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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sassy Cake

 This was one of the cakes I made for Dessert Club this month.  I got Warren Brown's cookbook from the library and wanted to give some of his recipes a go.  I don't love the stuff from Cake Love shops, but I was curious.  It was fun to make, and tasted pretty good - hello, cayenne and mango!, but it was kind of involved, and by the time I'd finished it, I didn't really feel like eating it. 

Kind of like this post.  I spent my entire Sunday afternoon just getting the recipe typed up.  So now that it's time to do the fun part - writing the blog post - I kind of don't feel like it.  But I did do the work.  So you get the post.

Sassy Cake (print recipe)
11 ounces all-purpose flour
1 T potato starch
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1/2 cup mango puree (recipe below)
1 cup sour cream
2 T fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp pure orange oil (if you can find it) OR 1 tsp orange extract

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
21 ounces extra-fine granulated sugar
1 T orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
 1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Set the rack in the middle.

2.  Weigh/measure the dry ingredients (flour, potato starch, salt, baking soda, pepper) into a mixing bowl and whisk to blend.  In a separate bowl, combine the liquid ingredients (mango puree, sour cream, orange juice, orange oil) and whisk to combine.

3.  In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar and orange zest on the lowest speed for 3 to 4 minutes.  The acids from the orange zest will break down the sugar and the creamed mixture will appear a little wet.

4.  With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the two yolks, fully incorporating after each addition.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.

5.  Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture.  Move swiftly through this step to avoid overworking the batter.  Don't wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next.  This step should take a total of about 60 seconds.

6.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides.  Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter's structure.

7.  Prepare the pan.  Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick spray.  Fill it about three-quarters full by depositing the batter with the rubber spatula in small clumps around the prepared pan instead of by pouring it into one spot.  Level the batter with the rubber spatula.  Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the top doesn't jiggle, and test for doneness using a bamboo skewer or cake tester - there should be just a touch of crumbs.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes.  Invert onto a flat surface and allow to cool to room temperature.

Mango Puree
1 ripe mango
1/4 cup extra-fine granulated sugar

1.  Cut the flesh of the mango into even-sized pieces and combine with sugar in a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan.

2.  Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over low to medium heat and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Strain the syrup and reserve for another use.

3.  Place the cooked fruit in the bowl of a food processor and puree until totally smooth, 1 minute.

4.  Transfer the puree to an airtight container.  Refrigerate until needed, up to 10 days.


You can serve this cake dusted with powdered sugar, adorned with Apricot Preserve Glaze, or sliced horizontally and filled with Orange Italian Meringue Buttercream.  The choice is yours.

Apricot Preserve Glaze

1/2 cup apricot preserves
3 T confectioners' sugar
1 T cold water

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Place the cake on an oven-safe plate.

2.  Heat the preserves in a saucepan over low heat until the preserves liquify, about 3 to 4 minutes.

3.  Transfer the heated preserves to a sieve placed over a bowl and press with a rubber spatula to separate the liquid from the solids. 

4.  Brush a light coat of the warm preserve liquid onto the cake with a pastry brush.

5.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and lightly brush the mixture onto the preserve-coated cake.

6.  Bake for 5 minutes to seal in the glaze.  Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before serving.

Orange Italian Meringue Buttercream (you only need HALF this recipe to fill the Sassy cake)
5 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups extra-fine granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold water
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tsp pure orange oil or extract

1.  Measure 1 cup sugar and the water into a 1-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Gently stir to combine.  Measure the remaining sugar into a small bowl and set aside.  Cut the butter into Tablespoon-sized pieces and set aside. 

2.  Place a candy thermometer in the saucepan and heat the mixture over medium-high heat.  Partially cover with a lid to capture the evaporating water - this helps to moisten the sides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

3.  With the mixer on high speed, begin whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks.  When the peaks are stiff, you have a meringue.

4.  Keep the mixer running and pour the 1/4 cup of sugar into the meringue.  Raise the heat under the sugar syrup to bring the syrup to 245 degrees Farenheit, if it is not there already.  When it is at 245, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue.

5.  After 1 to 2 minutes reduce the mixer speed to medium for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meringue is cooled.  Add the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time.  Increase the mixer speed to high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated.  Mix in the orange oil/extract.

Recipes adapted from Cake Love: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch by Warren Brown

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