bowl, lightly combine milk, egg whites, and rum.

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and cocoa powder. Whisk 30 seconds. Set aside.

In another large bowl, add 16 tablespoons (8 oz) butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Add one-third flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just moistened. Scrape down the sides. Add half the milk mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides. Add half the remaining flour mixture, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides. Add the rest of the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the countertop to dislodge any air bubbles. Bake 45-55 minutes for loaf pan.

Let cake cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edges. Unmold and invert onto a greased wire rack. Turn right-side up so the bottom won’t split. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. I frosted it with Malted Buttercream. Then I served the cake with strawberries I had frozen in simple syrup.

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downy yellow bundt butter cake

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I love the way this cake turned out! It has a wonderful vanilla scent, and the crumb is moist and tender. The foolproof way to make this wonderful cake is to weigh the ingredients. Grams are more accurate than ounces. Instead of baking a layer cake, I made a bundt. I glazed it with a tart lemon-lime glaze which tempers the sweetness.

All-Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake (Adapted from: The Cake Bible)

Have at room temperature:
6 (112g) large egg yolks
1 (242g) cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups (300g) sifted cake flour
1 1/2 (338g) cups superfine or caster sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 (170g) tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C. Grease and flour:
• Two 9×1 1/2 inch cake pans, bottom lined with waxed paper or parchment, OR
• One 10×3 inch bundt cake pan (total: 12 cups)

In a medium bowl, lightly combine the yolks, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend on low speed 30 seconds.

Add butter and remaining milk. Mix until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides.

Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s). Smooth the top with a spatula. The pan(s) will be half full. Tap the pan(s) lightly on the counter then bake 25-35 minutes, or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake(s) in the pan on racks for 10 minutes. When the cake cools, it will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto the wire rack to finish cooling.

When completely cooled, the cake layers can be frosted. For the bundt cake, I recommend glazing it. To make the glaze, add 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and lime juice to 1 cup powdered confectioner’s sugar. Whisk and pour over cooled cake.