Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

This past weekend we celebrated my mom's birthday at our house. It was just a small affair with my husband and me, my brother and his girlfriend, and of course my mom and dad. I made a very delicious cake for her, but forgot to bring down my camera and take a picture of it. Luckily, I did take a picture of it with my camera phone so at least I have that!

The cake is very pink, pretty and girlie ... exactly what I thought my mom deserved on her birthday! Plus it gave me an excuse to make one of MY favorite frostings: raspberry buttercream. I've used it as a filling before, but never as the whole cake's frosting. And the verdict? It's very, very good!

The cake itself was a vanilla cake with a hint of lemon by using lemon zest. My mom loves lemon cake, but no one else is very fond of it so I thought just a hint of lemon would please her, but not make anyone else turn away in disgust. Truthfully, I think I should have used more lemon. However, I had an issue with my "zester" (which was actually just a box cheese grater that did NOT work and had to send my husband to Target to buy an actual zester) and only had one lemon left to zest after I mangled the first one. Plus, I didn't include the lemon extract the recipe calls for because I didn't want the lemon to be too powerful. Next time I'll do more lemon zest for sure. But the cake was very light, very moist and very good. The color was pure white (pretend you can see that in the picture!) and looked very pretty against the pretty pink frosting.

Mom, I hope you enjoyed your birthday cake. Next year I'll perfect the amount of lemon in it so you can actually taste it. Happy Birthday Mom!! You're the best!

Vanilla Lemon Cake with Raspberry Buttercream
(original recipe found here at My Baking Addiction)

Cake Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract (I left this out, which is why I was missing some lemon flavor)

Cake How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch round pans with baking cooking spray.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in your mixer/ large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter evenly between the two round pans.
Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch.

Let cool in pans 10 minutes than carefully remove. Let cool completely on wire rack or parchment paper.

Raspberry Buttercream Ingredients
1/2 cup raspberries (blended into a puree and pushed through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds)
1 stick salted butter – room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of raspberry extract
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar (I probably didn't use this much as I like to add until I like the taste so it doesn't get too sweet)
2-4 tablespoons very cold milk (add until you reach desired consistency)

Buttercream How To:
Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add extracts and raspberry puree and combine well.
Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk… one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.

Frost the cake as desired and enjoy!

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