That was my first reaction when I saw that this month’s cake selection for the Cake Slice Bakers was from the Sky High book of cakes cookbook. Don’t get me wrong, these cakes, from what I’ve seen are delicious and oh-so-pri-tay, but they also involve FROSTING a CAKE.
Because of my now DEEP! FEAR! AM SKERRED! of frosting cakes, I hemmed and hawed and basically put off making this cake for as long as I could. Okay, a lot of that procrastination also had to do with me being busy and traveling a couple of times this month for work and play, but still. There was a lot of walking in circles in my studio box apartment and wringing of hands and turning over and over in my head the idea of scratching the triple layer cake aspect of it in favor of cupcakes. Again.
But no! NO! I told myself. You need to get over this fear of frosting cakes. You need to get past your issues. You need to move on. YOU NEED TO MAKE THE CAKE AS INSTRUCTED.
Except Interwebers, do I ever do anything as directed? Do I ever do what people tell me to do? Well, yes, actually, sometimes I do. But not in the kitchen! The kitchen is my headquarters, and I am the CEO! AND I MAKE THE RULES!
Plus, I’m still sort of scared about the whole frosting thing. And I don’t want my cake to turn out all fugly and shit.
But I did make the cake as instructed, with one teensy…tiny…miniscule modification on the frosting aspect.
But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Let’s talk about how it tastes.
And poppy seedy!
(Do poppy seeds really taste like anything?) (And I really hope there isn’t some sort of surprise drug test tomorrow.)
Tasty! If you like lemony and poppy seedy things!
The frosting was quite sweet, what with the almond extract, but the cream cheese balanced it out nicely, so it wasn’t cloying. And as far as processes go, it’s a pretty easy cake to make and assemble.
Before we get into pictures, let me just say one thing: I’m sorry for the shitty picture quality. I’m just…it’s just….yeah. I’m sorry. My kitchen lighting blows.
So. As I mentioned, I frosted the cake, but I didn’t exactly frost the cake.
There…see what I did there? I didn’t frost the sides. It helped greatly in relieving my fear of frosting cakes. (And no, the cake is not crooked [entirely], I just have problems, apparently, keeping my camera straight when taking pictures.) And it still looks tasty! Is Art!
I debated leaving it like that, all nekkid on top and whatnot, but when I saw how much frosting was leftover, I realized that would have been a crime against humanity.
And I’m not one to be okay with crimes against humanity. Particularly when they involve cream cheese.
I also added some sliced almonds on top of the frosting between layers, as well as on top of the cake (as you can see). I’m not sure if I would do this next time, but it’s certainly not a bad thing. Added a little crunch, but nothing, IMHO, really to the overall almond flavor of the dessert. But it’s pri-tay! IS ART!
Obviously I have overall alignment problems. Whatever! It looks better standing up!
And I think it’s safe to say I’ve gotten over my fear of frosting cakes. For now. As long as I don’t have to frost the sides. Or make it look neat and pretty.
Maybe I should just stick to stuffedcakes.
May’s Cake: Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Almond Frosting
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Almond Frosting
(Recipe from Sky High Irresistible Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne)
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
4½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large lemon, zest and juice
1¼ cups buttermilk*
5 egg whites
1/3 cup water
Poppy seeds or flaked almonds to decorate
8 ounces cream cheese
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
5 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp almond extract
* If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by stirring 3 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice into each cup of milk and leaving for 10 minutes.
To make the cake, heat the oven to 350F. Grease three 8 inch cake pans and line the bases with parchment paper. Combine the flour, 1¾ cups sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix gently to combine.
Add the butter, lemon zest and 1 cup of buttermilk to the flour. Beat on low until completely mixed. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes until lighter in colour.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk, whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the egg white mixture to the batter in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate the mix. Divide the batter between the three pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the centre, and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out.
While the cake layers are cooling, make a lemon syrup. In a small pan combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Generously brush the cakes with the lemon syrup while they are still warm. Then allow the cakes to cool completely.
To make the frosting, in a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the almond extract and then continue to beat well for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
To complete the cake, place one layer, top side down, on a cake plate and spread about a fifth of the frosting over the cake to cover evenly. Repeat with the second layer and place the third layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with your choice of flaked almonds or poppy seeds.
Makes 1 x 8inch triple layer cake. Serves 12-16