It's hard to believe that is has been one whole year since Gastronome Tart's appearance into the blogosphere. The funny thing is that I had literally side stepped blog's for a long time ever since they came into existence. I just didn't understand it, it wasn't for me and yet I kept having everyone from friend's and family members telling me that I should put up a blog and focus on cooking as I do it all the time anyways. Yet, I always ignored it until last year.
It was around the time that I had gotten my Canon 7D and I was in the throes of trying to learn all about this thing. That's when it finally hit me. I love cooking and baking and I love photography, why don't I incorporate both and do this blog thing everyone has been talking about. Besides, it will be a fun creative outlet and I was finally beginning to understand the appeal of blogging.
It had intially started as a way for me to express myself through my cooking, writing and photography. Although I must admit not all my photograph's have been great. Let's take my first post as an example. While the writing was awesome (at least in my mind) the food tasted amazing but the photography stunk. The funny thing was, I knew better! I knew that the white balance was off and the color look drab. Yet, I wouldn't change that post now. It's just part of my blogging journey.
I have found such a great commaderie of fellow food blogger's that I truly had no idea existed until I started one year ago. I have learned more about cooking than I ever thought possible from other blogger's and wonderful photography tips that help me outside of the kitchen as well.
As I look back on this past year, I am excited to keep on sharing all the fun recipes I come across via magazines, cookbooks, online or fellow blogger's. If there is anything that you would like to see more of this coming year, please email, tweet, Facebook or comment me about things that are of particular interest to you.
However, in the meantime, I will be celebrating with some good old birthday cake. Funfetti style. Recipe courtesy of one of my favorite bakeries: Milk Bar (hence my previous post). This cake has literally made my permanent recipe list. An annual tradition from now on for friend's and family member's birthday. I truly think everyone should try this cake! And, as I always say when I seem to make a cake (or at least I think I do) There will be cake! And oh yes, there is. Enjoy!
1 (6-inch) cake ring
2 strips acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long
1 recipe Birthday Cake (recipes will follow)
1 recipe Birthday Cake Soak
1 recipe Birthday Cake Frosting
1 recipe Birthday Cake Crumb
1. Put a piece of parchment or a Silpat on th e counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or Silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use the cake ring to punch out 2 circles from the cake. These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake "scrap" will come together to make the bottom of the cake.
Layer one, the bottom
2. Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a Silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.
3. Put the cake scraps in the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into an even flat layer.
4. Dunk a pastry brush in the birthday cake soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the soak.
5. Use the back of a spoon to spread 1/5th of the frosting in an even layer over the cake.
6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the birthday cake crumbs evenly over the top of the frosting. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
7. Use the back of a spoon to spread a second 5th of frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs.
Layer 2, the middle
8. WIth your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate betweem the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5-6 inches tall- high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake round on top of the frosting and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
Layer 3, the top
9. Nestle the remaining cake round into the frosting. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Give it volume and swirls or just opt for a flat top. Garnish the frosting with the remaining birthday cake crumbs.
10. Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
11. At least 3 hours prior to serving, pull the sheet pan from the freezer and using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the fridge a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days).
12. Slice the cake into wedges and serve.
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons CLEAR vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
Non-stick cooking spray
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles.
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine the butter, shortening and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and mix on medium- high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
3. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4-6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice it's size of the original butter and sugar mixture and completely homogenous. Don't rush the process. Your basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn't want to make room for the liquid. There should be no streaks of fat of liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt and the 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles. Mix for 45-60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Spray the nonstick spray into a quarter sheet pan and line with parchment. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sprinkles evenly over the top of the batter.
6. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger; the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven an extra 3-5 minutes if it doesn't pass these tests.
7. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack, or in a pinch the fridge or freezer (it's okay to do so)The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 5 days.
Birthday Cake Soak
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon clear vanilla
1. Whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small bowl.
Birthday Cake Frosting
8 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon glucose (In a pinch, substitute 2 teaspoons corn syrup for the glucose)
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of baking powder
pinch of citric acid (I had a hard time finding this after several store visits so I substituted a few drops of lemon juice)
1. Combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium high for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. With the mixer on it's lowest speed, stream in the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla. Crank the mixture up to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is silky smooth and glossy white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the confectioner's sugar, salt and baking powder and citric acid and mix on low speed just to incorporate them into the batter. Crank up the speed back up to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes until you have a brilliant streak of white, beautifully smooth frosting. It should look like it just came out of a plastic tub at the grocery store! Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for one week.
Birthday Cake Crumb
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined.
3. Add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. The wet ingredients will act as glue to help the dry ingredients form small clusters; continue paddling until that happens.
4. Spread the clusters on the parchment lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch; they will dry and harden as they cool.
5. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or scarfing down by the handful. Stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.
Source: Milk: Momofoku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi
Birthday Cake Hangover?
Riddled with guilt after inhaling the cake, I chose to make the leftover's into cake pops for the hubby to take to work. Phew! Out of site, but definitely not out of mind!