Busy Me

November 7, 2010 at 9:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I bake a lot. I clean a lot. I generally do a lot–at least that is what most people tell me. I often hear “How are you able to do all this stuff?” Honestly, I just don’t like doing nothing (paradoxical I know) or what my husband likes to refer to as relaxing.

As far as I can remember, I have always been keen on doing something as opposed to just sitting around. When I was in secondary school I would finish assignments 2 weeks in advance. At university I felt like I wasn’t busy enough so I took a full load of summer courses and once, during the normal school year, I took 14 courses.

When I became a stay-at-home mom I had a huge void of activity in my life. During nap times and bed times I was at a loss. My husband would constantly tell me that I should just go to bed to get some rest. The problem with that, however, is if I go to bed early I will generally wake up 5 to 6 hours later. I, unlike my husband, do not like my sleep.

So when my husband and children are sleeping and the house is clean and the laundry is folded there is only one more option: baking! Generally, I have no one to bake for but this Sunday I was invited to a baby shower. The items I decided to bring were macarons filled with chocolate cream cheese frosting, buckeyes and a cake.

America’s Test Kitchen is turning out to be my favourite source of recipes. Every recipe I have made from there has proven to be a winner and their yellow cake recipe is no exception. I loved that it didn’t dome in the centre so that it provided a nice even cake and the crumb was nice and tender. I iced the cake with one of my favourite frosting recipes from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I filled the middle with chopped up mini hershey cookies and cream and milk chocolate bars (what can I say, I had a bunch of left over hallowe’en candy).

Rich and Tender Yellow Cake
from America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs , room temperature
  • 1/2cup whole milk , room temperature
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2cups granulated sugar
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2pound unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • each stick cut into 8 pieces

Method

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350
degrees. Generously grease two 9-by-1 1/2-inch cake pans with
vegetable shortening and cover pan bottoms with rounds of parchment
paper or wax paper. Grease parchment rounds, dust cake pans with
flour, and tap out excess.

Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla with fork in small bowl; measure out 1
cup of this mixture and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking
powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle
attachment; mix on lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds. With mixer
still running at lowest speed, add butter one piece at a time; mix
until butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and
pebbly, with pieces about the size of peas, 30 to 40 seconds after all
butter is added. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture and mix at lowest
speed until incorporated, 5 to 10 seconds. Increase speed to
medium-high (setting 6 on KitchenAid) and beat until light and fluffy,
about 1 minute. Add remaining egg mixture (about 1/2 cup) in slow
steady stream, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape
sides and bottom of bowl. Beat on medium-high until thoroughly
combined and batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds longer.
(To mix using hand mixer, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
in large bowl. Add butter pieces and cut into the flour mixture with a
pastry blender. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture; beat with hand
mixer at lowest speed until incorporated, 20 to 30 seconds. Increase
speed to high, add remaining egg mixture, and beat until light and
fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and
bottom of bowl. Beat at high speed 15 seconds longer.)

Divide batter equally between prepared cake pans; spread to sides
of pan and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until cake tops are light
golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25
minutes. (Cakes may mound slightly but will level when cooled.) Cool
on rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan perimeter to loosen. Invert
cake onto large plate, peel off parchment, and re-invert onto lightly
greased rack. Cool completely before icing.

Boiled Frosting
adapted from Baked

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1 1/2 cups butter, softer but cool. cut into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method
In a medium heavy bottom saucepan whisk together the sugar and flour. Add the cream and milk to the sugar-flour mixture and cook over medium heat. Whisk often and cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens (approx. 20 minutes).

Pour mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer that is fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce speed to low and add butter. Mix until butter is thoroughly incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy and add vanilla extract.

If frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the fridge and chill slightly, then beat again until the proper consistency. If it’s too firm, place bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it’s the proper consistency.

Photobucket
Pink Cake with chocolate writing

Photobucket
Green Macarons

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2 Comments »

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  1. I know how you feel! I am not good at “relaxing” either…
    I enjoy the piping you did on the pink cake – what does it say on the top?

  2. Tori,
    Thank you for making such delicious treats for the shower. I’m still drooling over all of them. Especially the macarons!!! I have been raving about them for days. You are an amazing baker!


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