Mike and I have taken to watching Cake Boss, the new show on TLC about the Italian/Jersey family that owns a bakery. It’s horribly addictive and really entertaining. It’s obviously gotten to me too because besides trying to fake jersey (JOY-zee) accents all of the time, I also attempted making my first “fancy cake”.
I did of course make Mike a cheese cake last week for his birthday but those are relatively uncomplicated because they don’t involve any decorating (at least mine didn’t). Once you had the batter, you were done. This cake was a bit different. I’m not really that much of a baker, but I like a new challenge, so I took on the duty of making Mike’s mom’s birthday cake today.
It was a plain white cake with buttercream icing. It was actually quite simple to make, the only tricky part was cutting the tiny little cake into two slabs. Also, since most of our stuff is in boxes pending the move in two weeks (!!!!), I used the spring form pan I had out for the cheesecake. This turned out to work super well, since it made the cake very easy to get out of the pan.
Plain White/Yellow Cake (All Recipes)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×9 inch pan or 8″ spring form pan.
- In a medium bowl (or blender), cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.
Buttercream Icing with a Lemony Twist (All Recipes)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3 drops food coloring, or as needed (optional)
- Cream room temperature butter with a wooden spoon until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract.
- Pour in milk and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add food coloring, if using, and beat for thirty seconds until smooth or until desired color is reached.
That’s right, I was hardcore enough to make buttercream icing with nothing but a wooden spoon and a bowl. No KitchenAid for me!
Once the cake was cooked, I let it cool down and then released it from the spring form pan (super easy I might add). I waited a bit longer for it to cool. While I was doing this I started mixing up the buttercream icing. When the cake was all cool, I used a big serrated bread knife to cut the dome off the top of the cake. I then cut it in to two slabs. Two reasonably thin slabs I might add.
On the bottom slab I put some of the buttercream icing and then added some of my mom’s homemade raspberry jelly. I then carefully put the top slab back on and “dirty iced” it as Buddy (the cake boss) would say. This is just a thin layer of the icing to lock in all of the crumbs.
Then it was off to the fridge for about an hour (in which time we went and got the card and present). Then I put a nice thick layer of icing on it and decorated it with fresh local raspberries.
I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. No fondant, but we’ll work on that. I guess I’m just not quite a cake boss yet.