Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wedding Cake Part 1 - baking

If you saw my last post you already maybe have guessed that I am making wedding cakes this week.  I decided a while back that I want to make my own wedding cake.  I know that sounds a little daunting, but hear me out.  I love baking, I love decorating, and fancy wedding cakes can cost big moola.  I'm planning on making a smaller two tiered cake that we will have on display and have to cut.  I have 3 different cakes that I'm trying out, and then I'll decide based on looks, taste, and difficulty which one I'm going to make for the big day!

I've already made 1 cake a few months ago and it turned out amazing.  This is the second cake I'm trying. It is a mocha cake with chocolate ganache and coffee and vanilla buttercreams.  I'll post links to the recipes I used, and then show you step by step pictures of what I did.

For this cake I used this recipe via Martha Stewart. (Note: I halved the recipe for the practice round and made a 3 layer cake with 9 inch round pans)
First prepare the pan - spray with cooking spray
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside, spray again
I realize this might seem redundant, but especially for a cake that you need to look nice, this is the best way to ensure your cake won't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Next you need to make your coffee.  You could use extra coffee you have from the morning.  I was feeling a little tired in the morning so there was no "extra" in my house.  Instead, I used my handy dandy french press to make some more.  The recipe calls for very strong coffee, so I thought the press was the way to go.
Steeping strong coffee - 5 minutes
While the coffee is "steeping" or brewing sift together your dry ingredients.  This step is key to getting the right fine texture for the cake.  I suppose you could skip it, but you might end up with a slightly rougher texture in the end.
Now, your coffee should be done.  If you're using a french press make sure your grounds are slightly larger, and you press slowly.  You don't want any residual grounds in the cake.
That's some dark coffee!
Now pour your coffee into a mixing bowl, whisk in the cocoa powder.  Also, I added 1 t vanilla extract at this point because I think vanilla really brings out the chocolate flavor.
Make sure this gets nice and smooth
Now cream together your butter and sugar.
This should be pale and fluffy, it took me about 2 minutes on med-high speed
Add your eggs one at a time.  Tip - I always crack my eggs into a separate bowl first to ensure that I don't get any shells in.  It's much easier to fish them out of a separate bowl than trying to get them out of the batter.
Once your eggs are incorporated add 1/3 of your dry ingredients, mix.
Then add your coffee/chocolate mixture.  I put the guard on my mixer for this step because when I turned the mixer on it started to spray.  You could also hand stir this to get it going at first if you don't have a splatter guard.

Once that is incorporated, add the rest of your dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.
Pour 1/3 of the batter into each prepared cake pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean)
The giant hole in the center is when the toothpick didn't come out clean, back in the oven it goes.

Let the cakes rest for 5-10 minutes in the pans.  Then take a knife and release the edges to ensure that nothing is sticking.  Remove cakes from pan and put on a rack to cool completely.  

Once cool wrap them in saran wrap and put them in the fridge while you prepare your frostings and fillings.  This step will help when frosting them also, it's easier to frost a cake that is chilled, or even frozen.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I make the frosting!

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What's Annie Making?: Wedding Cake Part 1 - baking

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Wedding Cake Part 1 - baking