Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Pink Lady Cake
With a name this enticing, I'm amazed it took me so long to make this cake. It was possibly because the original recipe involved strawberry jelly crystals and boxed white cake mix. Leave it to Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen to find a way to transform a cake beloved of little girls all over America into a more wholesome (in relative terms - the cake still contains a LOT of sugar) celebration of strawberries. I've just come from the northern hemisphere, where strawberries were sprouting in farmers' market for summer, and having returned to Sydney, spied the most juicy Queensland winter ones at my local fruit and veg. So within the space of weeks, I'd made this cake in each season, first for a four year old, then for a friend turning forty. It works for both ages. As much for the cream cheese icing as the pop of pink within. Speaking of pink - while the mixture just flavoured with fruit will be bright as can be, when baked - without an extra drop or two of food colouring - will be disappointingly beige. I found out the hard way, on the four year old's cake. For the fortieth (pictured here), I perhaps upped the colour too much, but who cares? The scent of strawberries comes through strongly, and, with a little help, you can see them too.
Pink Lady Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen
I've amended Deb's method quite a bit to aerate the mixture as much as possible, after a warning from a friend of mine who found the cake when she made it to be tough. I had better luck by beating the egg whites and creaming the butter and sugar til light and fluffy. If strawberries are out of season or unavailable, you can easily use frozen. I used freeze-dried raspberries bought in Copenhagen as a decoration around the top. I'm not sure these are as easily available outside Scandinavia, but you could always use regular raspberries, or indeed strawberries.
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup pureed strawberries
4 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
1/3 cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food colouring (to make the pink color pop more)
cream cheese frosting
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 oz unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
Butter two layer cake tins. Line with baking paper and butter the paper.
Cream butter and sugar together til pale. Add pureed strawberries and food colouring. Fold in dry ingredients - flour, baking powder and salt - alternately with milk, then finally beaten egg whites.
Divide mixture between two tins and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.
Make frosting by beating all ingredients together til light and fluffy and spread over cooled cakes. Spread frosting over the top of one cake, place the other on top, repeat process, then frost around the sides - or leave sides open for the contrast of colour.