Sunday, July 13, 2008

Madeira Cake with Swiss Buttercream

For our latest attempt at fondant cake we used a Madeira cake recipe from a book called Cakes to Inspire and Desire which is specifically how to make and decorate crazy cakes with fondant. The cake is good for this kind of thing because it's dense and easy to work with and carve on for crazy shapes. The downside is that the flavor is very generic and dry. I bake for flavor though, I don't care how great it looks, if the flavor doesn't impress me then it probably won't make a repeat appearance and this was not impressive at all.

In an attempt to make up for the dry cake I put a ton of buttercream frosting on it -- in this case a Swiss Buttercream frosting that I got from Smitten Kitchen. The frosting was easy to work with, easy to make and had a rich, smooth flavor that wasn't overly sweet. It spread well and was generally a great success. The problem we ran into was that in my overzealous application of the frosting, I made it more difficult to get the fondant on the cake. *sigh*

As usual, Chris did the fondant work which is why it looks so great. We used the Satin Ice pre-made stuff, we bought the black the way it is, and dyed some white lavender to get what we wanted. He wasn't that happy though because of all the cracking we got in the fondant and because some of the corners look like crap. The corners were my though -- too much buttercream which kept oozing out of the corners making it impossible for him to get them smooth. The rest is just practice.

I thought the cake looked cool. Chris chose the colors inspired by a band we like called Birthday Massacre, and we've wanted to practice a bow cake since they tend to look pretty cool and yet seem pretty easy to make.

Madeira Cake
1 lb unsalted butter
1 lb superfine sugar
1 lb self-rising flour
8 oz all purpose flour
8 eggs
2 tsps vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 and grease two 9 inch round or two 8 inch square pans.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and smooth. Sift the flours in another bowl. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture one at a time, following each with a spoonful of flour, to prevent the mixture curdling. Add the vanilla, then add the remaining flour and mix until smooth. (It will be quite thick)

Transfer to the prepared pans and bake. Mine baked for about 45 minutes, but I started checking them after 30. Cool in the pans, then turn out and cool completely.

Swiss Buttercream

The recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen

For a 9-inch cake (plus filling, or some to spare)
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. (Here’s a tip: when you transfer to the mixer, make sure you wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl so that no water gets into the egg whites. This can keep them from whipping up properly.)

Add the vanilla.

Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip -- it may curdle on you, just keep whipping and it will come together.


bjs said...

haha very nice. I was actually wondering why you would take a picture of a box with a ribbon on it, until I realized that was the cake. Nice.=D

Leslie said...

very beautiful cake! Great job

Ben said...

yes, it was considerably tastier than a box with a ribbon on it.=P