Monday, May 19, 2014

buttermilk cake with whipped cream and fresh fruit filling

I didn't actually get a picture of the inside of this cake because it got eaten too quickly! But it's 3 beautiful layers of buttermilk cake with the fluffiest whipped cream and fruit filling! And don't even get me started on the yummy frosting!

the goods:

buttermilk cake:
4 whole eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk, shaken
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small even pieces

vanilla whipped cream filling:
2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 and 3/4 cups whipping cream, cold, divided
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
blackberries for garnish

1/4 cup whole milk
3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
few drops of teal or purple or golden gel color (your choice)

Buttermilk cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottoms and sided of three 8-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment round, butter the parchment and dust with flour. In a large measuring cup with a spout, lightly whisk the eggs, yolks, 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and the vanilla, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the cold butter one piece at a time, about 10 seconds apart. Continue mixing on low speed until all the butter has been blended and there are no clumps. Mixture should have a fine crumbly, cornmeal-like texture. Add the remaining 1 cup buttermilk to the dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl down. Reduce speed to low and add the egg mixture; once the mixture has been added, increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute, but no more. Gently fold batter once or twice (but no more) to ensure the egg mixture has all been incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans. Place 2 of the pans on a baking sheet and bake for 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Repeat for remaining cake layer. Let the layers cool in pans for 10 minutes, then loosen the sided with a small paring knife, and carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel off paper liners and let cool completely.

Vanilla whipped cream filling: In a stainless steel bowl, place the cold water and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup of the cream just to a simmer, then stir into the gelatin mixture until the gelatin has dissolved. Refrigerate, stirring frequently, until cool but not set, about 8 minutes. (Be careful to keep your eye on it or you'll end up with panna cotta!) In a chilled stainless steel mixer bowl with a chilled whisk attachment, beat the remaining whipping cream, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt until it thickens just slightly and soft peaks begin to form, about 1 minute. Very gradually add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form (should be thick enough to spread). Cover and chill until ready to use.

Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I used a number 4 on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale and creamy. Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla, salt, and milk, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy. Tint with a few drops of gel coloring.

Assembly: Trim any rounded tops from cake layers with a serrated knife. Place first cake layer on a cake stand or plate, face-up. Fill pastry bag (or plastic zip-top bag with the corner snipped off) with about 1 and 1/2 cups frosting and pipe a dam around the perimeter of the cake (this will keep your whipped cream filling and fruit in place). Spread about 1 cup of the cream filling on top of the cake layer (inside the dam) and top with strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Repeat with another layer. When you come to your final layer, place it face-down. If you see any spots where the fruit or whipped filling is peaking out, use your piping bag to squeeze frosting in there to plug up any holes. Use an offset spatula to smooth the frosting so it is flat against the cake. Wrap the whole cake in plastic wrap, and then, once covered, use your hands to gently ensure that the cake is lined up straight. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Apply a crumb coat of frosting to the cake and chill again for 30 minutes. Using an offset spatula or scraper, apply final frosting layer and top with fresh fruit for garnish. Keep refrigerated.

Monday, May 5, 2014

mango ice

the goods:

1 cup sugar
4 large, ripe mangoes, pitted and cubed
grated zest of 1 orange

In a saucepan over high heat, bring the sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves and a light syrup forms. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. In a blender or food processor, puree mango pulp until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add the sugar syrup and orange zest. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours (or up to 24 hours).
Transfer chilled mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.