Because the reality of this frosting is that it is incredibly delicious and luxuriously creamy, but fat free. Compared to most frostings, this one is actually not completely horrible for your health, even though it is so decadent tasting. Still, while there were oooooh’s and aaaaah’s at the table, the consensus was that the girls and S like my mom’s orange buttercream frosting better (the kind with butter and powdered sugar). Nonetheless, the plates were practically licked clean. And, the cake was so darn dramatic looking.
I made a few changes to my usual yellow cake, which is adapted from the Magnolia Bakery recipe for vanilla cupcakes. We were unified in our delight with the changes. The cake was more tender and moist because I added some acid. I was inspired by the chocolate cupcakes that I made a couple of weeks ago – they have apple cider vinegar in them. Those cupcakes are incredibly tender and yet sturdy, with a delicious crumb. So, I added apple cider vinegar with the milk in the recipe for vanilla cupcakes and substituted some baking soda for baking powder to react with the acid.
S’s birthday dinner was a huge success. Grandma and WG loved the petrale sole meuniere, spinach, potatoes and green bean salad. L & J are very into green bean salad at the moment – so much so that they have asked for leftovers as a snack.
Green Bean Salad
Blanched green beans, cooled
Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Vinaigrette (In a jar, combine 1 part vinegar, 2 parts olive oil, spoonful of dijon mustard, spoonful of chopped shallot, salt and pepper. Shake well.)
Toss beans, tomatoes, shallots and vinaigrette together. Let sit for about an hour or more.
Vanilla Yellow Cake
adapted from Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcake
makes 2 6-inch layers (double recipe to make 8-9-inch layers)
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 6-inch cake pans.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, abou 5 minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure that all of the butter/sugar mixture is well combined with the eggs. Beat until very fluffy, about a minute more. Combine the milk, apple cider and vanilla extract together. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture in about 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour (i.e. flour, milk, flour, milk, flour, milk, flour), until combined. Do not overmix the batter.
Spread the batter evenly in the 2 prepared cake pans. Put in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are lightly browned and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans. Complete the cooling on a cooling rack.
adapted from multiple sources
1 1/4 cups brown sugar (I used regular dark brown sugar, I tried with an organic variety but found the flavor too strong)
1/4 cup water
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl (metal bowl) over a pan of simmering water. Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Beat the mixture, with a hand blender, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer (about 4-5 minutes). Remove the bowl to the counter top and continue to beat the mixture, at medium high-high speed, until the frosting hold stiff peaks and has cooled down, about 3 minutes more.
This makes more frosting than you need for the cake! You can make meringue cookies with the leftovers….or just eat it by the spoonful. So good.