Saturday, August 23, 2008

Birthday Cake Order



My best friend was throwing a 40th birthday party for a friend. The friend wanted a fruit basket birthday cake. Dari has been impressed with my baking projects of late. She decided to ask me to make the cake instead of ordering one from a bakery. My first official commission.



I made the Picture Perfect Party Cake again since it was perfect for the request. The party was going to be large and I was concerned about the cake not being enough for everyone. I made a second batch and made mini-cakes instead. One thing was different between the two batches. I used cake flour for the cake and regular, all-purpose flour for the mini-cakes. Interestingly, the people who tried both cakes actually commented on the difference between them. They felt that the mini-cakes were denser and more biscuit-like. The frosting was the Swiss buttercream recipe from last month's challenge. You'll find it below.


The birthday girl was thrilled and I got plenty of compliments once again.This cake really is a winner.

Swiss Buttercream


4 lg. egg whites

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm

1 ½ -2 Tbsp. Rum
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a electric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage). Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows.
Remove from pan and with either the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes. *Do not overbeat*. Set aside. 


Place the butter in a separate clean mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed for 40-60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. *Do not overbeat or the butter will become toooooo soft.*


On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute. Add the liqueur and vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.


Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.


Wait! My buttercream won’t come together! Reheat the buttercream briefly over simmering water for about 5 seconds, stirring with a wooden spoon. Be careful and do not overbeat. The mixture will look broken with some liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Return the bowl to the mixer and whip on medium speed just until the cream comes back together. 


Wait! My buttercream is too soft! Chill the buttercream in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and rewhip. If that doesn’t work, cream an additional 2-4 Tbsp. of butter in a small bowl– making sure the butter is not as soft as the original amount, so make sure is cool and smooth. On low speed, quickly add the creamed butter to the buttercream, 1 Tbsp. at a time.


Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If freezing, store in 2 16-oz. plastic containers and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.

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