Place water in a heat-proof container and sprinkle gelatin on top. Allow to sit for at least five minutes to hydrate. Place container into a pot of water (water should not come too close to the top of the container — we just need a little bit in the pot to make a water bath). Simmer until gelatin is clear and liquid. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.
Add maple syrup to whipped cream and beat until soft peaks form.
Slowly drizzle gelatin into whipped cream (beating as you pour).
Slowly add in strawberry reduction and continue to beat until firm peaks form.
This year, Anya chose a strawberry cake. We looked through a lot of recipes online and merged a couple into what we hoped would be a very strawberry flavored cake. It was — the strawberry whipped cream was specially tasty. I think it could have used more strawberry reduction between the layers, though the cake was already very moist.
Scott wanted oatmeal raisin cookies, so Anya and I found a cake made with oatmeal raisin cookie ingredients. It’s incredibly dense, but moist and delicious. I topped it with maple butterscotch, and Anya decorated it with raisins.
Whirl mixed nuts in food processor so some chunks remain.
Combine boiling water and oats and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, cream butter with sugars. Add vanilla.
Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well to combine.
Add in oatmeal, breaking up any chunks. Then add in yogurt and stir to combine.
Add flour mixture, a third at a time, and stir to combine.
Add nuts and raisins, then stir to combine.
Pour into a bundt pan. Bake for 50 minutes (add more time, in five minute intervals, if knife inserted into deepest part of cake pan does not come out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool before frosting.
This year, Anya wanted a cranberry black forest cake. Which I didn’t really realize was a thing, but I found a recipe online. I used maple whipped cream between layers with maple glazed whole cranberries. It was tasty, but a little dry. If I were making it again, I would either soak it in some cranberry juice or some other liquid.
I made a cake with red beets for Anya’s birthday cake. I roasted the beets instead of boiling them. Then replaced the espresso with beet juice (mostly because I had it in the pan after roasting the beets). Finally I used 7 oz of carob chips along with three tablespoons of a triple cocoa powder blend. To make it a little fancier, I made a small layer cake with the mascarpone between the layers.
I covered the cake with a stabilized whipped cream flavoured with raspberry and added fresh raspberries to to the top. The cake what what I imagined a red velvet cake was before it became white cake with red dye – a deep reddish brown colour. Very moist and dense in spite of the whipped egg whites folded into it.
Raspberry Whip Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup fresh raspberry purée (seeds strained out)
1 packet unflavoured gelatin
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
Dissolve gelatin in the raspberry purée.
Begin whipping the cream in a stand mixer. Slowly add in the sugar. Leave the mixer run and heat up the gelatin per instructions. Allow to cool a bit but don’t let it set. Drizzle raspberry mixture into cream and continue whipping to the soft peak state.
Since I was using this as a cake ‘frosting’, I immediately applied it to the cake and allowed it to set on the cake. Before the gelatin set:
After gelatin has set:
Anya got to wear her new birthday party skirt too!
This year, I made a banana caramel cake for Anya’s birthday. She assembled her own cake & put the candles on it – messy, but she had a lot of fun. I’d have done more dulce de leche if it wasn’t melting the whipped cream. I made it in the pressure cooker – 15 mins on high @ about 10AM, let the whole thing sit until we made the cake. Microwaving the caramel enough to get it pourable made it too hot to be near the whipped cream. So we spread the caramel on the cake, let that cool a bit, then spread out the cream and topped it with bananas.
Chocolate Chip Butter Cake
3 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for coating the pans
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat to 350 F.
Coat three 8″ round cake pans with butter. Line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment. Dust with flour.
Sift the flour and baking powder together.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until lightened and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times while beating.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients and beat by hand until combined. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Add the remaining dry ingredients and the chocolate chips, beating until combined.
Divide the batter among the pans .
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Set the pans on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks, peel off the parchment, and let cool before frosting.
Whipped cream — mix 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, 2 tbsp maple syrup, and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. Whip until firm peak stage.
Dulce de leche — Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk into a canning jar. Place lid on jar and lightly screw on. Place canning jar in the pressure cooker pot and add enough water to come about halfway up the side. Pressure cook on high for 40 minutes followed by a fifteen minute natural steam release. Remove jar from pressure cooker and allow to cool for another ten minutes. Open jar and stir to smooth out the caramel.
Assembling the cake — take a cake, cover in caramel, top with whipped cream, add slices of bananas, and then add another cake. I sliced off the domes of each cake to ensure the whole thing was relatively flat and stable.
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