Moist Vanilla Layer Cake with Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My, my, my mommies! August is about to end and here I am with just a second entry for the month. You will not believe it but time flies even if you are just a stay-at-home-mom.

But I promise to turn over a new leaf because it's already September. Why? Because I love "-ber" months. Why? Because it means Christmas is just around the corner. And there's no other bigger Christmas nut out there more than me. I am giddy over Christmas. I go through the motions of other months just so I can get by until 'the' season arrives again.

Okay so before I get carried away with the thought of the Holidays let me just give you a quick update that I've decided to conquer my fear of baking. Why fear it? Well, I am an excellent cook but I never liked measuring stuff (no wonder I did not became a chemist!). I have said so many times in my recipe series that I like eye-balling stuff.

And baking is pretty much like architecture. You have to be precise on your measurements or else the entire structure will crumble. And the mess (thank God for ate Conching). And the numerous instruments.

However, Martha Stewart is my peg lately (minus the insider trading stuff). So hey, I gotta give baking a try. I've been making butter cakes with my sisters for two consecutive weeks. So I wanted to change it up and make vanilla cakes this time. I know, know, they are almost similar. One thing you have to know though, me and hubby never liked chocolate cakes. For some reason we take a bite at any chocolate and instantly all we taste is bitterness. I know that's very weird of us.

The cake is what it is. It has a very moist vanilla chiffon cake and a fluffy buttercream icing. This is something that I'm sure a lot of you will love. I got the recipe here and tweaked it a bit. For one, I didn't use buttermilk. Also I suggest you reduce the sugar on the icing to make it less sugary.

Here it is mothers:

Vanilla Cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  (Note: it is quite hard to look for buttermilk so instead I used 1 cup milk mixed with 3/4 tsp cream of tartar)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 large egg whites, room temperature
  (Note: since most eggs on the groceries are medium I used 8 egg yolks and 4 egg whites instead)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease paper rounds, dust pans with flour, and knock out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl. In 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.
2. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.
3. Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.
4. Using rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.
5. Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack and peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Easy Buttercream:
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch table salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
  (Note: I suggest just use 1 1/2 or 2 cups depending on your sweetness preference)

1. Stir the cream, vanilla, and salt together in a small bowl until the salt dissolves.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium-low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar, and beat until smooth, 2 to 5 minutes.
3. Beat in the cream mixture. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.(If using a hand held mixer, beat for 8-10 minutes)

I also added canned strawberries as toppings and decoration. You may use blueberries or mangoes too. =)

Here is the buttercream icing in the process of being whipped :)

The very rustic looking cake, and the taste is yummy.
Not bad for my first attempt.

The layers of the cake turned out too thick.
I should have used used a wider pan.

Never again in 100 years

Friday, August 10, 2012


Breathe first, then smile. Here we go.

I remember post-Ondoy that a real estate broker was trying to sell us a townhouse somewhere in Quezon City. Our first question was, how was the flooding in this property during the Ondoy calamity. The agent, brushed it of saying that according to "statistics" typhoons of Ondoy proportions will only happen once in a lifetime. Chances are it will never happen again in 100 years.

I dare not ask where the idiotic statistics came from, needless to say we turned our backs to that property and it turned out that the water was neck deep in that community during that typhoon.

Things should be getting back to normal now. I would just like to add how easily we tend to forget. I am not one of those doomsayers but open your eyes people! Our mother earth is a little kooky and we can never deny that climate change is for real. These torrential rains will happen again and it can happen sooner than we think.

Our neglect is the primary cause, therefore we are the ones that should offer solutions as well. Government people have to get up their butts and make our drainage systems more efficient. Those living beside the riverbanks need to be relocated. Bridges need to be repaired, walls of dams need to reinforced, roads needs to be safer (I mean open manhole?! Really? ). Yes, yes, don't blame everything on the government but the things I have just enumerated cannot be done by an ordinary citizen. People with positions of power: time to take your responsibilities seriously.

What about us, random citizen of the world? Okay, first help out. Everyone is in the position to help. Help one another. Help yourself, then help others, then go the extra mile.

Once, that's done say peace with mother nature and stop throwing garbage everywhere. Don't just shut up and go back to the daily grind. Make this calamity count by making a change in yourself. I am as guilty as everyone else is. But when I look at my son's eyes, I promised that I will never just forget all this ever happened.

If there's anything that I can do in my end to make this world a better place, I'd very well do it.

So should you.