I've always been amazed at how bakers can create such wonderful cakes with intricate designs. It makes me wonder if I can do this as well .... Of late I've been browsing through several websites especially Wilton's cake decorating classes conducted at Bake-it-Yourself. So one Saturday afternoon I decided to pop by their store to check out their goodies and chanced upon a vacant slot for a series of 4 Saturday classes for Stage 1. What was I waiting for .... here's my chance and I immediately jumped at it - paid on the spot as well. Now it's just a matter of waiting for March 15 - my very 1st class!
Finally the day came ... over the next 3 sessions I learnt how to crumb coat a cake using buttercream icing, piped shells, stars, made an icing clown, buttercream roses, sweet pea flowers. Finally I was on my 4th and last lesson - I had to bring an iced cake to class and decorate it within one hour using some of the techniques taught.
Boy oh boy!! This is stressful ..... anyway here's my so-called "masterpiece" ... it's a vanilla bean lemon raspberry cake with light blue buttercream icing, topped with 6 white roses!
Vanilla Bean Lemon Cake with Raspberries
(adapted from the Barefoot Contessa)
1 3/4 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
Zest from 4 lemons
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1-2 cups raspberries, depending on how many you want
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the butter and sugar together in a mixer until light colored and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add in the lemon zest.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Combine the lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla in a small bowl.
Add the dry and liquid mixtures to the mixing bowl alternately, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Mix just until everything is combined.
Pour batter into pans. This batter with fill two 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2 loaf pans, or about (24) 3 1/2 x 2 x 1/2 mini loaves, or about (16) 3 1/2 diameter mini bundt pans as pictured - it's a lot of batter!
Place raspberries on top of the batter, and using a spoon or spatula, gently swirl them into the batter. Bake until a tester comes out clean -about 45 minutes for a large loaf, 25-30 minutes for minis. Let cool on wire rack.