Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spiderman Cake

This Spiderman cake was made for Jordan's 4th birthday. Time flies, it was just last year that i made Lightning Mcqueen's Race Track for his 3th birthday. This time the cake is frosted with this favorite traditional buttercream which is based on a cooked meringue. This is the crowning touch that surrounds and enhance the cake with it's luxurious creaminess. It might take a bit of time to put together, but the results are worth it! It pipes beautifully for decorations and can be flavored or tinted in many different ways. This recipe calls for the nutritionally dreaded shortening but you may use all butter, but the frosting will be more stable with the vegetable shortening; all butter frosting can melt or slide if kept in a wram room for too long.

Recipe for the cake is here Renee's Birthday Cakes

Recipe for Buttercream
1/2 cup egg whites (4 ozs, the whites from 3 - 4 large eggs) or 1/4 cup(1 1/2 oz) meringue powder dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water.
1/4 cup(2 3/4 oz) light corn syrup
1 cup(7 oz) sugar
1/3 cup(2 5/8 oz) water
1/2 tsp cream of tartar(if using fresh egg whites)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup(2 sticks, 8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup(3 1/4 oz) vegetable shortening
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
Place the egg whites(or reconstituted meringue powder) in the bowl of your mixer.
Place the corn syrup, sugar and water in a medium saucepan, with a cast-iron skillet at the bottom. Stir until combined and the sugar is dissolved. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, with the pan covered to wash any sugar crystals down from the sides. Uncover and cook to the soft ball stage, 240 f.
Meanwhile, begin to beat the egg whites on slow speed. When they are foamy, add the cream of tartar, if using fresh eggwhites, and salt. Gradually increase the speed and continue beating until soft peaks from.
As soon as the sugar syrup reaches the soft ball stage, remove it from the heat. Turn off the mixer. Very carefully pour about 1/4 of the hot syrup down the inside of the mixing bowl. Turn the mixer on high speed, and beat well. Add the syrup in two more additions, stopping the mixer each time, working as quickly as possible. If the sugar is slightly overcooked and hardens a bit, return it to the heat for a moment to remelt it. Do not pour the sugar syrup into the bowl while the mixer is on; you may splash yourself with hot syrup or the syrup will end up all on the sides of the bowl.
Continue to beat the meringue until it cools to room temperature. This takes about 20 minutes of continuous beating. If you need to hurry it along, place the bowl of your mixer in a ice bath for a few moments while mixing by hand, then return it to the machine. If you attempt to add the butter before the meringue is cool, the butter will melt and the frosting will collapse.
When the meringue is cool, beat in the soft butter a bit at a time. If the frosting starts to separate, continue beating without adding any more butter until the forsting looks fluffy again. Beat in the vegetable shortening. Beat in vanilla and almond extract, if using.
Frost cake as desired.
If frosting is very soft, refrigerate before using, or beat in extra vegetable shortening.
If you have two mixing bowls, beating the butter and vegetable shortening together before adding will ensure you end up with the lightest, fluffiest frosting.


LEMON BUTTERCREAM - Omit the almond extract. When boiling the sugar, use 1/4 cup water plus 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice. Add 2 more tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp of lemon zest when most of the butter and/or shortening has been beaten into the frosting.

HAZELNUT BUTTERCREAM - Combine 1/4 hazelnut paste with 2 tbsp Frangelico liqueur. Mix this into the frosting with the last 1/2 cup of butter or shortening.

RASPBERRY BUTTERCREAM - Mix in 1/4 cup strained raspberry puree alternately with the last 1/2 cup of butter or shortening.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM - Melt 2 ozs of unsweetened chocolate and cool to room temperature. Add to the frosting at the end.

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