The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood

How-To: Host A Cake Tasting

The very mention of the word “wedding” conjures up images of tradition and ritual. There are certain elements of a wedding that are just classic; unavoidably fun and exciting moments for the bride and groom.

One of those moments and events is the ever important cake tasting. When else in life can you sit down to taste various cakes and frostings until you are stuffed to the gills?

But this classic experience is not such an easy task for the small time, home kitchen baker. How do you make so many different kinds of cakes and frostings for just a few people to take just a few bites?

Obviously the answer, for me, came in the form of pairing down to the basics. I used my classic, go-to recipes for chocolate cake and vanilla cake. By dividing my way through recipes I was able to figure out what to add to each batter (and how much) to result in two chocolate based cakes- mocha and chocolate chunk- and four vanilla based cakes- vanilla bean, red velvet, vanilla chocolate chip, and coconut.

Mini cupcakes seemed like the easy option here. No cutting or messing with too many cake pans. Single serving, easy clean up. It was a no brainer.

As for the frosting, I used my one and only buttercream frosting with the same technique. While slightly more difficult than with the cake batters, this allowed me to get the most out of a single recipe with almost zero waste.

I served the frostings seperate from the cake so my bride and groom could mix and match flavors to their hearts content! From the left you are looking at classic, chocolate, white chocolate, vanilla bean, peanut butter, coffee, and cream cheese. I definitely did not eat any extra balls of frosting… definitely. not.

And how about adding some Easter tulips to the table? Aren’t they gorgeous?!

The hardest part was the trial and error it took to get all the ingredient measurements right but beyond that it was a piece of cake (wink, wink). The girls even slept through most of the prep so there was almost no Mommy juggling involved.

No cake tastings in your future? How about my chocolate cake recipe and a buttercream to match? It’ll feel like your wedding all over again… Kind of. Ok, maybe not. But it’ll sure taste great!

The Best Chocolate Cake:
Makes 1 bunt cake, 1 9″ square, or 12 cupcakes.
Adapted from Fine Cooking

10 tablespoon salted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (7 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups coffee, cooled to warm- (espresso works well!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Line the pan with parchment or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the cake out after baking. Spray the parchment or foil with nonstick cooking spray with flour.

Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to cream them until smooth and light. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue whisking until the batter is smooth and the sugar starts to dissolve, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk to incorporate. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder over the batter then add all of the coffee. Gently whisk the batter until it is smooth and most of the lumps are gone.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Gently shake the pan to spread into an even layer. Bake for 40-42 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 20 minutes, then use the parchment or foil overhang to lift the cake from the pan.

Real Vanilla Buttercream:
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1 stick regular Crisco (not high ratio or butter flavored)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 lbs. powdered sugar
A few Tablespoons milk as needed

Cream butter and Crisco with electric mixer. Add rest of ingredients in order adding milk one tablespoon at a time until frosting is desired consistency.

This entry was published on April 11, 2012 at 2:38 am. It’s filed under Baking, Blog, The Bake Shop and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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