Since I've never made much of a mention of my 1st and 2nd years of blogging, I decided that I would bake a cake for my 200th post! It's kind of cool to think that I've been blogging this long, and that with all the breaks I've come back and stayed with it. The food blogging community is really great and I've learned quite a bit about cooking and baking just from reading all the different posts from everyone. You guys are also some of the most hilarious people out there!
Brown butter layer cake with light and airy chocolate buttercream
While I originally planned on baking the yellow cake from a Nick Malgieri, the technique of beating the cake for 3 minutes at the end reminded me of a cake recipe from The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook I got as a birthday gift last year. The difference is the use of melted butter instead of beating the butter and sugar together, thus creating a denser cake, but I figured that it'd still be rather light and not hockey puck-ish. And I'm lazy, melting butter takes less time than letting it come to room temperature.
The key to a perfectly decorated cake is a crumb coat
Called Anne's Liniment Cake, readers of the Anne of Green Gables will remember that the Reverend and Mrs. Allan were coming over to the Cuthbert's house for dinner and Anne begged Marilla to let her make a cake for Mrs. Allan, whom she adored.
While Anne was wont to daydream and ruin many attempts at baking, she maintained her focus from start to finish and produced a lovely layer cake that did justice to anyone cooking in Marilla's kitchen.
Dinner came and went, and while everyone was stuffed from the many delicacies of Marilla's table, Mrs. Allan, once realizing that Anne had baked the cake just for her, was pleased to have a slice. Unfortunately, Anne's first few years at Green Gables were pegged with Charlie Brown cases in the sense that the football was always being removed just as she was about to kick it. Instead of vanilla extract, Anne had mistakenly used anodyne liniment. The liniment bottle broke and Marilla poured the remains into an empty vanilla extract bottle.
So, this cake is titled in honor of Anne, using vanilla extract in the place of liniment.
Since the butter in this recipe is melted, I went ahead and decided to brown the butter, letting it cool a bit afterward, and using buttermilk in place of the regular milk. There is no baking soda present, though there isn't any in Dorie's Perfect Party Cake either and I figured it would be fine. More on this later.
The batter tasted wonderfully, as brown butter and vanilla are compatible flavors, and the batter was thick and fluffy. I felt very good about this cake.
It's a really pretty cake, and the layers baked up dense and sturdy, easy to move around, though lacking the dry, sawdust feel you get from cakes that are dense. The downside, however, was that it came out tasteless. How brown butter and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract could translate into flavorless, we have no idea! Maybe I should have added a bit of cardamom, or maybe the buttermilk canceled out the flavors since the Perfect Party Cake does have lemon zest and extract, though it's optional so I'm deciding that it had nothing to do with buttermilk. Perplexing, to be sure. I'll post the recipe anyway and if you have any tips, perhaps a sugar syrup spread on the layers, or anything reason you can think of that explains what happened, let me know.
This really didn't stop anyone from eating the cake, as it still tasted good even if rather flavorless, and it just made the chocolate buttercream stand out more. The buttercream is a simple butter-shortening, Wilton-standby that's easily whipped up on a moment's notice.
So, Happy 200th Post to me, and to everyone who's been reading this blog!
P.S. Blogger says I have only 200 posts published, yet I have a total of 201 posts. Whatever the reason may be, this is the 200th post because it has cake.
Anne's Liniment Cake
From The Anne of Green Gable Cookbook by Kate Macdonald
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup melted butter (I browned the butter)
1 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Chocolate buttercream, using a total of 1/3 cup milk
- Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans (I greased the pans, lined with wax paper, then greased the wax paper and dusted with flour). Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Measure out the sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and whisk together in a large bowl.
- Add the melted butter and the milk to the flour mixture and beat the mixture for 1 minute with an electric mixer, scraping down the sides of a bowl with a spatula.
- Add the eggs with the vanilla to the cake batter, then beat with the mixer for another 3 minutes, constantly scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Pour the cake batter evenly into the two cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Test the cakes with a toothpick, or press lightly on the top; the toothpick should come out clean, or the tops will have a bit of resistance when pressed.
- Let cool, in pans, on wire rack for ten minutes. Slice the blade of a butter knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the pans. Turn cakes out on wire rack. Let cool completely before icing.