Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Flowers in a Basket

The last weekend was manic. First of all my placement in Somerset has come to an end and as with any placement, it meant I had deadlines to meet. The presentation went well in my opinion, and I don’t think I could’ve done anything differently. I was glad that I went with a Sexual Health topic since no one could ever get bored of it. Presentation sorted, I still had to finish off my portfolio which was due on the coming Monday. If that wasn’t enough I was also hosting a tea party for my belated birthday since I wasn’t in Bristol to celebrate with my mates two weeks back.

I came across the whipped cream cake during my usual aimless procrastination search for baking inspirations while revising for Obs and Gynae. I’m sure you’d agree me that the cake itself sounds so absolutely delicious. Strangely I had never heard of it prior to that and its recipe wasn’t particularly popular on the internet either. Being adventurous as always I decided to give it go and this is what I ended up with:
The original recipe was posted on the famous American cookbook author Rose Levy Beranbaum states that the cake should be baked in a Bundt tin. As you can clearly see in my pictures I baked mine in a normal cake pan since Bundt tins are totally out of reach for a student on a budget like myself. Plus I couldn't just spend 10quid on a cake tin which I'll only use once. Besides I already had some ideas on how to decorate my cake and I needed a round cake for that. The cake design was completely original (if I may claim so) as I've seen the basketweave and rose swirls patterns on cakes from separate sources and I thought why not combine both together so I can have flowers in a basket?

I also made a mascarpone cheese frosting for the cake and used it to pipe the rose swirls and basketweave patterns too. Overall the cake was well received although I must say the sponge, whilst tasting good, had a very dense and hard texture. I still cannot figure out the cause of that and perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I had to bake it for 2 times as long as the time stated in the recipe since I used a cake pan instead of a Bundt tin. Anyway I think I might bake them in two separate cake pans next time and increase the temperature a little to give it a bit more oven spring.

The recipe (Recipe taken from Rose's website and altered for baking in a cake pan)

The Sponge

Cake Flour, sifted (
2 1/4 cups or 225g) (you can make your own cake flour by using 45g of cornstarch mixed with 180g of all-purpose flour  
Baking powder (2 teaspoons)
Salt (3/4 teaspooon)

Heavy cream, cold (1-1/2 cups/12.3 ounces/348 grams)
3 large eggs, at room temperature (1/2 cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons/5.3 ounces/150 grams)
Pure vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
Superfine sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/8 ounces/225 grams)

Preheat oven to 190C.
Sift and mix all the dry ingredients. 
In a separate bowl beat together the eggs and vanilla extract lightly.
In a large clean bowl, whisk the double cream until stiff peaks form.
Add in the egg mixture and continue whisking.
Fold in all the dry ingredients and add food coloring if desired.
Divide the batter into two 8' cake pans. 
Bake for 30 minutes, cover the top with aluminium foil if it browns too much. 
Check the cake about 20 minutes into baking by inserting a wooden skewer into the centre of the cakes.
Let cool in the tin and turn out. Wrap the sponge in cling film and refigerate until completely cool or overnight.

Mascarpone Cheese Frosting
500g cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
1 cup/115g powdered (icing) sugar 

2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 cup/375ml heavy cream

Whisk the soft cheese with icing sugar and add in the vanilla essence.  
Whisk the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. 
Add 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and mix vigorously until fully combined.
Fold in the remaining whipped cream. 

Remove approximately 1/5th of the frosting and add in red, green and a tinge of yellow food coloring to create a dark woody green icing for the basketweave pattern. You can use any colour combination you like really. 


Frost the whole cake and make sure you have a thick layer of frosting at the top to give the cake a bit more height but save at least 2/5th for the rose swirls later.
Pipe the basketweave using the basketweave piping tip (mine was 798S, but you can use Wilton no.44, 48 etc as long as it has a flat side with jagged teeth. I notice that the naming system for piping tips is confusingly inconsistent so just google it if you're not sure. For piping instruction check out the youtube videos.

Use Wilton 1M tip (large open star nozzle) for the rose swirls.

Lastly, indulge in the ridiculously creamy yumminess. 



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