A little over a year ago, I met a wonderful man in WV. He had just recently hiked the AT, and seeming as I had a desire to do that myself, I couldn't help but ask 20 questions.
'Did you do anything to train yourself before going out'
'No, not really. I starting eating a lot of butter on my bagels so I could fatten up. I was up to 1/2 stick.'
I couldn't help but think to myself, there are so much more delicious ways to fatten up. So as I was walking through Pittsburgh, I had the sudden and extreme desire to make a triple layered white cake with fluffy pink frosting. I really don't know what spurred that desire, but I knew it wouldn't go away until I did it. So after a solid Bread and Butter making party with some beautiful friends on Saturday afternoon (a solid 4 hours in the kitchen), I came home and decided to spend a few more hours in my own kitchen. And as I set out to make a 3 layer cake, with whipped cream frosting, and I knew that this was in fact a much better way to fatten up.
The cake recipe itself from joyofbaking. com, but I'm going to put it here anyway. The recipe says it is for cupcakes, so I doubled it (which, in retrospect I didn't really need to, one batch would have easily make three thin layers). The cake is fairly dense (as most from scratch cakes seem to be in my experience) and was pretty labor intensive, but I think it turned out well and is worth passing on.
1 3/4 cups (175 grams) sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (I used white vinegar as a replacement)
Separate eggs while they are cold and save both parts in different bowls. Let sit our for about 30 min so they warm. There are a few ways to seperate eggs, but I think the easiest (and certainly most fun) is to crack the egg onto your hand and let the whites drain out, then plop the yolk into another bowl.
Then mix flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Sift. (sifting is important in cakes, but I never do it for other baked goods).
In another bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar and butter (I used homemade butter, from Snowville Creamery Whipping Cream, which made it a) sustainable b) delicious c) extra labor rewarding and d) easy to get super fluffy since the butter was very soft) until its fluffy. Beat in yolks, one at a time. Add vanilla.
Then add in flour mixture, about a third at a time, alternating flour and milk. As this point, it will be very cookie dough like. Don't freak out, it's fine.
Now to the egg whites. Whisk them until they get foamy. Then add vinegar (or cream of tarter, which could result in a less dense cake? maybe? I don't really know what cream of tarter does- nor what it is) and whisk the eggs and vinegar until the foam is able to form soft peaks. Add the rest of the sugar, and bear again until stiff peaks form. Fold this into the cake batter (the recipe emphasizes folding it in, and not over mixing it).
In greased pans, fill the pans about 1/2 way with batter and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 min (maybe set it for 20 and check it) until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let each layer cool, completely. Seriously. Let them cool. (I actually made the cake Sat night, and the frosting Sunday, partially because I was running out of kitchen steam but also I know myself well enough to know I ALWAYS try to frost cakes before they cool.)
So then came the icing, which as far as visuals, is really the reason for making the cake. I decided to run with my hunch from the last cake I baked of using whipping cream and powdered sugar. The results, I must say, is delicious. I don't know the proportions I used, put basically just use a heavy whipping cream and as much powdered sugar as you like sweet, and whip it (whip it good). Don't over whip it, or you could end up with butter. Just until it peaks. The corn starch in the powdered sugar makes it more solid than just whipped cream.
Like I sort of implied, this is probably one of the more calorie intensive cakes I can think of. Full of fat and sugar, but all the ingredients are good ones. Nothing crazy in it, and a cake like this, it takes lots of love to make.
So now, it sits in the fridge, waiting for my favorite part of cooking, for people I love to eat it.