Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spring Cake

photo courtesy of Bon Appetit

This was the first cake my daughter and I made together. Well, she was actually in a papoose at the time as I whipped around the kitchen mixing everything. But that was the start of our many baking memories. Time graduated her from papoose to kitchen chair, to stool to free standing. Now she barely needs my help to whip up dinner for the family; shooing me away from her creations under lidded pots until the final reveal.

I think back to those first moments in the kitchen; my little assistant keeping me company while I went about the task of creating sweet smells and tastes. I can still picture Samantha with her intense, deeply concentrated stare as her eyes fixated on a tiny chocolate chip resting on the counter. It challenged her chubby little fingers' fine motor skills as her diapered bottom wiggled to and fro while she tried to keep her balance.

That tiny chocolate chip eventually made its way into the dough after her unrelenting effort. As she rewarded herself with smiles and claps, I knew it was no longer my kitchen. It now belonged to the both of us. Since then, that room in our home has seen many culinary inventions. Some tasty, others horrible, and others that -- through the mysteries of childhood mayhem -- end up on the ceiling. Time will work its magic again one day and graduate Sam to her own home in her own kitchen. But for now, I am more than happy to share my apron strings.

Even as her grasp of them slowly releases.

Strawberry Basket Cake

Bon Appetit Magazine Spring 1999 Edition
note: this cake is now my go-to cake recipe for any occasion that requires a white cake mix. You'll never go back...
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in sour cream, orange juice, orange peel and vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients and beat until well blended. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops.

Bake cakes until light golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 30 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.

Meanwhile, hull and slice 1 basket strawberries. Place in medium bowl. Add preserves and 2 tablespoons sugar; toss to blend. Let stand at room temperature until juices form, about 2 hours.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Top with sliced berry mixture in even layer. Spread 1 3/4 cups Whipped Crème Fraîche over berry mixture. Top with second cake layer, flat side down, pressing slightly. To make basket weave, spread 1 1/4 cups Whipped Crème Fraîche over top and sides of cake; then follow directions in the box at right. Or to frost simply, spread all of Whipped Crème Fraîche over top and sides of cake. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Mound remaining whole berries in center of cake.

Ice With Creme Fraiche:

  • 3 cups chilled whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup chilled sour cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat all ingredients until soft peaks form.

1 comment:

  1. Aw Trace - that is just so precious:-) Love it! Reminds me of Hannah and I as well...baking, creating :-) wonderful


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