Sunday, September 26, 2010

Strawberry Vanilla Cake

I have been making a ton of birthday cakes lately, but I haven't been getting good photos of many of them. This cake is leftover batter from a batch of cupcakes for my friend Jin's going away party - she's moving to Korea in a couple of days, for a couple of years. This recipe makes roughly 30 cupcakes (maybe more) or 24 cupcakes plus a single round cake pan (my habit's to use a 7" wedding cake pan so it's a tall deep tiny layer cake).

Leave out the strawberries and this is just a really good (like, REALLY good) vanilla cake which is sturdy enough for layers or for cupcakes with fillings. It's my standard vanilla cake now, adding extra egg yolks & a little food coloring for yellow cake. I bet it'll make great chocolate cake, too. I'll get back to you on that.

Vanilla Cake w/ Strawberries

Strawberry Compote
2 pints fresh strawberries, cut in large chunks
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Simmer strawberries & sugar in a small sauce pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the cornstarch in water and whisk into strawberry pot once the berries are half dissolved. Keep on the stove stirring often until thickened to desired state. Let cool.

Vanilla Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs + 2 egg yolks
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ. Line cupcake pans with paper & spray with nonstick spray or generously grease two 9" round cake pans.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the vanilla, milk, and sour cream. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Also set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer for several minutes until fluffy. Add sugar, cream 7 minutes until. Add eggs one at a time, beating and scraping down the bowl after each. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk mixture, 1/3 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the strawberry compote and barely stir in.
Pour by heaping tablespooonfuls into cupcake cups - only up to 2/3 full - or pour evenly and smooth out in 2 round cake pans. Bake around 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely before icing with this:

Amanda's Best Vanilla Icing

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy cream

Cream the butter with a hand mixer on medium-high until fluffy in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add half the powdered sugar. Beat to death with the mixer, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and heavy cream. Beat to death some more, add the remaining powdered sugar, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so before piping onto cupcakes. For layer cake it's ok to use at room temperature for the assembly, but refrigerate before decorating. I strongly recommend using fresh strawberries (sliced) on top and between layers!