Friday, May 15, 2009
It's spring. Outdoor birthday parties are in order. If you're a guy, being able to make a perfect cake is a great talent. If it won't get you laid, at least it will get you cute smiles and interest.
The first thing you need are the proper kitchen utensils and appliances. I prefer an electric oven for accurate temperates. I have my oven calibrated annually at 300 degrees, since I also prefer low-heat cooking (it keeps things moist and even).
A lot of cake recipes call for rectangular pans. I hate these. For me, cake should never be cut into square shapes. I prefer it cut like a Chicago-style pizza: into triangles from the center to the edge of the circle. I use a 10" and a 12" glass baking pan. I don't care for non-stick, but any baking pan will do.
10" round baking pan
1 large mixing bowl
1 medium mixing bowl
1 small mixing bowl
Measuring cups: 1 cup, 1/4 cup, 1/8 cup, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon
Large glass measuring cup
Electric mixer (two-prong style)
One hour egg timer
Round serving dish, 12"
Pick up the following ingredients from your grocer. Brand names don't matter
2 lemons for juicing
1 Kiwi for juicing (if available)
4 medium bananas, ripe
Bag of pistachios, shelled (any size)
Sack of flour (at least 4 cups)
Box of Baking Soda
Spice container of vanilla extract (NOT artificial)
Parcel of salt
Sugar (at least 4 cups)
Package of icing sugar (4 cups is fine)
Carton of large eggs (half-dozen is fine)
Box of butter (at least 2 cups)
Pail of buttermilk (16 ounces is fine)
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, full fat
1. Pre-heat your calibrated oven to 275 degrees. Yes, it's low, but it's perfect
2. Add butter to your 10" circle baking pan. Lots of butter. You can't over do this. Then, add flour to dust it.
3. Take your 4 bananas and peel and slice up so you have 1 1/2 cups total. Mash these up nicely in the small mixing bowl. Smooth is fine, but a few tiny chunks is great.
4. Squeeze your lemons to make 2 teaspoons of juice. Squeeze your kiwi to make 1 teaspoon of juice. Add this juice to your mashed banana mixture and blend nicely.
5. Take 3 cups of flour and add it to the medium mixing bowl. Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda as well as 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Blend these nicely in their own bowl.
6. In your large bowl, add 3/4 cup of butter and mash it up so it is creamy. Slowly add in a total of 2 1/8 cup of sugar, blending it slowly until it is fluffy.
7. Slowly beat in 3 large eggs (yolk and whites) into the large bowl mixture. After you've mixed and beaten it all together, add in 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.
8. Measure 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk into a measuring cup. Pour a little bit of the buttermilk into the large bowl, then pour a little bit of your flour, baking soda and salt mixture. Blend it nicely, then repeat between the buttermilk and the flour mixture until both are gone.
9. Mix in the banana bowl into the large bowl and blend until it is mixed completely.
10. Pour the entire mixture into your buttered and floured round baking pan. Bake it in the oven for EXACTLY one hour, but check about 10 minutes ahead of time. To check a cake, place a toothpick into it and see if it comes out clean. If it does, it's finished. Don't overcook!
11. While the cake is baking, CLEAN EVERYTHING. No one likes a messy kitchen. If you have time to kill, read this website but pay attention to the egg timer.
12. Once the cake portion is finished, remove it carefully and place it in the freezer for exactly one hour.
13. To make the frosting, take 1/2 cup of butter and the 8 ounce package of cream cheese and mix them together in your CLEAN medium bowl until they are creamy.
14. Mix in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a tiny bit of kiwi juice (1/2 teaspoon is fine).
15. Add 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar to the mixture. Blend it all on LOW SPEED with your electric mixer. Be careful, it's sticky but can get messy. Once it is all combined, blend at HIGH SPEED until it is silky smooth. Again, be careful.
16. If you want a nice colorful touch, add a few pieces of kiwi to the creamy icing. Not huge chunks but little ones. This takes practice, but the kiwi gives the eater a nice surprise flavor.
17. Once the cake has been in the freezer for an hour, take it out and let it unfreeze. It could be very fast, so watch for it. Pop it out of the pan onto a nice round serving dish (12" is fine).
18. Add the icing using an icing spreader, covering the entire cake.
19. Once the icing settles well (just a few minutes), sprinkle some CHOPPED fine pistachios on top.
20. Serve to your friends and make them love you forever.