Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Birthday Cake!


Tomorrow's my husband's birthday -- his first married birthday to boot. Last year, I developed a special cake recipe just for him, incorporating all of his favorite flavors: spice, strawberry,and white chocolate, into something inspired by the local favorite, Boston Cream Pie. This year, recalling the obscene amount of cake the two of us tried to eat last July, and now having friends to share his birthday cake with, I opted for a cupcake version, and in the process, added some variety to the mix. You can try both, particularly if you enjoy a good spice cake! And yes, I use a mix.

The cake itself doesn't have a name, feel free to send in some suggestions!

Strawberry Spice Cake
Heat oven to 375

Cake:

1 White pudding cake mix
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/3 c. canola oil
4 egg whites

Grease and flour the bottoms of 2 9-inch round cake pans. Blend dry ingredients, then add oil and egg whites. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed using an electric mixer, or 3 minutes by hand. Pour into pans. Bake according to package instructions until toothpick in center comes out clean. Turn out on racks, to cool thoroughly. Then wrap layers in plastic wrap and the foil, and freeze overnight.

Filling:

16 oz. frozen sliced strawberries with sugar, thawed.
1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1 T. water

In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, warm strawberries. Blend in cornstarch solution. Keep mixture just below or at a bare simmer, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and clings to spoon, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Frosting:

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
12 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1 c. powdered sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Beat in the melted white chocolate. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat at low speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Keep at room temperature.

To assemble the cake, unwrap frozen cake layers. Place first layer flat-side down on a plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the top, and then using a pastry bag, or a sandwich bag from which you've trimmed off a corner, to pipe a 1/4 inch ring of frosting around the edge. Spread a 1/4 inch layer of strawberry filling in the middle, and place the top layer, round side down, on top. Frost cake with remaining buttercream, and garnish top with fresh strawberries.

Cake should be stored, loosely or tightly covered if not cut -- tightly covered if cut, in refrigerator. Beware of strong odors that may cross-contaminate the delicate frosting!

The cupcakes work similarly. Again, I started with a white cake mix made according to the yolk-free instructions, but this time I divided it in half, keeping half white cake, and adding 1/2 the spices listed above to the other half. Using Wilton white cupcake papers, I baked the cupcakes according to package instructions, and cooled them. Again, I made the filling, but this time I ran it through a blender to puree the bigger strawberry bits. Using a pastry bag and the rose petal tip, I pressed the tip of the bag into the top center of each cupcake, injecting enough filling that I just started to see a slight crack at the top, repeating for all cupcakes, and filling the white cakes first.

For frosting, I again opted for variety. I topped half of the white cupcakes with pre-made Sour Cream Chocolate frosting, and all remaining cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Feel free to experiment with any number of fillings! The combinations are nearly endless....

2 comments:

Ruthie said...

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Marcie said...

Happy Birthday (belated) to Matt, and I think you should name it Ginger. :-D