Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Red, White, and Blue Funfetti Cake (Part 1)

Well, I've gone over the deep end.

I was "stumbling" over vacation (my favorite way to find new recipes) when I came across the Epicurious site.  At the top of the site was a banner promoting a Fourth of July cake contest.  I had to enter.

The only snafu was I needed to submit an original recipe.  I have an original recipe for buttercream icing that I concocted during my cake decorating class days, but I don't have one for a cake.  I thought about this contest for a couple of days and finally came up with an idea: a Red, White, and Blue Funfetti cake.  Alright the concept of the cake would be simple enough to make, but now, what about the decoration?

I have no idea how I got this crazy notion in my head, but I decided to freeze the cake, then the next morning carve it into the shape of the United States of America and decorate an American flag over it.  I characteristically bite off more than I can chew, but I really wanted to go with this idea and take this contest by storm.  "I've gone over the deep end" seemed to be an understatement when I was standing in my kitchen Thursday night at 10:00, ice Saran-wrapped to my shins (I've been getting a lot of soreness there during and after my runs), with the daunting task of winging a funfetti cake recipe.

Alright, here goes nothing.

I decided to start off with whole numbers of measurements and began with this: 2 c of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 c of butter, 1 c sugar, 3 eggs, 1 c milk, 1/3 c of sprinkles.  I figured I'd just tweak those numbers as I went along, depending on how dry or wet the cake batter was, how much I needed to fill the pan, or (most importantly) how it tasted.  I was looking at my ingredients and realized that I wanted a really white cake to compliment the red and blue sprinkles, so I decided to take the yolks out of the eggs and whip them to make them really fluffy, something I was taught to do when making pancakes or waffles.  So I started by combining my dry ingredients, setting them in a separate bowl, and then combining the sugar and the butter.  I added the milk to the butter, to make it a little softer, and then added half of the flour mixture.  I continued adding milk about 1/2 of a cup at a time until I used up all of the flour mixture in the other bowl.  I had batter, now I just had to taste-test it.  I held my breath, tried it, and it actually tasted somewhat like cake.  The batter was a little thick, so I kept adding milk 1/3 of a cup at a time.  I did the same thing when I tweaked the sugar and the flour.  Finally, after shoving spoonfuls of the batter in my family's faces my dad finally said to throw the batter in the oven and see what happens.

So that's what I did.  I set my timer for 30 minutes and waited, and waited, and wrote this blog post, and waited and waited.  I thought more about the batter and tasted what was left in the bowl and realized I probably could have added another 1/3 c of sugar.  My brother said the batter also tasted somewhat like pancakes, so I guess a little vanilla extract wouldn't have hurt.  Again, I wanted a really white cake and my vanilla extract is brown, but I don't think a teaspoon would have hurt.  Also, I realized a little late that the butter was not in the fridge but in the freezer, so I tried heating it up in my preheated oven.  I heated it too much, and I think the melted butter might have given the batter an odd texture.

Thank goodness for oven lights.  I didn't want to keep opening the door because I read that it could make the cake collapse, so after 30 minutes went by I kept checking on it every minute.  At 32 minutes, the cake was finished and it took every nerve I have to hold my body back from tearing into the cake and tasting it.  That would have to happen in a couple of days, when I cut the cake into the United States.  I let it cool, then before bed I wrapped it in Saran wrap (not the same piece that was on my leg) and stuck it in the freezer for another day...

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