Thursday, May 7, 2009

Versatile Vanilla Cake - Martha Stewart

I saw this recipe on the Today Show. It doesn't seem a like a super easy cake, but looked like a nice "special occasion" cake.
Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Whipped frosting
• 3 large egg whites
• 3/4 cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1/3 cup water
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with Whipped Frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides. (Store unfrosted cakes at room temperature up to 1 day. Once frosted, serve within a few hours.)

Frosting: In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine 3 large egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch salt and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.

TIPS
Chocolate variation: In step 1, reduce flour to 2 cups and add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Top frosted cake with shaved dark chocolate.

Lemon variation: In step 1, add 1 tablespoon lemon zest to flour mixture. In step 2, omit vanilla extract and beat in 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice with buttermilk.

While cakes are baking, bring ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 thinly sliced and seeded lemon and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir ¼ cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.

Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. For frosting, substitute 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for vanilla extract. Frost cooled cakes.

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