Friday, July 16, 2010

Baking a Cake!

Last night, I baked what I would say is the best cake I've ever made. Yes, it was random and on a whim, but I decided to put on my apron and test out all of our new appliances and gadgets! I've been dreaming of a KitchenAid stand mixer for years now and I was ecstatic to finally use ours.
So, I decided to make an almond pound cake, one of Kevin's favorites. I chose a vanilla cream cheese frosting and added almond extract to give it that extra oomph. I got both of the recipes from The cake was a recipe from Paula Deen (Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake) and it had a rating of 5 stars, so I knew it was going to be delish. The frosting (Cream Cheese Frosting) also had 5 stars and is so simple, I don't know if I can ever go back to using store bought frosting again! I documented a lot of the steps along the way... enjoy! Here are all of the ingredients for the cake.
First, I started out by creaming the butter and sugar in the mixer. It's really important for the butter to be softened. It makes the process so much easier. Then, once the sugar and butter were sufficiently creamed, I added the sour cream.
With those mixed together, it was time to add the eggs and dry ingredients. I had sifted the flour and baking soda together just before adding to the mixer. You add an egg and some of the flour mixture in alternating fashion until everything is mixed to become the batter.
Then, I added the extracts to the mix and finished it by stirring everything up. This recipe called for 1/2 tsp of orange extract and 1/2 tsp of almond extract. The orange extract is really great and you don't really notice it after it's been baked, but I think it works really well with the sour cream in the batter. Since Kevin loves almond flavoring, I added another 1/2 tsp of almond extract, some people probably would think this is too much, but we loved the added almond flavor!
Once the batter was complete, I poured/dolloped the batter into two 8" cake pans. The original recipe called for a tube pan, but I wanted it to look more like a regular cake, so I opted for normal round pans.
Since I did this, it was important to remember that the cook time would be different for these pans. So, I baked the cakes, checking for done-ness along the way, and they were done at around 60 minutes. Then, they cooled in their pans for 10 minutes and on wire racks for about another 20 minutes.
I had mixed the cream cheese frosting while the cakes were in the oven. I added the 1 tsp of vanilla extract that the recipe called for but then added just a little bit (about 1/4-1/2 tsp) of almond extract for an enhanced flavor. Then, I stacked the cakes and frosted the cake!
I was really proud of the final product, especially since I'd made some changes to the batter, pans, and icing(which could have been disastrous if done wrong)! It was delish and Kevin gobbled his slice up.
I can't wait to see what we'll make next with our new gadgets. I have a long list of recipes to try out, so we'll see what happens!

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