April 27, 2011

Cranberry Obsession Snow Cake

Sorry I haven't posted in a little while.  My mom was visiting from Oregon.  We made stuff.  A lot of stuff.  Here's one of what we made.

This was by far the most steps I've gone though to make a cake.  Here's the low down.  It is a spectacle.  It's really a show piece.  Fun to have tried, but I don't think I would make it again.  Don't get me wrong, there are aspects of the cake I might repeat.  The cake itself was very dense, and had a wonderful vanilla flavor.  The cranberry middle was delish.  The white chocolate curls on top, to die for.  The frosting....wasn't what I expected.  It was called a buttercream but it was unlike any buttercream I've made in the past.  There was no confectioners sugar involved.  Regular sugar yes.  I took a ton of pictures so keep reading. The frosting was very mellow, had the texture of whipped cream and tastes like vanilla with a slight hint of butter.  Just wasn't what I'm used to with buttercream.

We made this cake over a two day process.  We made the cakes one evening and let them cool over night.

The unusual steps for this batter were when you're about to add the flour, it says to add the flour in 5 batches, and after each addition you add 1/4 Cup of water.  Start with flour, and end with flour. 

I just covered these and let them cool overnight in their cake pans.

The next morning we made the cranberry filling.  Start with 3 Cups of cranberries (I used frozen - not thawed) add the sugar and preserves and 1/4 Cup water.  Heat over high heat until the cranberries begin to pop.

This is after the cranberries have started popping.

Now add in 3/4 C. of whole cranberries and then let cool.

Now, for the strange buttercream frosting. :)  Start by putting 1 inch of water in a 2 quart sauce pan and bring to a simmer over low heat.  Put egg whites, salt and sugar in a bowl and place on the simmering water.  I used my kitchen aid metal mixing bowl so I could then move it right over to the mixer after this step.  Whisk constantly until hot to the touch.  About 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Mix the egg whites on high speed until tripled in volume and side of bowl is cool to the touch. About 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put another bowl over the same pot of simmering water - with the heat off.  chop 4 oz. of good white chocolate and melt slowly, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat when melted and let cool to room temperature.

Once the egg whites are cool to the touch start adding the butter, a little at a time.  Reduce the speed to low and mix until smooth and fluffy.  About 10 minutes.

It's been 10 minutes.

Time to add in the melted chocolate.

Fold the chocolate in by hand using a spatula. Now, you're finally done with the buttercream.

Now, scrape off the golden color from the cakes.  My mom did this for me. :) Apparently this is how you get a pure white cake!

Place one cake layer on your cake stand.  I put some waxed paper around it so that I could easily pull it out once it was assembled.  Pile on the cranberry filling, leaving about a 1/2 inch border around the edge.

Now, place the second layer on top. 

Begin to frost it by only putting a thin layer on it just to cover it. 

Now put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  This will keep the crumbs off of the final layer of frosting.

Add the additional frosting now.  I didn't use all the frosting I had, just try to make it even.

Use a vegetable peeler to grate chocolate curls onto the top. 

Slowly pull the wax paper out from under the cake.  Now you have a nice clean cake stand.

Now, you're finally done.  Doesn't it look beautiful?

Sorry for the bad lighting, it was sunset at this point.  I'm glad I made this cake, I feel really good about it.  I think it turned out exactly as it was supposed to. 

We found this recipe from the December 2008 Sunset magazine.  It was the cover shot.

10 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans.
3 1/2 cups cake flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
7 large egg whites, at room temperature

Cranberry Filling:
3 3/4 cups cranberries, divided
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups cranberry or cherry preserves

5 large egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
12 oz. white chocolate (bars or a block, not chips), divided
1 lb. unsalted butter, cut into pieces at room temperature

1/2 cup colorless liqueur such as creme de cacao or kirsch (We had Kirsch on hand but did not assemble the cake with it so that my daughter could have some.  If anyone wanted it we put it on the individual slices).
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter two 9 inch cake pans.  I used cooking spray and it worked fine.

For the cake: In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together on low speed until light and fluffy.  Add egg whites in 3 batches, scraping inside of bowl as needed.  Beat in flour mixture in 5 batches, adding 1/4 cup water after each addition.  You will begin and end with flour.  Make sure the flour is completely blended before adding the water.  Pour the batter into the cake pans; making sure each has the same amount.  Smooth the tops.

Bake until the center is done, using a toothpick to test.  Takes about 40 minutes.  Cool completely on a cooling rack.  I didn't have any problems getting these to come out cleanly.

Cranberry filling: Put 3 cups of cranberries, the sugar, preserves and 1/4 water into a saucepan and cook over high heat until the cranberries begin to pop, about 5 - 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.  Transfer to a bowl, add the remaining 3/4 cup of cranberries and chill until ready to use.

Buttercream: Fill a 2 quart sauce pan with an inch of water and heat over low heat.  In a separate bowl put the egg whites, salt, and sugar and whisk together.  Place this bowl on top of the pan of simmering water and heat until hot to the touch.  Keep whisking constantly.  About 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Put the bowl of warm egg whites in a bowl for your mixer and whisk on high speed until tripled in volume and the side of the bowl is cool to the touch.  About 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop 4 oz of chocolate and place in a bowl over the simmering water you just used.  Stir until it melts and then remove from the heat.  Let cool to room temperature.

Once the egg whites are cool to the touch, reduce the mixer speed to low and start to add the butter a little at a time.  Keep mixing for about 10 minutes. 

With a rubber spatula add the melted chocolate and fold in gently. 

To assemble: Rub the tops of the cake to remove the golden brown layer and reveal the white cake beneath.  Place one cake on a cake stand. Use wax paper on the bottom of the cake stand, just beneath the edges of the cake for easier clean-up. Pour the cooled cranberry filling onto the cake, leaving about 1/2 an inch of space around the edges. Top with the second cake and press down slightly.  Put a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  This will help keep the crumbs from spreading onto the final layer of frosting.

Once chilled, add additional frosting all over the cake, making it as even as possible.  Now use a vegetable peeler to grate the remaining white chocolate bars into curls on top of the cake.  Now remove the wax paper from under the cake.  This cake is best served at room temperature.

Serves 16
Takes about 2 1/4 hours, plus cooking time.

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