That’s maybe a little prosaic for a title, but it’s hot and I’m cranky and don’t feel like thinking up a cutesey-pie title, mmmkay?
The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum is the last best word on baking cakes ever written. This is not up for discussion. Anyone who wants to learn how to bake a cake beyond a box of Betty Crocker would do well to get this because it explains everything about the science behind making cakes. Everything from a very simple pound cake to an extravagant triple-layered dotted Swiss cake, folded chocolate pages, cake with trellised roses – it’s in here, with careful directions and sources for equipment.
One important lesson I took away from this book is about sifting. It does not mix ingredients; it aerates them. I had thought this for a long time but Beranbaum actually wrote her thesis on it. So those instructions in most recipes that read, “sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together”? Pffft.
I have made the Buttermilk Country Cake from this book dozens of times and it’s always perfect. Yesterday I wanted to make it but didn’t have buttermilk and didn’t want to run to the store. I also wanted to cut down on the fat and sugar a bit. I adapted the recipe and it turned out very well. The next time I make it, I will use almond extract instead of the vanilla.
LESS-SWEET, LESS FAT CAKE
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons softened butter
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10-inch springform pan, line it with wax paper or parchment paper, then grease again and flour.
Combine the eggs, 1/4 cup of the yogurt, and the vanilla and lemon extracts in a small bowl and mix with a fork until there are no lumps of yogurt remaining. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and remaining yogurt and beat until dry ingredients are moistened, then increase speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture in 3 batches, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed.
Scrape batter into pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool 10 minutes on a rack, then run a knife around the inside of the pan. Loosen the sides and remove, then invert cake onto rack. Remove the paper, invert right-side-up, and let cool completely.
To serve, cut into wedges. Slice each wedge in half horizontally and fill with fruit. Top with sour cream, whipped cream, or ice cream. Here I used nonfat sour cream and a hot cherry filling.