I really can’t remember the last time I baked a birthday cake…
Has it been months? Years? I really don’t know.
I busted out the cake-baking skills today though because today’s a bit more than a birthday. It’s a family reunion that hasn’t happened since my mom came to the United States since she married my dad. Her extended family attendedthe wedding and then never saw her again. We would exchange phone calls once every couple of years and send photos back and forth, but everyone pretty much lived without seeing each other for about twenty years. An uncle who I had never even met in my entire life until this past month when I was in Korea came to America for the first time a couple weeks ago, and they’re all coming over for dinner tonight with my cousin! One of my favorite uncles happens to be celebrating his birthday today, too, and my aunt is coming home from her trip to Korea today as well, so it’s just a big ole family celebration!
They’re actually probably on their way over right now to get here just in time for the World Cup game – Uruguay vs. Germany!
Exciting. Posting this in a flash because I have to have some lunch and hide the cake before everyone gets here, so excuse the brief and crappy post.
And I’m upset that I left my DSLR at my apartment in LA. I wanted to take pictures of my family and my chiffon cake (probably the most elaborate thing I’ve ever baked. I generally don’t do complicated.) but oh well. The point and shoot will have to do for today.
Gotta love a celebration cake! My first time baking a chiffon cake. It turned out well if I do say so myself. :) I made a mini one out of leftover batter and had my family taste-test. KIM FAMILY APPROVAL. It’s nice and summery and I didn’t frost the entire thing because I liked the more casual, rustic feel of the shortcake look. Strawberries are in season so go go go buy some and if you have an occasion, make this cake. :)
Strawberry Chiffon Shortcake
adapted from smittenkitchen
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups superfine or regular sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks at room temperature
8 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 quarts strawberries, hulled and sliced
1. Cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have two 9-inch round cake pans ready, lined with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray, but otherwise ungreased.
2. Sift the flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder and salt together twice into a large bowl.
3. In a another bowl, beat the yolks, water, oil, zest and vanilla on high speed until smooth. Stir into the flour mixture until smooth. In another large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks are formed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and beat on high speed until the peaks are stiff but not dry. (I had to google pictures of this because I’ve never really made meringue before. It was fun!)
4. Use a rubber spatula to fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Do so gently, only until the egg whites are no longer visible. Overdoing it will deflate the egg whites, and yield a denser, shorter cake. (Be VERY, VERY careful. You definitely don’t want to deflate the poofy eggs. They give the cake that soft, airy light texture.)
5. Scrape the batter into the two prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake them until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean 40 to 50 minutes.
6. Let cakes cool in the pan on a cooling rack for at least an hour. When completely cool, run a knife around the sides to release, then flip out onto a plate. Don’t forget to remove the parchment paper!
7. Make the whipped cream: Beat heavy cream and vanilla in a clean mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Be careful to start slowly and then increase speed as it gets thicker because otherwise, you’ll splatter cream all over yourself and the kitchen (Don’t ask how I know this.) You want to add the powdered sugar after soft peaks form because it’ll deflate the cream if you add it from the start. Beat on high speed until it can hold stiff peaks.
8. Assemble the cake: Carefully split each cake layer in half, leaving you with four cake surfaces. One by one, scoop one-quarter of the whipped cream onto the surface of the cake and spread it evenly to the edges, without going over, with an offset spatula. Arrange one-quarter of the sliced strawberries over the whipped cream in one or two layers, depending on your preference. Repeat with the remaining three layers. And then pipe the leftover cream however you wish!
9. The cake can refrigerate for a few hours before eating it (mine is in the fridge right now in fact.) We’ll have to cut it later to see how all of it works together, but so far, my hopes are high! Verdicto later tonight~~