Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fancy Cake!

Ok, it's fancy cake show off time! Every once in a long while I wake up and decide I'm Martha Stewart and I need to make an excessively intricate baked good. I could spend that time cleaning the house or crafting or something useful, but no I needed to make a lavender lemon cake... I guess I only inherited half of the good housewife genes.

This is an old set of pans from my folks house, I think they had been used about three times. I remember making a checkerboard cake once in middle school, back when free time was easy to come by. I never had that awesome grandma hairstyle tho, I wasn't that cool in middle school (sarcasm).

I followed the recipe on the back of the box, except instead of chocolate I made lavender and lemon flavors. A nice flavor combo and lovely colors too! It should be noted that most of the "old family recipes" were cut out of boxes and magazines, we've never been one for cookbooks around here.

I made one half into lemon cake with juice and zest from two lemons, I added a little color to brighten it up. The lavender is just dried flowers and purple food coloring. In the future I might use an infusion and try to let the flowers offer up all the color, or I might just want it to be scary artificial bright.

 The plastic divider makes the checkerboard magic happen. As you painfully drop each spoonful of batter in a agonize over weather or not there will be enough for all three rounds the plastic bit keeps everything sequestered. You then pull it up carefully and hope you have all three parts at about the same height. I didn't, whatever. No cake is perfect!

 The three bullseyes sitting around cooling. The three pans barely fit in my oven all at the same time, but rotating in the middle of baking kept them from cooking unevenly. Taking this picture made me realize how filthy my kitchen is. Cooking show this is not...

 The icing was an "interesting" problem. I bought coconut milk to make it with for a yummy coconut flavor. Usually the fat rises to the top of the can and I can scoop it off like shortening. This can was a wetter squishy milk. I poured in the thick stuff on top and added some butter to give it body. I then proceeded to use the entire bag of powdered sugar to get it thick. That didn't work, so I put half of it into the fridge to "glaze" things with and started adding flour. What? It worked! I finally for the icing thick enough to put on a cake.

So I started putting the cake together. The first two slabs went fairly smoothly, then of course the top fell into three pieces and had to be scraped from the pan. Icing to the rescue...

I covered the cake in a thick layer of icing and sprinkled the top with coconut. If you ever wondered why commercial cakes have so much icing - it's to cover up the imperfections. you can start with a light layer then freeze the cake, then make it look perfect, but in theory I'm on a diet. (shut up, cake it totally ok diet food, I'm eating salad the rest of the day.)
There, it's a checkerboard, I promise. Yes I took the photo with the crumbling side away from the camera, in this shot you can see the carnage. The white icing sets off the bright colors and... who am I kidding it looks a little less than stellar, the box always lies! But fuck it, it's ridiculously yummy.
See, a pile of multi-colored goodness. This isn't the Food Network people, this is my hot and not-very-clean kitchen. And I've licked so much icing off bowls and beaters I need to go lay down now...

What summer treats are you making?

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