Vanilla buttercream frosting cakePosted: December 20, 2011
You have read it correctly – there are no typos in this sentence nor it is poorly constructed. While the vast majority of cakes have frosting on top or in the middle, the batter of this sponge cake was indeed made using a vanilla buttercream frosting. If there is an Annals of Improbable Culinary Research in this world, this dish would be worthwhile a cover. Or, at least a featured article. In fact, the vanilla buttercream frosting cake is so unlikely to be reproduced, that I will not even try to write down the recipe. If anything, because I cannot remember what ingredient was used when, or the proportions.
Even wannabe-food-bloggers have a less-inspired days in the kitchen. Sometimes, things just don’t go the way you expect – and as we say in Portugal, o que torto nasce, tarde ou nunca se endireita [what is born crooked, late or never gets straightened]. It looked like an semi-easy cake when I read the recipe. But a few hours latter, with the cake still half done and a totaled kitchen, it seemed that I had made a colossal strategic mistake.
Everything went sort of OK, until I tried to whisk the egg whites to soft glossy peaks. I must have done this thousands of times and at this point in my life, I don’t even consider the possibility of failure. But, not today. The white egg mix split, and there was nothing I could do about it. They were split and they remained split, no matter what grandmother tricks I used. I had no other solution but start all over again.
When I thought the worst was over and the cake was placidly sitting on the stove, I started on the frosting, using a Nigella recipe. Instead of a consistent white cream I was supposed to get, I ended up with a grey-greenish liquidy crème with lots of white floaters. I tried to sieve it, as recommended by most Mothers and professional chefs. After this delicate operation, the floaters were gone, but the grey-greenish liquidy could not be used to finish any serious cake. Again, had to start again, this time using the recipe of the original recipe. It called for a lot of butter and even more sugar, but .. it worked. I have to bitterly add, that Nigella’s recipe failed me not once, but twice.
At this point, I had my kitchen bench full of discarded elements: the gray-greenish liquid (basically, butter, sugar, vanilla and some flour), 3 yolks and something that resembled beaten white eggs. Meaning, the elements you need for a cake. Following tje directions of a very basic recipe of sponge cake, I added the egg yolks one by one to the butter and sugar “cream”. Then I tossed in enough flour – and 1 teaspoon of baking powder – to obtain a batter with a nice consistency. Finally, I folded in the egg whites. No need for a lot of TLC- it was actually quite the opposite of this.
Finally, I dropped into the stove, previously heated to 175oC (pretty much a standard of baking), and waited until a wooden stick came out dry from the center of the cake.
The result was a surprisingly light sponge cake, with a fresh almondy – vanilla taste. None of the testers was aware of the precarious conditions of this experiment, and fortunately they are all still alive. Some of them even asked for seconds (and got them).