Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cake! Glorious cake!

This, my friend, is a cake. A PINK cake to be precise. It is delicious and light and strawberry in flavour. And it is the first cake in a series of “test cakes” that I’m trying out (or perhaps “trying on” is more accurate, as I’m sure some of these cakes are gonna end up on my hips….)

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

As you may have read earlier, Mister Man and I are getting hitched in about 15 months. We’re heading back to my homeland (Newfoundland) where my fabulous family resides. Of course, we’re inviting our friends and family from the mainland to join us. For many of them, this will be their first visit to the exotic far-east of Canada: the land of cultural excellence, icebergs, fried cod tongues (delicious! now don’t be hatin’!), jigs ‘n reels, fish ‘n chips with dressing and gravy, carnation-milk-in-yer-tea and so much more….

Here’s Paully and Michele in Newfoundland with Mister Man. And an iceberg. Yuppers. That is a real honest to goodness iceberg behind them.

We’re gathering in Newfoundland for the big event, and we’re trying to figure out how to make our wedding special. And meaningful for everyone who'll be with us.

I have worked in the arts all my life (in theatre, film and special events). I’m a feminist. I am a bit of a Pollyanna. I’m a sentimental fool, and I love the notion of honouring tradition. (This info is necessary to understand how the next part of the cake saga unfolds.)

So as Mister Man and I scratch our heads trying to figure out how to make this event “ours”. I immediately start thinking about the wedding cake and how freakin’ GREAT it would be if only I could bake it. Hm. Clearly, this is a stupid idea. *Pfftt* How am I going to bake my own wedding cake when I don’t even LIVE in Newfoundland anymore?

And then, the Pollyanna part of me kicks in and I start thinking about all of the great things that collectives of women have done throughout history. I ponder ritual and passage. I am awestruck at the thought of all of that estrogen together in one room. I think of how, in ancient times, women would gather to sew great tapestries or a wedding quilt.

And suddenly, my head was filled with beautiful images of my friends and family coming together from opposite ends of this country over a glass of champagne & orange juice to collectively make our wedding cake!!! There they were, taking in the spectacular view of the Atlantic ocean from the beautiful home of Paully and Michele. And I saw my Newfoundland aunties tucked into a corner of the dining room measuring flour and sugar with our mainland friends who are artists, writers, directors. I saw “Mom of Mister Man” weighing chocolate with The Mums and a bevy of women artists from Newfoundland. I saw us collectively baking this cake – this brilliant symbol of two people from different communities coming together. And I have to say that I even cried a little because the image was so perfect and beautiful – a brilliant (and delicious) metaphor.

However, not everyone thought this was a great idea. But more on that later….

Until then, suffice it to say that the next 15 months will be filled with testing cake recipes in search of the perfect recipe for the baking of the collective wedding cake.

The pink cake, pictured at the beginning of this post, was the first cake I auditioned. We even had an official jury grade this crumbly morsel of love. The cake was fun! And pink! And I kind of accidentally went a little crazy on the icing, intending to only dot it in a tasteful minimalist style....But I got carried away once I felt the power of that cake decorating pump thingie in my hands!

This cake was tasty for sure (though a tad dry… so maybe I baked it a couple of nano seconds too long??) But I don’t think it’s the cake for our big event.

In any event, the recipe came from Smitten Kitchen and here it is:

Pink Lady Cake

For the cake
4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed frozen strawberries
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food dye if you like (to make the pink color pop more)

For the cream cheese frosting
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Make the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.

3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans. If you’re worried about the layers being even, you can weigh each of the pans!
4. Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.

Make the cream cheese frosting
5. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.
Frost and assemble the cake6. Place one cake layer on a cake board or platter. Spread about 2/3 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it to the edge. Repeat with the second layer. Add the top layer and frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, reserving a small amount if you wish to tint it and pipe a decoration on the cake. Sugarlove's note: I dare you to try to be less fru-fru than me!

This recipe was TOTALLY lifted from the wondrous website of Smitten Kitchen


  1. i am very very unclear on why i was not part of the test jury for this.

    i demand you summon me for jury duty.

  2. I am summoning you RIGHT NOW lady!