Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pink Lady Cake

I had seen this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, several months ago. It's exceedingly rare that I have the occasion to make a layer cake unless I want Michael and myself to eat the whole thing (which wouldn't be an entirely bad thing).

Despite the fact that it is a ginormous cake, what with the three layers, it was not difficult to make. The cream cheese frosting, while not the best frosting to use if you want your cake to look flawless, complemented the flavor of the cake very well. And the cake was delicious. The strawberry flavor was very pronounced. Like the original poster, I used frozen (thawed) strawberries. I also used two colors of food dye - pink and red (Wilton gel) - to make the cake match its name.

The cake is very dense, which was fine unless you're a pig like me and would like a large slice. Between the height of the cake and its denseness, thin slices will go a long way, which is excellent if you're cooking for a crowd.

Pink Lady Cake
4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed frozen strawberries
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food dye, if using (to make the pink color pop more)
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.

In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the atter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorperate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Frost and assemble the cake. Place one cake layer on a cake board or platter. Tucking scraps of waxed paper under the edges of the cake will protect the board or plate from any mess created while frosting the cake. Spread about 2/3 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it to the edge. Repeat with the second layer. Add the top layer and frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, reserving a small amount if you wish to tint it and pipe a decoration on the cake. If not, you can decorate the cake top with thinly-sliced strawberries. Remove the waxed strips to reveal and neat, clean cake board.

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