Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

White Mountain Cake with Luscious Lemon Frosting

Has it really been twelve days since I posted a recipe? It seems like twelve years! With Lady Snow out of commission I haven't been able to get much done in the kitchen. She came through her surgery for the ligament repair just fine and seemed in pretty good spirits when I picked her up last Thursday at the vet.

We found out that she had completely blown out the Posterior Cruciate Ligament in her knee and had torn the Anterior (or Cranial) about 80%. Because the injury was so much more severe than anticipated the doctor put her in a splint she has to wear for 12-14 days to keep her from using the leg at all. Combined with an E-collar she was not a happy camper. They prescribed sedatives to help her out but we found out last Saturday that she doesn't tolerate sedatives well. By mid-afternoon she was so sluggish we could barely rouse her. She wouldn't move at all and her breathing was very slow and shallow. Needless to say we stopped the sedatives. Unfortunately, that meant putting up with her whining about the collar and splint. She also decided that she would refuse to use the bathroom with the splint and collar on.

Obviously, the past week has not been fun for anyone and cooking took a backseat to trying to get her better. (BTW: I've reapplied the splint 4 times in the past 10 days because she figured out how to get it off by rubbing against things.)

A most unhappy Lady Snow
Finally, though, we seem to have turned a corner. She's feeling more chipper and her splint comes off and stitches come out this week. That means I had some time last night and today to work on a very old cake recipe!

The cake recipe is adapted from a traditional southern cake recipe known as the "White Mountain Cake." I have no idea where the name originates but the cake itself is a very delicious butter cake. The original version of this recipe calls for whipping egg whites and folding them into the batter much like a French Marquis cake. However, I opted to change it up just a bit because I wanted something that would stand up to the lemon frosting I was envisioning. (OK - originally I was envisioning a coconut rum Pastry Cream but just wasn't up to that task.)

Instead of whipping the egg whites, I incorporated them into the batter as is and just upped the flour content from the original recipe slightly. The result is a very buttery and moist cake that doesn't rise too high and was perfect for my lemon frosting and a rustic presentation.



: White Mountain Cake with Luscious Lemon Frosting
: A traditional southern cake recipe paired with a tart lemon buttercream frosting in a rustic presentation.

Cake
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon (or almond) extract
Lemon Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 32 oz. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbs. half and half (or heavy cream)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg whites and mix until incorporated. Add extracts and mix until combined.
  4. Mix in dry ingredients alternating with milk just until incorporated. Complete mixing using a rubber spatula being sure to scrape sides and bottoms of bowl.
  5. Divide batter evenly between the three cake pans and bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until top of cakes are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove from pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks.
Frosting:
  1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment cream butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add juice and lemon zest and beat on high speed for 3-5 minutes or until frosting is smooth and creamy. If necessary add half and half or cream to achieve desired consistency for spreading.
Assembly:
  1. Lay first layer on a cake stand or plate and place 1/3 of frosting on cake. Spread into a thick layer to about 1-inch from edges with a mound of frosting in center. Place second layer on top and using a piece of plastic wrap press down to spread frosting to edges. Repeat with third layer then frost the top.
  2. Garnish with thin slices of lemon sprinkled with coarse sugar.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
Meal type: dessert
Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)


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