When King Arthur Flour contacted me to work on their Cake Decorating Promo, I asked them if they were sure they had the blogger. But as it turned out they were serious, and I got a great little care package complete with their Cake Essentials DVD that covers everything from ingredients to decorating techniques.
Not only did I get the DVD, but I also got a set of offset spatulas to add to my kitchen tools. If you’ve never used an offset spatula on your cakes, you don’t know what your missing. The Cake essentials DVD answered a lot questions I had about baking cakes, and I got to see their master baker Susan Reid in action. She makes everything look so easy, and unfortunately that’s what caused my over confidence….sigh
You see I’m not really a baker by trade, I bake because I enjoy it, not so much because I’m good at it. There’s a reason I never became a pastry chef, or for that matter a garde manger Chef……I just don’t have the patience or the dexterity to do that type of intricate work. My joy comes with the first 6 courses, not the last course.
Now somewhere along the line I did teach myself enough baking to have fun with it, but I knew better than to try to get too fancy. But after watching Susan’s DVD, I was inspired and thought I’d make a cake and decorate it. If nothing else I get a gold star for trying.
I did learn a lot from the Cake Essentials DVD about why my cakes didn’t always come out the way they should and what I needed to do to ensure that they started coming out better. So armed with that knowledge I began a classic yellow butter cake. The batter failed….sigh But the good news was I realized it failed and didn’t keep going on. So I started again, and got it almost right the second time.
I think the problem was with butter, it was not at that sweet spot, where it was soft enough without being too soft. One thing I will share with you is that all of the refrigerated ingredients need to be at room temperature (and they do mean all of them, not most of them).
My second attempt was much better but still a little short of the mark. As Susan would put it, the structure of my Batter was not right, and when the structure isn’t right, the cake can’t support it self while rising which causes a myriad of problems, one being a bit too dense. That is what this cake suffered from slightly. I didn’t get quite the rise I should have, but it wasn’t a complete failure either. I will say the flavor was excellent and the cake wasn’t dry, so those points are in my favor…..maybe a silver star.
I did attempt using the Cake Decorating set that KAF sent me, and I loved the Parchment Circles! Never again will I trace out the cake pan and cut my own circles, this has to be one of life’s simple pleasures! I am definitely ordering more of those parchment circles!
While thinking about the crumb coat, I forgot to put enough frosting in the center of the cake but we’re going to pretend I did that on purpose to cut down on the calories…. at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
- 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) butter -softened
- 1¾ cups (12¼ ounces) sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 large eggs, 2 yolks - room temperature
- 2¼ cups (11½ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1½ cup ( 12 ounces) milk - room temp
- 12 ounces mascarpone - room temp
- 6 ounces butter - room temp
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 6 cups 10 x sugar
- 4 ounces flake coconut
- green food coloring
- your favorite robin egg candy
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt and baking powder until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
- add the eggs in one at a time to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. (make sure to scrape down the bowl between each step)
- Add ⅓ of the flour, then half the milk, and repeat the process until you've added the last third of the flour. (scrape down the bowl frequently)
- Pour the batter into greased and floured or parchment lined 9 inch baking pans and smooth out batter.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Allow to cool on wire racks for 10 minutes, then turn out the cakes and continue cooling on wire racks until completely cooled.
- mix together mascarpone and butter and whip until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes)
- Slowly add the 10 x sugar, one third at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
- Add vanilla and mix until fully blended
- mix 4 or 5 drops of green food coloring to the coconut (or more if you want it darker) and mix until all the coconut is the same shade of green
- Put together cake layers with one cup of frosting in between each layer.
- Spread a small amount of frosting over the entire cake making a light coating, this is your crumb coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes then apply frosting to the entire cake with an even coat.
- Place frosting into a pastry bag, and using the star tip make little flour shapes by squeezing out the frosting and pulling up. Go around the top of the cake with large flowers, and around the bottom of the cake with smaller flowers
- Place green coconut on the top of the cake inside of the circle of flowers.
- Place candy robin eggs on top and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Thanks to King Arthur Flour for sending me all of those goodies and for being part of my Food Bloggers Community on Google+. They’re a great group of people and its been a lot of fun working with them.
Although KAF did send me product and equipment, all of the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I have used KAF for most of my life and love their products, it’s a name you can depend on.