Monday, September 20, 2010

Vanilla Cake for my english teacher!

I love the reaction I get from others when I make cake. The oohs and the aahs bring a really nice sense of satisfaction and make me really happy- even when I know the cake doesn't look that great. And although I love baking, it is really this reaction which makes even the boring and frustrating bits of baking all worthwhile.

This cake was for my english teacher, perhaps my favourite teacher- so from the beginning, it was completely worth the 4 or so hours I spent in the kitchen slowly trawling through the recipe, making sure I didn't skip a single ingredient, and the decorating after that. And it definitely was- I loved her reaction when she saw the cake- I don't really think anyone has been quite as happy and touched by my cakes before!

It certainly makes it worth the tired arms I get from whipping the batter for 10 minutes- it can get painful sometimes. It makes it worth the frustration of having to wait hours for the cake to be done and the frustration when you have a billion bowls to clean- and you don't even know how you managed to use that many =S

The reaction of my class also made it very worthwhile. Not only the oohs and aahs, especially of the butterflies, the easiest part of it (I stole the idea off Adriana- thanks!) but also the way they kept reaching for seconds. Like those who wolfed down piece after piece after piece *ahem* Andrew *ahem* ;) But I love all of this.

It really makes it worth the frustration of the egg whites not whipping up into stiff meringue- because you couldn't be bothered to clean your bowl cleanly after you used it to make the cake batter. And the consequential 10 minutes of beating in hope that it will. And then the additional 10 minutes of beating in the butter in hope that it will turn into a beautiful, smooth buttercream. It makes it worth the frustration when you realise that you don't have enough buttercream to ice the whole cake. And when the crumbs all mix with the icing to make a lumpy one- so the icing looks like a splat of...something.

But you don't notice all these imperfections when you are bathed in compliments, when you are constantly told how good the cake is. You only stop to think about whether you cake was actually that great a couple of hours later, when you think back and when you look at the picture you snapped hurriedly in the morning before rushing off to school. I guess it's all part of the experience.

Thinking back this time however, it kinda made me sad. Sad that I'll probably never have the chance to make a cake for these people again- school finishes in a few days and I'll probably never see them like this again. But I'll leave the sentimental stuff for another post, and meanwhile, spend the rest of the week treasuring out last moments of high school =)

Yellow cake
from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
Makes one double layered 20 or 23cm cake

3/4 cup butter
3 eggs
2.5 cups plain flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 3/4 cups sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups milk

1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutesas. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, aabout 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes more. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition (about 1 min in total). Beat in vanilla. Alternatively add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined. Pour batter into a 20cm or 23cm round cake pan.
3. Bake in a preheated 180 degree (celcius) oven for about 12 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool cupcakes and decorate with buttercream.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Recipe from Joepastry
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pound soft unsalted butter

1. Begin by combining the whites, sugar and cream of tartar the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Whisk to combine them, and keep it up intermittently while the mixture warms. In about 5-7 minutes' time, your mixture should have reached 160 degrees Farhenheit (don't worry, your whites won't cook, the sugar will keep all those little proteins from clenching up). At this temperature, Salmonella bacteria are killed
2. Pour the contents of the double boiler into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip.Turn the mixer on high. In a few minutes the mixture will turn white and start to build up into a foam. Whip for about 6-8 minutes, until the meringue forms stiff peaks
3. Switch to the paddle (beater) attachment and turn the mixer to medium high. Beat in the butter a piece at a time. Whip until the mixture becomes smoother and thick.


teenagefoodie said...

that looks amazing. seriously something from the cake shop. good job (Y)

MaryMoh said...

You are one sweet student!! Love your cake. You remind me of those times when I was still teaching. I used to get gifts from sweet and so encouraging! When students like their teacher, they will study very hard for that subject. True, right?

Juliana said...

You are so sweet, making this cake for your teacher...the cake looks beautiful and I am sure it must taste delicious...nice photos!

Cooking Gallery said...

Love the butterflies! They look pro and very yummy!

SteelCityFlan said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Ready for college? :3

This looks divine, Von. And my gosh, those butterflies. They look so professional. Just gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

The butterflies are gorgeous. :) The cake looks really good too. Yay, your cake turned out great after 4 hours. Those four hours were totally worth it. =) Great job! Btw, I never knew you were a senior in high school, year 12 right? Have fun with school.

Steph said...

Von that cake looks so preettttyyyy.

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Wow! You did a really good job there! I must admit to using electric whisk to do my egg whites.
Oh, I have a tip for you about clean bowl for meringue - whip the egg whites FIRST then it doesn't matter that the whisk is not scrupulously clean when mixing the cake batter! :0) Having two large bowls helps too!

I've been making a lot of these types cakes this past week or two...too many special occasions! ;0)

TasteHongKong said...

Von, with such a hearty, wonderful cake, who would not be excited!? Your teacher much be proud of you.
By the way, enjoy your new term : ).

Christine Ho said...

Aw, it's so sweet of you, Von.
You cooked with your heart. Love the decoration and presentation. Very pretty.

Adriana said...

Your cake is beautiful, Von! It's so sweet of you to bake a cake for your teacher. My math teacher joked about extra credit when he found out that I like to bake. I'll make him something at the end of the year, just like you. :)

Congratulations on getting through high school!

Joyti said...

How adorable! Bet it was delicious.

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Aww good on you =) The butterflies are a cute finishing touch, I always get too frustrated getting the cake done and by the time the cake is cool enough to decorate it's usually a rush job for me. But end results are always satisfactory =)

OohLookBel said...

It's wonderful that you can commemorate your final days at school with such a great cake. I'm hopeless at icing, so your efforts are most impressive.

foodwink said...

How sweet of you! Those butterflies are very pretty.

I've never liked a teacher enough to bake them a cake :) Ok, ok, I suck at baking too.

Anonymous said...

What better way to say thank you then baking a delicious cake! Love the chocolate butterflies :)

Emma @CakeMistress said...

Such a beautiful thank you for your teacher! Love those butterflies on top too.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

:) the butterflies are gorgeous, Von! The cake must have tasted heavenly...

sweetlife said...

how sweet, i love the butterflies..and yes the trouble is so worth it for someone you really care for and great teachers are so deserving of a great cake..


tigerfish said...

It is no wonder that you get the oohs and ahhs! You deserve it by being so sweet and by baking such a wonderful cake for your teacher. :)

Unknown said...

hehe, so sweet!

BLEH =T said...

dw yvonne :)

you will get to make the cakes for me if i get into the same course as you for uni. :):):). i will keep wolfing them down. hahahaha, anyways, that was one delicious cake. i loved it. Most definitely one of the best cakes i've ever had. maybe because the cake was for raeburn as well. :)

Anna said...

Ohhh your teacher is one lucky lady! How nice :)

A Canadian Foodie said...

The butterflies are the BOMB!

Bimmer said...

love the butterflies! thanks for the idea!

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