8/1/10

Welcome to my Blog!


Welcome to my Blog!

I've become an avid reader of cooking blogs over the past year. Next to my mom, these blogs have become my greatest tool for learning my way around the kitchen. Defeated by Frosting will serve as a way to stay in touch with family and friends and to share my adventures whether in the kitchen or elsewhere.

Two years ago, when I made up my mind to learn to bake, I bought a cookbook called CakeLove by Warren Brown. His cookbook caught my eye because of the way he illustrates each step and the way he explains the process of baking.  I've made lots of recipes that had instructions like "cream sugar and butter", but I never understood what that meant or what it looked like. Warren Brown really explains these things and tells why they are important. He calls his vanilla pound cake the LCD, or lowest common denominator, because everyone loves vanilla pound cake. So this is where I began. After I mastered the pound cake, I moved on to frosting because I thought the only way to make a good cake better is to add frosting. This is where the frustration set in. I probably threw away 5 batches of icing. I just could not get it right, so I gave up. And thus began the phrase, "Defeated by Frosting." Since then, I have learned how to make delicious frosting. I also discovered that the Italian Meringue Butter Cream frosting that I was attempting to conquer is not exactly a frosting for beginners.

Warren Brown's vanilla pound cake is delicious, to say the least. The recipe is easy to follow, and there are so many variations on this. To prove to you that I have not been defeated by frosting, I have topped the pound cake with the feared Italian Meringue Butter Cream Frosting and sliced strawberries. I only frosted half of the cake because we were only eating half of the cake tonight.  Enjoy!


"LCD" Vanilla Pound Cake
(lowest common denominator)

Dry Ingredients:
unbleached all-purpose flour, 13 1/2 ounces (2 1/2 cups + 3 tablespoons)
potato starch, 1 tablespoon
vanilla powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons
salt, 1/2 teaspoon
baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon

Liquid Ingredients:
sour cream, 8 ounces (1 cup)
heavy cream, 2 tablespoons
brandy, 1/4 cup
amaretto, 1 tablespoon
rum, 1 tablespoon
vanilla extract, 1 1/2 teaspoons
whiskey, 1 1/2 teaspoons

Creaming:
unsalted butter, at room temperature, 8 ounces (2 sticks)
extra-fine granulated sugar, 24 ounces (3 cups)
eggs (large), 5
yolk (large), 1
vanilla bean, 1

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Set the rack in the middle of the oven.

2. Set out the ingredients and equipment.

a. Sift the flour into a bowl on a scale for accurate measuring.
b. Measure the other dry ingredients into
c. Measure the liquid ingredients into a separate bow, whisk to combine, and set aside.
d. Measure the butter and sugar into separate bowls and set aside.
e. Crack the eggs and yolk into separate bowls and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on the lowest speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the creaming butter and sugar.

5. With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the yolk, fully incorporating after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.

6. Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Move swiftly to avoid overworking the batter. Don't wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next. This step should take a total of about 60 seconds.

7. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl all the way down. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter's structure.

8. Prepare the pan. Spray Bundt pan well with a nonstick spray.

9. Fill Bundt pan about three-quarters full by depositing the batter with a rubber spatula in small clumps around the prepared pan instead of by pouring into one spot. Level the batter with a rubber spatula. Bake any leftovers as cupcakes.

10. Bake for approximately 50-55 minutes if you're making a Bundt or 15 for cupcakes.

11. Once the top of the cake doesn't jiggle in the center, test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer in the center of the cake. When the skewer shows just a touch of crumbs the cake is done. The sheen on on top may look liquid, but this is normal and comes from the fat in the heavy cream. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire wrack.

12. Once the cake has cooled for 5 to 10 minutes, remove the cake by inverting the pan onto a flat surface. Allow it to cool at room temperature, about 30 minutes, before frosting or glazing.

Serving and Storing
Serve at room temperature either naked or with a dusting of confectioners' sugar. Store under a cake dome at room temperature, or wrapped in plastic in the fridge for up to 1 week. To store longer, label, date, and store the plastic-wrapped cake in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Source: Cake Love by Warren Brown

4 comments:

Lori Drummond said...

Ahh! This is great!!! I love it!! And yummy too. Great job, Jennifer. You are a wonderful cook. I especially loved the goodies you brought to my house in May. :-) You are so thoughtful!! Martin says, "I'm hungry." Mom

Anonymous said...

there are a number of things i need to comment on:
1) do your real friends call you Jenny?!
2) are you bringing this to work tomorrow?
3) if not, i hope you wake up early enough to read this and decide to whip one up! haha jk!
-virginia

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Congratulations Jennifer! I'll plug your new blog on Stick Horse Cowgirls when I write my next post! Have you read Orangette, Bakerella and Noble Pig? I really enjoy those food blogs! I love it that you are making cakes from scratch without ingredients (chemicals) I can't even pronounce! Suzanne McMinn of "Chickens in the Road" has "Farm Bell Recipes" and one of my favorite things is her recipe for a homemade yellow cake mix. I always make homemade buttercream icing (the simple kind)! It's always delicious.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Virginia, do your friends really call you Jenny?!

Just kidding, I love your blog, it's so cute! I look forward to feeling like we're bff's because I read your blog when I don't work here anymore!

Steph

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