That’s the exclamation Corelyn and I made last night after we had baked a cake, ate dinner (which included leftovers from three meals), let the cake cool while we took a three mile one hour walk around our neighborhood (that involved lots of gabbing and laughing) and came home, iced said cake, and decorated it with fruit.
Although we HAVE worked on the PW Challenge since the last time we posted, I shall post in a timely manner about said cake, and therefore we are a little out of order. Bear with us.
First off, I used Ina Garten’s recipe (you know her as the Barefoot Contessa, if you know her at all.) I also consulted with my sorella, as she has made said cake before, and knows the way of the cake. I also double checked with Corelyn to make sure she was on board. This was the conversation (for real, I took it from gchat.)
This is why we are friends: because Corelyn agrees to something before she knows what it is.
Problems, you ask? I know, I know, we usually have none. But I didn’t consult Corelyn before I went grocery shopping, and this resulted in a “whoops”: I read the words “2 half-pints of blueberries” and read in my mind, “2 and a half pints of blueberries.” Now, I don’t know that this is really my fault. Why wouldn’t you say “1 pint of blueberries” ESPECIALLY if you are sure that not everyone gets their berries from said grocery store that sells them in half-pints? I, therefore, came home with 2 and a half pints of blueberries and 2 and a half pints of raspberries, and a container of strawberries JUST IN CASE.
Well, the raspberry count ended up being dead on, so I can’t complain there, but that’s for later in the post.
The second problem I encountered was that I couldn’t find confectioner’s sugar at Trader Joe’s. Dear TJ’s, please expand your baking section. I must say though, they recently got bigger bags of sugar so I can actually get my sugar there, so something tells me they’re listening to my good-pleasegetbakingsupply-vibes I am sending over the airways…I had to stop at Target to find a non-existent beach umbrella (which still doesn’t exist) but Target DID have powdered sugar, so trip not wasted.
Meanwhile, after arriving home, Corelyn and I began the cake process.
First step: You take 18 tablespoons of butter and you throw them in a bowl. You cringe just a little. Then you put three cups of sugar on top (or a little less/more, depending on if your sugar is clumpy and you by accident pour too much in one cup and less in the next, hoping it’ll even out.)
Cream it. With your electric mixer. I hate my mixer, because it flings whatever I am making everywhere, and it’s lowest speed is 1 million miles per hour, but you should use your mixer anyways, even if you hate it.
Then after you cream for a bit, you’re going to add some eggs. Two at a time, those eggs, mix, and repeat. Once your six eggs (what a good omelet amount, gone into the netherworld that is this cake) are in there you’re going to add a cup of sour cream. It’s delicious, I swear. Mix, and add some vanilla (I never measure it, but you can if you want. 1 and 1/2 teaspoons.)
MMM, Sour cream. Yes, yes…
Then you use a separate bowl, and you put some flour in there (3 cups, and yes, use all-purpose, even if you secretly hate all-purpose and usually just use white-wheat.) Also cornstarch (1/3 cup) and some kosher salt (buy kosher salt, you need it. 1 teaspoon), and 1 teaspoon baking soda.
Then after you mix that dry ingredient bowl a couple times, you’re going to start incorporating the flour business with the sugary butter business. Add a little at a time, mixing as you go.
After you’ve combined it all, you have a cake (batter.)
Thus came our problem two: my sheet pans were not big/deep enough. I decided this was fine, however, and we made two, one smaller than the other, and then made a two-layered cake. I decided this would have to work.
Isn’t she pretty? So focused…
Now you put them in your already hot 350 degree oven, for like 25-30 minutes.
Cake = done.
Now here is the hard part. You have to let the cake cool for at least an hour. Corelyn and I are not patient, and so we took a walk around the neighborhood to keep away from the temptation to ice before the cake was ready. This is even HARDER because you leave the cake in the pan, and that, my friends, is just ASKING for frosting.
Icing: here we go.
Take a pound of butter and dump it in a bowl.
Use unsalted butter, please, when baking. Actually, you should always use unsalted butter because then you can control the salt you add to a dish. But hey, that’s just me on my soapbox.
Now you add a pound and a half of cream cheese. I used whipped, but you can use a block, whatever.
Because the frosting was too good to be true, you don’t get a shot of it done, but what finishes it is a teaspoon of vanilla and a pound of powdered sugar. So there.
Don’t they look great?
Berries for the flag…
Corelyn got a little OCD on me, and needed to do perfect blueberries, which was just fine with me, as I secretly didn’t want to do the blueberries because I was worried she’d redo them.
I would like to point out at this step in the process, we had to stop and consult the United States flag. Barefoot Contessa’s picture looks like this:
Note that she has four red stripes, and that she piped, indicating she has a pastry bag. I do not have a pastry bag. I also do not have tips. I also do not believe in gestures to the United States flag, as I am a history nerd. So we looked up the flag, to remind ourselves of which stripe starts and ends the cakes. The answer?
Red stripe, end with red stripe. And so, that’s what we did…(Corelyn is OCD about blueberries, and I am OCD about history facts. What can you do?)
Here we are. Pre-extra frosting. Six stripes of red, five of white. Nearly a real American flag. Well done, us.
Piping without a pastry bag? No problem.
Corelyn: I think I should practice.
Corelyn: I’ve decided I’m not going to practice.
Jennie: Good. I didn’t want you to, anyways.
Corelyn pulling out the piping skills…she has grown so much as someone who doesn’t often bake to someone who frequently bakes, because I make her. Excellent.
Greasy hands from butter-cream cheese frosting.
Perfect fridge? One with a flag cake, veggies, and Sam Summer. Excellent way to be heading to a long weekend…