Monday, May 26, 2014

"world's best cake"

I made this quick cake for my parents' wedding anniversary after seeing it a million times on my instagram feed.

worlds best cake

Called the World's Best Cake it's a yellow cake based topped with a vanilla meringue sprinkled with sliced almonds. The whole thing is baked, then sliced into two sections so it sandwiches a filling of whipped cream.

I had made something similar in the past, with a zabaglione filling, so I was familiar with the technique and resulting cake.

I baked my cake in two 6 inch cake pans, but because I was using short pans, the meringue rose over the top and baked in an unattractive mushroom shape. The cake layers were also too thick to be stacked, so I ended up with two small 6 inch cakes that I covered with whipping cream. Next time I would bake the cake in 8 inch pans, a change that I have reflected in the recipe below.

World's Best Cakerecipe source: Sweet Paul via Bakers Royale

10½ tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 1⁄2 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 2⁄ 3 cups granulated sugar
1 1⁄ 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs, separated
1⁄ 3 cup whole milk
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 vanilla bean

Heat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle position. Line two 8 inch removable-bottom cake pans with parchment paper. 

Beat the butter and 2⁄ 3 cup of the sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and baking powder and mix well on low speed. Mix in the egg yolks and milk. Evenly divide the batter between the pans.

In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites and the remaining 1 cup sugar to soft peaks. Evenly divide meringue and spread on each cake layer. Sprinkle with the almond slices. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown and puffed. 

Cool on a wire rack in the pan. 

When the cake is cool, put the cream in a medium bowl and scrape in the vanilla seeds. Discard the vanilla pod. Beat to soft peaks with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Spread the cream on top one cake layer and then place the second cake layer on top. Let the cake sit for 1 hour in the fridge before serving.

Monday, May 19, 2014

glazed cherry loaves

My daughter is on a cherry kick, and I was totally going to make her a sweet cherry cake for her bday earlier in the month, but I didn't. I made her a charlotte, which collapsed when I removed the ring. So I sent my husband to the grocery store before guests arrived. She got cherry cupcakes to bring to school, but they were made from a mix, and obviously don't count. Poor kid never gets a cool birthday cake.

cherry loaves

So when I spotted this loaf recipe from Averie Cooks I knew I had to make it immediately. Plus I had recently remembered I had this cool twist donut pan and also needed to use that ASAP.

naked cherry loaves

I have made a cherry cupcake recipe in the past, but I think this recipe wins for ease and simplicity. The texture is moist and a bit coarse, and so good! It would have been fine without the glaze, but it's prettier with it. I simply whisked enough milk in powdered sugar to get a drizzling consistency, then added a bit of almond extract for flavor.

glazed cherry loaf

Cherry Bread
recipe adapted from : Averie Cooks

one 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries, juice reserved
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray your choice of baking vessel with non stick spray.
Roughly chop cherries and set juice aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to combine; set aside.
In a small mixing bowl or glass measuring cup, combine eggs, oil, cherry juice, almond extract, vanilla extract.
Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine; don't overmix. Batter will be very thick.
Fold in the chopped cherries.
Divide batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops lightly with a spatula. 

Bake until bread is domed, set, and lightly golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. 

My twists baked for about 23 minutes, whereas the three cupcakes I made took about 25 minutes. If baking in larger loaf pans, baking time could be up to 40 minutes.

cherry loaf cross close up