Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cake Boss

Every Thursday there is a farmer’s market across the street from my office building.
There is an array of fruit, vegetable and flower vendors, as well as ethnic eateries.
Every Thursday for the past 4 years of working at my company my boss purchases his weekly cupcake from the Blue Cupcake stand.

I agree with my boss, that Blue Cupcake makes the best cupcakes I have ever tasted! Her creations and flavors out weigh those of the mogul cupcake shops, such as Crumbs and Sprinkles! (sorry guys!)
My boss takes his Blue Cupcake Thursday’s very seriously; if he is not here on a Thursday either I or my other co-workers are required to pick up his favorite cupcake for him, so he may have it upon his return! His favorite is their strawberry cupcake.
Last year for his birthday the office pitched in and had Julie (the owner) of Blue Cupcake make my boss a giant strawberry cake!
This year however, since I have taken up baking as a hobby, and sadly enough, Blue Cupcake is moving to Colorado (my boss is so distraught!) I took it upon myself to bake him my own special creation for his birthday cake.
I don’t think I will ever try to imitate the cake of this decadent strawberry cupcake. It is just too moist and perfect, and I know anything I ever attempt to make or try, will be a disappointment.
Therefore, knowing that he loves the light texture and flavor of her cake - I decided to make a light fluffy lemon cake and incorporate a strawberry buttercream frosting!

I adapted a lemon cake from a lemon layer cake with lemon cream frosting from the blog: The Virtual Goody Plate…and created the strawberry frosting, using a standard vanilla buttercream recipe!
This cake is perfect for summer, and my boss and his family really enjoyed it!

Lemon Layer Cake
2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
* I added 1 tablespoon of vanilla (because who doesn’t like vanilla in their cake!?)
* I also added 2 tblsp. lemon zest!

* I actually had to make this twice in order to have two round cake pans worth. Maybe it is just me…because the picture I adapted this recipe from sure as heck displayed a “layered cake”; but as I poured the batter, it only filled one pan.
So maybe if you prefer, simply double the recipe…or make it twice like be safe…maybe you will have more batter than I had for the first round!

1. Preheat oven to 375. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line bottoms of each with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.
2. To make cake, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. (and lemon zest-optional).  In a separate bowl stir together milk and lemon juice (mixture will curdle and that's a good thing.)..also add vanilla extract here-optional!
3. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour, mixing at low speed until just combined.
4. Divide batter between pans, smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.

Strawberry Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup butter, softened
1 tbl. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
5-8 cups powdered sugar
1 cup of fresh strawberries, chopped

Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with strawberries, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.

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