Learning 2 Bake, from Scratch – VII

The cake from Part VI is not very good. There is a “Classic Birthday Cake” recipe on the back of the King Arthur flour box, which looks like “white cake”, which was the point of trying the Snow Cake. I think it is safe to assume that is a well tested recipe.

Classic Birthday Cake

From: Mark
Source: King Arthur box

2 cups (241g) King Arthur Cake Flour [surprise!]
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
2 cups (397g) granulated sugar
1 Tbl (14g) vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 cup (227g) milk; whole milk preferred
4 Tbl (57g) butter; cut into pieces
1/3 cup (67g) vegetable oil

I’ll skip the instructions, except to note that the eggs are not separated and creaming the butter and sugar is a “thing”, rather than treating the sugar as another dry ingredient to be added later (which occurred to me AFTER I had sifted the flour on top of the sugar in Part VI).

To get a side-by-side (or top-to-bottom) comparison, here’s the Snow Cake recipe:

1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 egg whites (beaten stiff)

The proportions are significantly different. The birthday is about twice the snow. For the obvious differences, I’m going to guess that the oil and salt make for a fluffier cake, while the whole egg and extracts make it “better than pancake” tasting.

Even though the grape syrup has very little grape flavor remaining, I still have lots, so it will suffice for attempting an “add not-extract flavor” frosting – without marshmallows. So, let us deconstruct a marshmallow.

Homemade Marshmallows

From: Mark
Source: foodnetwork.com

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice cold water, divided
12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

I was right: They are basically fondant.

  • We will not need the gelatin because we do not want a solid.
  • We will not need the corn syrup, since we’ll be making our own syrup.
  • I have no idea why there is salt in this, but it’s not much, so what the heck.
  • We don’t want the vanilla because we’re going to flavor the syrup.
  • The confectioners’ sugar/cornstarch ratio is WAY off a fondant (much more cornstarch).

To merge with this simple frosting, which was a near-perfect quantity and texture:

Boil together ¾ of a cup of sugar and 4 tablespoonfuls of water until it threads. Beat the white of 1 egg stiff and dry. Add to this 5 cents worth of marsh mallows, cut fine. Pour the syrup over all and beat until stiff enough to spread.

The marshmallow instructions (click on the link, above, if you want details) make a syrup from 1/2 cup water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 cup corn syrup. The water/sugar ratio is twice the frosting ratio, which would reduce the cornstarch to 2 tablespoons, which doubles the fondant recipe, which has much, much more confectioners’ sugar and the same amount of corn syrup. Let’s give this a try:

Boil together 3/4 cup of sugar and 4 tablespoons of liquid flavoring (substituting some water if using a flavoring of jelly-like consistency) until it threads [with such a small amount, “threads” is easier than a temperature, but 230, if you prefer]. Beat the white of 1 egg stiff and dry. Add to this 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar. Pour the syrup over all and beat until stiff enough to spread.

I bet you can guess the next cake, now. But, there is still half of the Snow Cake left and my lunch break is over, so I’m done for the day.

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