One hundred. In some ways, it seems like a big number. $100 is a ton of money when you're 13 years old and going shopping, but it is a drop in the bucket when you are putting a down payment on a house. It's a long time for one person to live to 100 years old, but in the scheme of time, 100 years is only a sliver of the time that Earth has been around. 100 books seems like a ton for one person to read themselves, but in the Library of Congress, it's barely anything. I could go on and on with the metaphors, but you get the point. So, big or small? I guess 100 is one of those numbers that can be taken as either, it is all about how you're measuring it.
For me, for this to be my hundredth post, it's big. It means that 100 times, I've given you all a recipe I've made in my own kitchen. I've shared with you a story, an anecdote, a thought from my life. One hundred times I've taken the time to bake, to photograph, to write, to perfect, and to post. I do it all because I love it.
If I didn't love it, I definitely wouldn't put in the time that I do into doing this. I love learning more about baking, photography and writing each and every time I come up with a new post idea. I love discovering and perfecting new recipes that I just can't wait to share on this blog with all of you, hoping you'll attempt to recreate them in your own kitchens, for your own family and friends. But most of all, I love the feedback I get from each of you who takes the time to appreciate my recipes and posts through comments and emails.
I try to read and respond to everyone who contacts me, and I always find that Bakerita readers are some of the nicest, most genuine readers that I could ask for. Each comment of yours resonates with me, sincerely. It still amazes me that people even take the time to read and digest the words I write and admire the photos I take, but each day I'm thankful. To think that it's already been 100 times that I've opened myself up to your feedback and support, and that with each time I've been supported and encouraged is incredible.
So, to show my thanks for all your love and support, I made you guys a cake! A big, pink, four layer, sweet, tart, delicious cake. I literally have probably 200 lemons sitting in my pantry, so I knew I had to do something lemon. I hate lemon-flavored frostings though, so I decided on a strawberry frosting. Such a good idea. This cake has the slight lemony tartness that comes from the lemony cake layers and lemon simple syrup, and it's perfectly complemented by the sweet strawberry buttercream that's almost reminiscent of strawberry ice cream. Yeah, perfection.
My best friend Paige made those gorgeous little hearts and pink “100″…she's a crafting genius. The actual layers of this cake use an unusual method, but I love it! It comes together super quickly and results in an extremely tender and moist (sorry to use that word!) cake. If you want, you can only use two pans for thicker layers, I just like this ratio of cake to frosting and the drama of four layers. This cake tastes like summer and uses awesome summer ingredients so grab some strawberries from the farmers market and a few lemons from the lemon tree and whip this up. A hundred times over, I hope you love it!
(from Cook’s Illustrated, March 2007)
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus extra for pans
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened but still coolsildenafil onlineli>
- Zest of 1 lemon
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour four two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans and line with parchment paper. In 2-cup liquid measure or medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg whites, and vanilla.
2. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt at low speed. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs with no visible butter chunks.
3. Add all but 1/2 cup milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed until mixture is pale and combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. With mixer running at low speed, add remaining 1/2 cup milk mixture; increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds longer. Divide batter evenly between cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops.
4. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert onto greased wire rack; peel off parchment. Invert cakes again; cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.
Lemon Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
Heat sugar, zest, and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and let boil for 1 minute. Pour through a fine sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids. Let cool completely. Stir in lemon juice.
*Extra syrup can be refrigerated, airtight, up to 1 month.
Strawberry Lemon Quick Jam
- 1 cup strawberries, frozen or fresh
- 1/8-1/4 cup granulated sugar (dependent on how sweet your strawberries are)
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1. If using frozen strawberries, microwave strawberries for one minute to thaw. Place strawberries, sugar, zest, and 1 tablespoon of water in a saucepan. Let cook for about 2 minutes on medium heat until the strawberries start to break down.
2. Using a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon, begin to mash the strawberries into a jam-type consistency. Let simmer for 6-8 minutes or until the jam is a smoother, more broken down consistency.
3. Mix cornstarch with one teaspoon of water and add into the strawberry mixture. Let simmer for about 1 minute, or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Whipped Strawberry Frosting
- 5 sticks (20 oz/567.5 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
- 6 cups sifted (27 oz/750 g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 3 teaspoons (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons (90 mL) Strawberry Lemon Quick Jam
- 5 tablespoons (1.5 oz/20 g) freeze dried strawberries, ground into powder *optional
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (“4″ on a KitchenAid). Butter should become pale and creamy.
2. Add powdered sugar slowly on low speed. Add remaining ingredients except for strawberry puree and freeze dried strawberries (if using) and mix for one minute on low speed, then on medium speed for 6 minute. Frosting will become extremely light, fluffy and creamy.
3. Add strawberry puree and freeze dried strawberry if using and mix until incorporated.
4. Use right away, or refrigerate for up to one day, bringing to room temperature before using.
1. Using a pastry brush, brush lemon simple syrup onto each of the cake layers.
2. Place a cake layer face-up on cake plate or 10″ round thin cake board.
3. Place about 1 cup of frosting on top, and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife.
4. Repeat step 1-2 until one layer remains.
5. Place final layer, face-down (bottom of cake layer is facing up). Place a generous scoop of frosting on top, spreading evenly with an offset palette knife and working your way down the sides until you have a very thin layer of frosting over the entire cake and any holes have been filled. Use a bench scraper to achieve very smooth sides. Chill until set — about 30 minutes.
6. Remove from refrigerator and cover with a final, thicker layer of frosting.
7. Finish with any decorations of choice, or frosting borders. I added a bit more powdered sugar to the remaining frosting to stiffen it up a bit and did a simple piped border around the top and bottom edges of the cake, and topped with decorated skewers (Search Pinterest for cute decorating ideas!).
8. Store in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in refrigerator for up to 5 days. As with most cakes, it’s best eaten the day it's made.
Yields one four-layer, 9-inch cake. Feeds 20-30.