January 14, 2010

The Tale of Two (Maybe Three) Cakes

What do you do when you are the baker in your house and your birthday comes around? I guess if you are me, you bake yourself two (might turn into three) cakes. Why?
  1. No one else in the house is going to.
  2. As far as you know you aren't going to any family dinners where someone else will be baking a cake.
  3. You have A LOT of cake recipes you want to try.
  4. Everyone at work will LOVE your sharing delicious desserts with them.
  5. Because you want to make delicious desserts and not eat all of them.
  6. Because you couldn't decide which ONE cake you wanted to make--you choose to make two (maybe three).

The three cakes I couldn't choose among are Tres Leches, Red Velvet, and Cookies & Cream. The two that won (for now anyway) are Tres Leches and Red Velvet. I will be taking them to work and then I will make the Cookies & Cream Cake on Friday or Saturday.

Thankfully the Tres Leches Cake is baked in a 9 x 13 pan and topped with whipping cream--no need for beautiful presentation. I should have placed it on a rimmed platter but since I don't own one I just left it in the pan. That will suffice. Now the Red Velvet Cake is a different story as it is a 2-layer cake. PE helped me cut a cardboard circle and I covered it with tinfoil to make it look a little better. I put the cake on it and even put scraps of wax paper under the edge of the cake so I wouldn't get frosting on the cardboard circle. The frosting was the difficult part. PE purchased me an angled spatula so I could have a better chance of making the frosting look good. It helped but I sure wish I could have made it look better. Oh well, it's my birthday and I'll slack if I want to.

Update: The cakes were a big hit at work. I received the nicest compliment. . . "This might be the best Red Velvet cake I have ever eaten. . . and I have eaten a lot of cake." That was a pretty cool present in and of itself.

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Red Velvet Cake
from Annie's Eats
Print Recipe

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp white vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour*
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
5/8 ounce bottle red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter the pan and line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Cream the eggs, sugar, oil and vinegar. Sift the cake flour, baking soda, and cocoa together. Add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients while beating. Slowly add the buttermilk. While still beating, add the vanilla and the food coloring. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes. When toothpick inserted in center comes clean, the cake is done. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Frost the cooled layers, assemble and frost the top and sides. Serves 12 to 14.

1(8 oz) package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a small mixing bowl and soften in the microwave. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and mix well. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a little milk. Frost one 8-inch or 9-inch layer cake.

*Cake Flour Substitute: For each cup of cake flour place 2 Tbsp cornstarch in 1 cup dry measuring cup. Fill cup with flour.

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Tres Leches Cake
adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Print Recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 whole eggs
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
1/4 cups heavy cream

1 pint heavy cream, for whipping
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs. Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined. Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry. Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool. Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can. Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable. Spread over the surface of the cake. Cut into squares and serve.

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