Sunday, February 20, 2011

Super Bowl, Sister, Sunday...CAKE!

Well, Super Bowl Sunday was more eventful for me than some because it was also my sister's birthday. It's funny how I bake all the birthday cakes for my family these days, including myself. Everyone gives me their request and I magically whip it every time. This is not to say that it's good every time but it's edible. Ice cream cakes are typical requests but this year my sister opted for something more traditional. She wanted a simple cake with marzipan. I decided instead of going through the hassle of making marzipan and rolling it out to cover the cake, I'd opt for an almond filling which is a mixture of almond, sugar, and a few other ingredients that can easily spread on cakes while still getting the pungent almond flavor from marzipan. So, how'd the cake turn out?

Overall, successful! The cake was moist, the almond filling was delicious, and the strawberries added a nice decorative touch to the cake. After all, they are my sister's favorite fruit. To make it more decorate, I used sugared pecans to decorate the side of the cake even though sliced almonds would have made more sense to use. I honestly don't believe it makes a big difference.

Yellow Cake
compliments of Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1-3/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups milk

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cups butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Filling & Optional Toppings
Sugared pecans, chopped (or sliced almonds)
Pint of strawberries, hulled and sliced
Almond topping 
Simple syrup (dissolve 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water)

For the cake: 
1. Grease and lightly flour two 8x1-1/2-inch or 9x1-1/2-inch round baking pans or grease one 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set pan(s) aside. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each. Add dry mixture and milk alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just till combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s).
3. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool layer cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove layer cakes from pans. Cool thoroughly on racks. Or, place 13x9-inch cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly. Frost with desired frosting. Makes 12 servings.

For the frosting:
1. Beat butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar alternately with milk beating well after each addition.
2. Beat in additional milk, if necessary, to make of spreading consistency. Makes enough to frost tops and sides of two 8- or 9-inch cake layers (12 servings). 

Assembly: (using two round cake layers)
1. Level off both layers of cake with a knife.
2. Brush one layer of cake with simple syrup.
3. Spread a thin frosting. Then spread almond filling on top of frosting. Top with a layer of strawberries.
4. Place the second cake layer on top. Brush with simple syrup.
5. Frost the cake.
6. Decorate the top with more strawberries and decorate the sides with sugared pecans or sliced almonds. 

Enjoy and happy birthday!

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