Friday, May 11, 2012
Cake and Pie for Pa
It’s been a busy last few weeks. My god. It’s not that I’ve been slacking in the baking department, it’s that I’ve been slacking in the ‘sharing the recipes with you’ department. Last weekend we went to North Dakota to celebrate my father’s 60th birthday and I made way too many desserts. If you know me at all that probably wouldn’t surprise you very much. Go big or go home, right?? My dad only turns 60 once, ya know. I made my dad a silly cake, well, several silly cakes, but one in particular that is my favorite kind of birthday cake to make. The recipe's turned out every single time I’ve made it, which has been many. Also, I made the actual cake layers on Thursday and we ate them on Saturday and you never would have known. It stayed so fresh and it was durable! It traveled extremely well. I just wrapped the layers separately and several times in plastic wrap and that’s it. I was so nervous about traveling with the cake layers but it couldn’t have worked out any better. To decorate the cake I used a simple vanilla butter cream frosting and just dyed it blue. The cake itself was citrus-y and pretty dense. It’s a very filling cake and can feed several people if you cut the slices an appropriate size, but you don’t have to do that either.
My father dislikes cake, quite a bit actually. I know, he’s crazy. So, I also made him a pie as well. I cheated and used a Pillsbury already made crust, I was in a time crunch, people! I decided on a Rhubarb-Strawberry pie. I was selfish and made one of my personal favorites. It was pretty delicious, I’m not going to lie. I don’t have many pictures to share with you in this post so I thought I would share two recipes to make up for it. The delicious pie and the delightful cake. I hope you enjoy and get a chance to make at least one of them. I’m hoping to post more rhubarb recipes in the near future, it is my favorite seasonal item after all.
Yellow Birthday Cake
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
18 tablespoons (2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Zest of ½ lemon and ½ orange
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. On low speed, add the eggs, two at a time, then the sour cream, vanilla and both citrus zests. Scrape down the bowl as needed to make sure it is mixed well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until smooth. Don’t over mix. Pour finished batter evenly into the two pans and tap them on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.
*note: Ina says to bake with room temperature ingredients. So if her recipe says room temperature in the list she means it. I’ve always listened to that rule and my cake has always turned out. I’d trust her, folks.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
3 ½ cups rhubarb about 1 ½ pounds, untrimmed), in ½-inch thick slices
3 ½ cups (about 1 pound), hulled and sliced
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom, optional
¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put pie crust into 9-inch pie plate. I bought my crust but you can make your own using any recipe you may have for butter pie crust.
Stir together rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, spices, lemon, salt, and tapioca in a large bowl. Pour filling into the bottom pie crust and dot with unsalted butter. Lay the top layer crust on top of filling mound and cut slits in it to let out the steam.
Transfer pie to baking sheet and brush with egg yolk mixture over dough. I also sprinkled a tablespoon of granulated sugar on top of the egg wash to make it a little more decorative. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, until the pie is golden and the juices bubble visibly. I put my pies in the middle rack of the oven, I don’t like burnt crust!
Transfer pie to wire rack to cool. Seriously, let this pie fully cool down before you decide to slice it. It takes several hours.