Monday, September 19, 2011

Raspberry Cream Cake

Since I have become much more comfortable with chiffon cake in the last year and have been disappointed with the bakeries in my area lately, I decided to make my own birthday cake this year. I've also bean meaning to get more mileage out of my newly acquired cake pans which have thus far only been used to make the relatively tall chocolate cake, not to mention it's also fun to make your own cake. I still have not gotten to Christina Tosi's banana cake yet but I do hope to when I feel up to making another cake soon.

Back to my birthday cake, I love fresh fruit cakes with whipped cream and princess cake, so I decided to come up with a cake that combines elements of both. Typically, princess cake is composed of layers of genoise with raspberry jam, kirsch custard, whipped cream, and a layer of marzipan covering the entire thing. Since I'm not a fan of kirsch or marzipan, I decided to make a cake consisting of genoise, raspberry jam, vanilla pastry cream, raspberries, and whipped cream.

Overall, the cake turned out much better than expected, but I could have taken out even more sugar in each of the components and reduced the amount of vanilla slightly. The recipe below reflects these adjustments. I will probably try a white cake next time and add more jam so the flavor comes through more. I decorated the cake the same way I decorated the chocolate cake last time simply because I wasn't really sure what I could do otherwise and was too lazy to do much to it.

Raspberry Cream Cake with Pastry Cream and Jam
Adapted from Martha Stewart

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more, softened, for pans
6 extra large eggs, room temp, separated
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups cake flour, sifted
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, butter the bottoms of two 8 in cake pans, line with parchment paper, set aside

Whisk egg yolks in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water with 3/4 cup sugar until sugar is melted and eggs are warm, remove from heat. Add vanilla and salt, then beat 3-4 minutes until pale and thick ribbons fall from the whisk.

In another clean bowl or in your stand mixer, whip egg whites at high speed until soft peaks, then gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar while beating until it reaches stiff, glossy peaks. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten. Then fold the remaining whites into the mixture being careful not to deflate them. Fold in cake flour, then butter carefully.

Divide the batter among the pans, bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes. If not using  nonstick pans and cake is securely attached to the pan, invert onto a cooling rack and let cool this way so the cake doesn't deflate. Otherwise, simply let cool until ready to assemble.

Pastry Cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 of a vanilla bean, scraped
1/8 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch of salt

Whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar in a bowl. Meanwhile, heat milk and vanilla bean with the scraped seeds and salt in a pot until simmering. Mix half a cup of milk into yolks while whisking. Pour egg yolk mixture back into pot and heat while whisking until it thickens. Pour the pastry cream over a strainer into a bowl, mix in tablespoon of butter. Cover with plastic wrap with plastic wrap on the surface of the pastry cream so a skin doesn't form. Let cool for about 2 hours.

Stabilized Whipped Cream
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp of unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp water/pomegranate or cranberry juice
1/2 cup sugar
A drop of red food coloring(optional)
Pour water/juice into a small pot, sprinkle gelatin over. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, beat cream and sugar until very soft peaks. Heat gelatin until it dissolves. Pour gelatin mixture into the softly whipped cream and continue to beat until soft peaks.Mix in food coloring if desired.
To assemble:
Raspberry Jam, seedless
Pastry Cream, cooled and mixed to loosen
Whipped Cream
Cakes, cooled and sliced into layers
Level cakes if necessary and cut each cake into two layers. Lay bottom layer of one cake down onto cake pedestal or plate. Spread a layer of raspberry jam onto the cake, top with half the pastry cream. Lay top layer of the cake on top.
Spread with another layer of jam, then a layer of whipped cream. Cover in berries, top with another thin layer of whipped cream, and the top layer of the other cake flipped over. Spread another layer of jam, the remaining pastry cream, and top with final layer of cake. Frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate with raspberries. Refrigerate to set up for 1-4 hours before serving.

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