Sunday, June 8, 2008

fairy cake

Every time I see a recipe for fairy cake or hummingbird cake, I get visions of this light, airy, summery, ethereal cake. And then I read the list of ingredients and realize that, while the cake sounds good, it is nothing at all like what I'd hoped for. The problem is, I can't figure out what it is I want.

Every time I condition my hair with Joico (recommended to me by the girl who cut my hair last and totally not worth the money, incidentally), I think, I want to eat this.

When I was drinking a Henry Weinhardt vanilla cream soda the other day, these ideas collided and I realized that the light, airy cake I've been craving is a citrusy honey vanilla cake.

So I pulled out Chocolate Desserts and used the cocoa cake for a base recipe to make a honey vanilla orange lemon cake. I soaked it in a honey vanilla orange lemon syrup and filled it with vanilla and honey whipped creams. The cake fell a little, so it was tough, and the whipped cream was too sweet. I think next time I'm going to add more vanilla, cut most or all of the honey out of the soaking syrup, and leave the powdered sugar out of the honey whipped cream. If there is a next time. I may make the cake base again; I'm not sure if I'll fill it with whipped cream. It just wasn't hitting the spot.

Fairy Cake

honey vanilla cake (adapted from Cocoa Cake, Chocolate Desserts, Pierre Herme)
7/12 C cake flour, -1 TB
3 1/2 TB corn starch
5 1/2 TB unsalted butter
9 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/4 C sugar, -1 TB
1 TB honey
1 TB vanilla
1 drop lemon oil
2 drops orange oil
5 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift together flour and starch. Melt butter and set aside to cool to room temperature. Divide sugar in half. Beat egg yolks until pale and fluffy, adding one half of the sugar sugar a bit at a time. Beat in vanilla, orange oil, lemon oil, and honey. Clean beaters. Beat egg whites to a soft peak. Gradually add the remaining half of the sugar and beat until peaks are firm and shiny.

Fold the dry ingredients and 1/4 the beaten whites into the yolk mixture. Stir a few teaspoons of this mixture into the cooled melted butter, stirring to incorporate the butter as much as possible. Add the butter and remaining whites to the yolks. Quickly and gently fold everything together.

Pour batter into a buttered 8 3/4" cake pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Set cake aside to cool.

soaking syrup
6 oz water
2 drops lemon oil
2 drops orange oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all together. Heat briefly to ensure complete mixing. Set aside to cool.

honey and vanilla whipped creams
3 C heavy whipping cream4.5 tsp vanilla
1 TB honey
approximately 3/4 C powdered sugar

Beat whipping cream to soft peaks. Beat in 3 tsp. vanilla. Take 2 C of whipped cream and put in another bowl. Add app. 1/2 C powdered sugar and additional 1 tsp vanilla to larger bowl of whipped cream. Beat to firm peaks.

To 2 C of whipped cream, add 1 TB honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and app. 1/4 C powdered sugar. Beat until firm.

to finish:

Slice cake into 3 rounds. Soak each round with syrup before layering with whipped cream. On the bottom layer, spread vanilla whipped cream. In the middle, use the honey whipped cream. Finish the top with vanilla whipped cream.

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