Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baseball Mimosa Birthday Cake



Another birthday, another cake!

One of my very good friends is named Cali. I adore her! Not only is her name the same as my beloved home state, but she is also one of the funniest and kindest people I have ever met. Thus, in honor of her 30th birthday, I wanted to create something that was unique and special, just like her.  


My inspiration for her cake came from our favorite day of the week - Sunday. On countless Sundays, we are often found sipping mimosas at our favorite local brunch joint. Our benevolent bartender delivers us our usual eggs benedict and breakfast potatoes, accompanied by this sweet, bubbly drink.

Brilliant Idea #1: Mimosa cake, here we come.
(White cake, orange curd filling, and champagne frosting...mmm)

Once I had the flavor pinpointed, I needed to make the cake itself look like it was created just for Cali. For those who know her, she is a HUGE New York Yankees fan.

Brilliant Idea #2: Baseball cake, plan in action.

After two days of baking, assembling, and decorating, the cake was finished. I couldn’t wait to deliver it! At work, we turned our CLT (Collaborative Learning Team) meeting, into Cali Loves Turning 30 meeting!

She was thrilled with her cake and I was thrilled to give her this thrill! :)


Here’s the recipe for another birthday cake success!


Triple-Layer White Cake with Orange Curd Filling and Sweet Champagne Buttercream Frosting

DAY 1

Triple Layer White Cake
Adapted from epicurious.com

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups plus 2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg whites

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans. 


Sift together flour, 1 ¼ cups sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl.


Whisk oil and egg yolks together in separate bowl. Whisk in heavy cream, milk, orange peel, and vanilla.

Whisk in dry ingredients in 3 additions.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 2/3 c. sugar beating until stiff peaks form. 


Fold into batter.


Divide batter among the three pans. Bake about 20 minutes. Cool completely. 


Orange Curd

Ingredients
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed = approx. 6 oranges)
9 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons grated orange peel
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions

Squeeze the juice from 3 lemons.


Place lemon juice in a small ramekin. Sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand 15 minutes.


Whisk sugar, orange juice, yolks, orange peel, and lemon peel in large saucepan.
 
Add butter. Mmm.


Whisk over medium heat until curd thickens (approx. 8 minutes). Remove from heat.

Add gelatin mixture. Whisk until gelatin mixture dissolves.

Strain curd through a sieve to remove the orange and lemon peel (optional).

Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill overnight.


Day 2

Sweet Champagne Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from fellow blogger Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients
5 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup champagne, at room temperature

Directions

Beat together sugar and butter.


Add vanilla and champagne. Mix on medium speed approx. 1 minute.


Set aside two separate cups of frosting. One will be for the red frosting and one will be for the blue frosting. Add desired amount of food coloring to each.

Assembly

(During assembly, it is recommended to continually sip on a homemade mimosa.)


Cut the tops off of your cakes to make them flat.
 
Spread orange curd in between layers. 

 
Create a thin crumb coating on your cake.


Refrigerate about 10 minutes to set crumb coating.

Frost the remainder of the cake with the white frosting. Smooth the top of the cake.

Pipe the blue frosting around the outer edges of your cake.

Pipe the red frosting in the pattern of the laces on a baseball. 


Take lots of pictures of your beautiful creation!





Sunday, March 13, 2011

The First Green of Spring


This is what I like to refer to as St. Patrick’s Day! 

Let’s face it, St. Patrick’s’ Day is not just a holiday, it’s a season. Originally, this day was celebrated as a religious holiday in honor of the patron saint of Ireland. Traditionally, families would go to church in the morning and have a huge feast later in the day (http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day). Today, it is more of a secular holiday that enables everyone to wear green, drink beer, eat corned beef and cabbage, and deck themselves out in shamrocks and Irish slogans. After all, this is the day when "Everyone is Irish!"

To start this season off, I attended a friend’s “Kegs and Eggs” party…the explanation is in the name. Following this, our group made our way to the Old Town St. Patty’s Day Parade and finally into Murphy’s, our local Irish pub, to enjoy the remainder of our afternoon.



End weekend one.

This weekend, I ran in the Washington DC St. Patty’s Day 8K. 


I met up for the first time with a fellow blogger, who is awesome! (Check her out at http://321delish.wordpress.com/) We both have an interest in baking, triathlons, and blogging – what a coincidence! Naturally we got along and kicked butt in the race. We were decked out in all our green glory, but she definitely outdid me with her shamrock headband. Loved it!


The race itself was entertaining, due to the sea of green, bagpipes, and that guy who juggles while running…if you’ve run in DC races before, you know who I’m talking about! There were dogs in green sweaters, babies in green onesies, green kilts, bows, hats, tattoos, and of course green balloons marking the finish line. 


In addition to the atmosphere, it was also an amazingly gorgeous morning for a race! The weather started out a bit cool, but by race time was an ideal running temperature. As we were standing at the start line, we could see the sun glistening on our nation’s Capital. It was breathtaking. Additionally, while we were waiting for the start, the announcer was kind enough to share random facts with us – which I love! We learned that Pennsylvania Avenue, aka “America’s Main Street”, got its name because the state of Pennsylvania wanted to house the nation’s capital in Philadelphia; however, Congress decided to create a brand new Capital in DC. So the naming of this street was a way to honor the state of Pennsylvania. You learn something new everyday!

Since I forgot to start my watch when I crossed the start (maybe I was still in awe of our illuminated Capital), I had to wait a few hours to see my official time. I ran an 8:09 minute mile and finished the 8K in 40:29. I was very happy! 


Overall, this race couldn’t have been more perfect!


End weekend two.

I most likely will NOT be posting about St. Patrick’s Day…I prefer a PG rated website ;) However, if I make any St. Patrick’s Day baked goods, you’ll be sure and hear all about them!

Until then, Erin go braugh! (Translation: Ireland Forever!)