We’ve all heard that old chestnut. I’m still trying to figure out what it means, because to me, a mostly savory food kinda gal, cake is indeed not a piece of cake.
Baking, in my opinion, is much too unforgiving; recipes must be followed to the letter, and there is little room for leeway. There is no fly by the seat of your pants in baking. (There is also no CRYING in baking!) And sometimes (shudder) there are metric measurements to be measured. (YIKES!) I remember the debate in 1975 over whether or not the US should convert to the metric system (like most of the rest of the world) and I hadn’t given it a thought until I started to teach myself the art of cake and pastry making at home.
I cringed when I flipped open my new Great British Baking Show cookbook “Amazing Cakes” and saw the ingredients listed using metric. But then, whew, it listed the normal way (normal for me). I spent too much time with my calculator figuring out how many grams equaled one tablespoon, and how many grams in a stick of butter in my favorite butter yesterday – Kerry Gold.
And even though I spent the time looking up and calculating conversions, I still made a cake mistake! And that’s why I’m sharing this recipe. I added too much butter to the cake. About a half a stick too much. I didn’t realize this until I had the cakes in the oven and was starting my cream cheese buttercream icing. Oops. Too late.
Oh well, I thought to myself, let’s just see what happens and I’ll write about it ! Turns out the cake tasted fine and was just a bit denser and less spongy. I’m gonna blame it on the metric system… this recipe comes from https://www.mycakeschool.com/recipes/pink-lemonade-scratch/ I love the tips I learned from it, and I’ll surely be using it often as I learn how to bake.
FOR THE PINK LEMONADE CAKE LAYERS
2 1/2 cups (285g) cake flour
1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
2 1/2 teaspoon (12g) baking powder
1 1/2 sticks (12 T) (169g) unsalted butter....Cut into 1/2 inch slices onto waxed paper to soften slightly (still very cool
to the touch). If it becomes too soft, refrigerate for a few minutes. Do not soften in microwave
4 large eggs
3/4 cup (190g) frozen pink lemonade concentrate (thawed) ( if you cannot find pink, you can use regular frozen lemonade)
1/2 cup (121g) milk
2 teaspoons (7g) lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon
pink coloring gel, if you want the cake layers to be pink....we used AmeriColor Deep Pink
FOR THE LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, slightly softened but still cool to the touch
2 8oz packages Cream Cheese (453 total gram weight) Use full fat cream cheese. Do not use reduced fat or cream cheese in the tub containers. Soften very slightly
2 teaspoons (8g) lemon juice
1 teaspoon (4g) lemon extract, optional
Zest from 1 lemon, approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons (3g)
6 to 6 1/2 cups (690g — 747g) powdered sugar, adding more if necessary
FOR THE CAKE LAYERS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour two 8 x 2 inch round pans
In the bowl of your mixer add the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine dry ingredients for 30 seconds.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs, Pink Lemonade concentrate, lemon extract, zest & milk.
With the mixer on low speed, add the slices of butter a few pieces at a time to the dry ingredients. Increase the mixer to medium speed and beat until the dry ingredients look crumbly like coarse sand. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl.
Method is important when using Reverse Creaming. With the mixer on low speed SLOWLY ADD 1/2 of the egg mixture, increase to medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. The batter will become thick and fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. ADD THE PINK GEL COLOR, Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
Let the cakes cool in the pan 10 minutes, then turn out.
Works well for cupcakes
Makes 7 cups batter
FOR THE LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Cut butter into 1/2 inch slices and add to the bowl of your mixer, beat until smooth.
Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating until blended.
Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. 1 teaspoon lemon extract, optional for a stronger lemon flavor.
Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until well blended.
This frosting will pipe best if used while still chilled. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly and remix. Do not microwave to soften
Additional note – I added fresh raspberries to the top to make the cake look even more pretty.
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