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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Cake Cockaigne with boiled Almond Frosting

The Cake
2 1/4 cup sifted cake flour (i used pastry flour)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 mashed bananas
1/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick of butter softened
1 cup and 2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs

Start by whisking together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda & powder, and salt). Reduce the baking soda and powder if you live at altitude. Next, combine the banana, yogurt/ buttermilk, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Mix them up real good. In yet another bowl (preferably one that attaches to a Kitchen Aid mixer), beat the shit out of the butter until it is creamy, about 30 seconds. With the butter still beating, gradually add in the sugar and beat it too until it and the butter are light and fluffy about 5 minutes. Once its light and fluffy, mix in your large eggs one at a time. (Question: why do so many recipes call for “large” eggs? I always wonder what constitutes a “large” egg? What about the small ones? Why are they so discriminated against?)

Okay, so now is the tricky part. With your mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with the banana mixture in 2 parts. Beat until smooth. In other words, go flour-banana-flour-banana-flour. Once its nice and smooth give it a taste and then toss it in two 9 inch cake pans (I don’t have cake pans so I used pyrex pie pans instead) and bake at 350° F for about 30 minutes or until you can insert a chopstick in the middle and have it come out clean. Toothpicks work for inserting too, but we didn’t have any so I used a chopstick.

The Frosting
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 large egg whites (again with the egg discrimination)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar(us) – *Watch out for Kronos when using
1 splash of pure almond extract

This is the first time I’ve ever made the boiled frosting. It turned out okay, nothing to write home about on your blog though…

First, stir the sugar and water together in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. How you do this is a mystery to me. After what seemed like 15 minutes of stirring I still had some sugar at the bottom. Maybe a scientist can weigh in here, but I believe there is a limit to the solubility of water or how much dissolved shit it can hold. 1 cup of sugar seems to me to be beyond the limits of a mere 1/2 cup of water. Once its all dissolved, or you’ve had enough of stirring, put it on the burner and bring it to a boil over high heat.

While the sugary water is on the stove, pull out your mixer again, making sure you cleaned out the banana cake bits, and beat together the egg whites and cream of Tartarus until the eggs are stiff. As you’re doing this keep an eye and ear on the sugar water. Once it boils, put a lid on it and reduce the heat to around 230° F. Quickly run back to your mixer because the eggs are probably stiff by now and turn the mixer down to a low speed and keep it mixing. Now, run back to your sugar water and stir it until it is thick and goopey (the softball stage Rombauer calls it), another 5 minutes or so. When the sugar is good and gooey, place the bottom of the pan in some water for a few seconds to stop it from cooking. Then, jog back to your mixer with the sugar in hand, kick the mixer into high speed and slowly drizzle the sugar into the eggs in a thin stream. The idea is that the hot sugar water cooks the egg whites as it mixes leaving you with a frothy somewhat meringuey frosting. Add your almond extract (vanilla works too) and mix for another 4-5 minutes.

The Assembly
When the cake is baked and completely cooled, spread a layer of frosting on the top of one cake loaf. Put the other cake loaf on top of that and then cover with entire shebang with the remaining frosting.

Find someone you love and give them a piece to enjoy.

Beer is always a nice addition too.

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