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Vanilla Cake with Raspberry and Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

December 19, 2012

Well it was bound to happen sooner or later.  After the immense amount of baking I’ve done in the last few weeks for birthdays and the holiday season I finally had a failure, an epic flop.  This cake was for Lisa’s birthday another big 3-0er.  Her request was something with vanilla or yellow cake with fruit and cream cheese frosting.  I had just done a yellow butter for Jeff’s birthday so I decided to do a vanilla cake with raspberry filling.  I also had just done a cream cheese frosting for Bill’s birthday so I wanted to do something different.  Then I realized one of our wedding cakes was a white cake with raspberry filling and had a Swiss meringue buttercream frosting so my goal was to replicate that.  I pulled a couple of different recipes from my tried and true Martha Stewart cake website and came up with the below recipes.

Although the cake itself was great and the raspberry filling had good flavor, the frosting did not work.  I made both the cake and the frosting a day ahead of time and put them in the fridge.  I had good success with the frosting when I made it, even though there was a phase where it looked like cottage cheese.  I took it out of the fridge the next day and it was solid/not spreadable.  So I mixed it like the recipe said.  Although, I did not let it come to room temperature (apparently a key note!).  I consequently then got a mess of separated butter and eggs with clumps of sugar.  Ugh.

Frosting gone bad...

Jim was so nice to go to the store to buy me more butter for attempt number two.  I got to the stiff peaks stage and had to stop to go to a show.  I was debating whether I should put it in the fridge or not, but did since there were so many eggs I went for the fridge.  When I got home I tried to re-whip it to get the stiff peaks back and didn’t achieve them before going to the next step.  Well, I had whipped it for so long I was convinced it wasn’t going to get there again.  This then created the same mess I had on attempt #1.  FAIL!

Lessons learned:  Completing all steps in the same session to avoid settling/heating/cooling issues.

I think had the frosting worked out it would have been a fabulous cake!  Instead we ended up with 2 pounds of sugary/buttery goop that we put on our waffles the next day.   I will definitely try this again someday.  Third times the charm, right?

Tasty Cake (no frosting)

Vanilla Cake

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Total Time: 45 min
Yield: 12 servings
Taste: Delicious!

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Procedure:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3) In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
4) Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
5) Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes (25 minutes for Heidi’s HOT oven). Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
6) Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with raspberry filling (recipe below). Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides with frosting recipe below.

Notes: Reserve the egg whites left over from the cake for the frosting. If you don’t have buttermilk, substitute plain yogurt or sour cream (not fat-free).

Source: Martha Stewart 

Raspberry Filling:

Difficulty: Super Easy
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 0 min
Total Time: 5 min
Yield: 12 servings
Taste: Mediocre

Ingredients:
5 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed and drained (1/2 cup)
6 1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Procedure:
1)  In a small bowl, combine raspberries and preserves

Source: Martha Stewart  

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Difficulty: Temperamental = Difficult!
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 5-10min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield:  4 cups
Taste:  good???

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
2 cups (4 sticks or 1 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Procedure:
1) Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 5 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
2) Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
3) Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
4) Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes

Notes: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE STIFF PEAKS BEFORE MOVING TO NEXT STEP.  Let mixture come to room temperature completely before remixing after being in fridge

Source: Martha Stewart

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