Sunday, July 13, 2014

boston cream cake

We were celebrating my SIL's birthday today, so I quickly whipped up this easy but quite delicious Boston cream cake.

I kept going back and forth all week trying to decide what to make. I had a ton of egg yolks left over after making an angel food cake earlier in the week, so I quickly decided to make pastry cream out of them before they dried out and went bad.

Pastry cream  
7 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 cups whole milk
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half of the sugar, the salt, and cornstarch until the mixture is pale, thick and smooth.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk and the remaining half of the sugar. Continue stirring until the mixture boils. Remove the pan from the heat, and slowly stream the liquid into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer the tempered egg mixture back to the saucepan and, whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until thickened to pudding consistency.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, and vanilla until combined. Strain throught a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
Once the pastry cream have cooled for about 15 minutes, wrap the bowl in plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours of overnight.
 Recipe source: Baked Explorations
I was still hesitating between a strawberry shortcake style cake, or one with rhubarb and strawberry compote as the filling with the pastry cream but settled on the Boston cream cake after my husband suggested it.

I used a basic yellow chiffon style cake recipe because I wanted the cake to stay nice and fluffy even straight out of the refrigerator.

Great Yellow Cake
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple juice
2 cups (9 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray or butter two round cake pans, each 8 inches in diameter and 2-inches deep, and line the bottoms with parchment.
In a liquid measuring cup, mix the oil, water, and apple juice and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set that aside as well.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is thick, has tripled in volume, and makes a fat ribbon that holds its shape for a few seconds on top of the batter when you lift the whisk, about 4 minutes.
With the motor running on medium speed, add the liquid in a slow, steady stream. (The trick here is to incorporate and emulsify the liquid into the eggs without causing the eggs to deflate. Adding the liquid slowly in a constant stream is the name of the game.)
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix on low speed just until the batter is smooth and lump-free, about 30 seconds. (Be careful not to overbeat, which will make the cake tough.)
Divide the batter between the cake pans. Bake until the cakes are golden, spring back to a light touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for 40 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Remove the parchment and let cool completely.
Recipe source: Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones (Bi-Rite Creamery)

I had a hard time deciding on the glaze, but went with a modified version of the glaze I had made for the Mile high cake, just cutting out some of the cream so the glaze wouldn't be too soft.

Milk Chocolate Glaze
5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60–72%), coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ounce unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream and corn syrup and bring just to a boil.

Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 2 minutes, then slowly blend the chocolate and cream together, whisking from the center, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk for another 2 to 3 minutes to release excess heat from the mixture. Add the butter and whisk again until the butter is completely melted and incorporated. Leave the glaze at room temperature for about 3 hours, until slightly thickened (it should drip thickly when poured slowly from the spoon).
Spoon teaspoonfuls of glaze up to 2 inches apart around the top edge of the cake, allowing glaze to drip down the sides of the cake. Spoon the remaining glaze over the top center of the cake and smooth with an offset spatula, covering the top completely. Chill the cake until the glaze sets, at least 1 hour.
Recipe source: Baked Explorations
I split each cake into two layers and filled each layer with 3/4 cups pastry cream. Once all my layers were stacked, I left the cake set in the refrigerator over night. The next morning, I made the glaze first thing, and finished the cake around noon. A quick trip into the refrigerator to set the glaze, and that was it!

I think the pastry cream between the layers helped the cake stay moist and gave it a really good texture. The glaze consistency was just right, and the flavor spot on. I had lots of leftover glaze, but I'm sure we'll find a way to use it up :)