By SHEENA BRINGS PLENTY
(Yield: About 6 cakes, 2 inches wide and 3 inches tall.)
I’m baaaaack!! HaHa! It has been quite a while since my last article for the One Feather, and I’m happy to be back to writing them!! I am going to try to do themed articles based on the holidays or seasons and I hope you all enjoy them as much as I do!
Now that Spring has sprung (supposedly!), that means that Mother’s Day is just around the corner! So, with that in mind, I decided to come up with a sweet treat in honor of all moms, aunties, and grandmas. This week’s concoction is a golden cake, frosted with homemade simple buttercream, and enrobed in beautiful, decadent, dark chocolate ganache. It is a perfect treat to present to your loved one to let them know how much you love them!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until light on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure even mixing. Mix for about 5 seconds more.
3. Reduce the speed to low and, dividing the flour mixture into 3 batches, beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
4. Spray a large sheet pan (9x15x1) with a light layer of pan spray. Then line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper, cut to fit the bottom of the pan. Lightly spray the parchment with the pan spray.
5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared sheet pan. Spread it evenly in the pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched. Cool completely on a wire rack. (Wrap the cooled cake completely in plastic wrap if not using it right away.)
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
About 2 cups powdered sugar (or more or less depending on your tastes)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon milk
1. Beat together the butter and powdered sugar in a mixer bowl until blended. Add the vanilla and milk and beat until fluffy and easily spreadable. (Add more powdered sugar if the mixture is too loose, and more milk if the mixture is too stiff. It needs to be able to be spread easily.)
Dark Chocolate Ganache
16oz high-quality dark chocolate (Such as Ghiradelli or Lindt), chopped or broken into pieces
16oz heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place the chocolate pieces into a medium glass bowl. Bring a pan of water to a low simmer and place the chocolate on top. Gently melt the chocolate, being sure not to scorch it.
2. In a medium saucepan, slowly heat the cream over medium-low until steamy. (Be careful not to scorch the bottom.) Once it is steaming, pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk the two together until they have come together as one mixture. Whisk in the vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool. (Test the temperature by placing a small dab of the mixture onto your wrist. It needs to feel cool, meaning it is lower than your body temperature.)
1 egg white, beaten
About 1 ¾ cups (or more, depending on the humidity) powdered sugar
1. Whisk the powdered sugar, a little at a time, into the egg white until it is smooth and pipeable, but not too runny as that will cause your designs to not be crisp.
1. Make the cake, cool it completely and level the top, if needed. Then, make the simple buttercream and set aside.
2. Using a round biscuit cutter, cut out an even number of rounds from the sheet cake. (You can freeze the leftover cake scraps to use later in a parfait or trifle!) Place half of the rounds on cake boards cut to fit the bottom of the round (these will be the “bottoms” of your tea cakes. You may need to put a dab of frosting on the board to make the cake stay put.)
3. Spread a small amount of the simple buttercream onto the top of each of the “bottoms” and top with the remaining cake rounds. Frost each tea cake with the simple buttercream on the tops and sides in a thin, even layer so no cake shows through.
4. Place the frosted tea cakes on a wire rack over a clean sheet tray with raised sides. (Make sure no cake crumbs drop into the sheet pan.) Set aside. Make the ganache, and cool it according the instructions above.
5. Using a ladle or large spoon, gently spoon the ganache over the tea cakes, one at a time, making sure to cover the sides completely. (If you run out, scrape the ganache out of the sheet pan back into your bowl, and gently heat it over a simmering pan of water until it is thin enough to pour and not too hot.)
6. Allow the ganache to set up some. Then, using a flat spatula, lift each tea cake off the rack individually, and set them onto flattened cupcake liners, individually, and onto a sheet pan. Chill.
7. Make the royal icing and several small parchment cones. (You can find directions online. They are very easy to make.) Remove the sheet pan of tea cakes from the refrigerator. Pipe desired designs onto the top of each one, serve, and enjoy!
Sheena, who resides in the Yellowhill Community, holds a degree in baking and pastry arts from Sullivan University.