I have been reading recipes and reviews on different sites, blogs, and pinterest boards for the last 3 days and I am completely overwhelmed! A friend requested a white cake (vanilla, chiffon, whatever) with strawberry frosting and/or filling. But for every positive comment I read, there is a negative one, and then there are all the substitutions and recommended changes!!!
I am a newbie and I am starting to think I should just go buy a cake! Am I too inexperienced to tackle a white cake, which apparently comes with many issues concerning peaks (soft peaks, stiff peaks, glossy peaks), too eggy, too crumbly, cracking, not rising, mushrooming, and not enough flavor?!?
I do have a digital scale but not specifically for food (not sure if that makes a difference.) I don't have a butter thermometer to be sure it's 68 degrees or colder, but I could look for one. I have never heard of vanilla bean paste, I thought the meringue was a dance, and I have no idea what the altitude is in my kitchen! Should I just give up or can someone please help me?!?
Thank you so much! Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.
I like the WASC (white almond sour cream) recipe. It hasn't failed me yet and I get requests for it a lot. I'll share my strawberry cream frosting recipe if you want me to private message you. I really like the combination of the wasc and the fresh strawberries, just made it for my sister's baby shower cake. Don't get overwhelmed, people just have different tastes, that's why there are good and bad comments. If you're concerned you're not going to like it, do a test run before just for a tasting. Save the recipes you like and toss or change the ones you don't like to fit your tastes.
If you're just starting out, the cake extenders (like the wasc recipe) start with a box mix and are pretty foolproof. Scratch baking is a lot more precise and takes a lot more practice, IMHO.
Hang in there, don't let all the information suck the fun out of it...it is cake, after all, not heart surgery (which my dad just had so it keeps things in perspective).
Big hug to you..take a deep breath..it's gonna be ok.
Just remember *EACH* of us has different taste buds so there will be different opinions as to what is THE BEST.
I tend to love, Love, LOVE!! my *original* WASC cake recipe. Do try it - I think you will fine it very taste, moist, easy to mix up and work with.
You can make it with *ANY* cake flavor. You can make it into a strawberry swirl cake by adding spoonfuls of "simply fruit" jam (or any good quality brand) or you can mix into the batter about 1/2 pkg of UNsweetened KoolAid powder :)
For b'cream do try this one http://cakecentral.com/a/2-icing Again, do read through the whole post for suggestions, helpful hints and comments.
When I was first hanging out on the blogs and forums I was trying to find the perfect carrot cake and the perfect cream cheese icing. I was finding all sorts of subtle and large variations in recipes from one to the other and it frustrated me as I was looking for THE ONE perfect recipe. In my precise brain I was thinking that there was this one best recipe out there, I just had to find it. I eventually realized that there is no one best recipe for anything for a lot of reasons, taste and consistency preferences as well as many others. Also, baking cakes and making icings, in spite of there being a lot of science involved, is mainly a gray area. There are lots of perfect carrot cake recipes and lots of perfect cream cheese icing recipes. There are many, many ones that will work just fine. Just pick one that is relatively simple. No thermometer required. Pick one that doesn't have a lot of crazy ingredients, doesn't have 12 different steps and give it a shot. I suspect that a lot of the complainers didn't actually follow the instructions completely or did some substitutions then complain and wonder what went wrong. You can do this, just don't overthink it.
You guys are AWESOME! Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to respond to my cry for help! Each one of you said exactly what I needed to hear! I am going to do the WASC cake, it's actually the one I was leaning toward when I first began my search. I'm not sure which version yet, but I'll definitely let you know how it turns out!
SIXINAROW, I have taken some time away, or deep breaths, and you're so right. It's CAKE!!!! Hello?!? I would absolutely love to use your strawberry cream frosting recipe. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! So what if it's not fantastic the first time, I'll just keep working on it until it is! Also, I do hope your dad is doing okay after his heart surgery - which is something to stress about! I will keep him in my prayers.
KAKELADI, thank you for the links! I am going to check them out after I post this reply. It sounds like a baker needs to have one of these on her set list since it's such a good base for so many other cakes. I do like buttercream icing, so I will be practicing that one as well. Wow, I am actually excited again, like I was in the beginning, before I got all neurotic! (Sadly, it is my nature.)
DENETTEB, you are spot on with the "perfect recipe." I think I was doing the exact same thing. I was looking for THE ONE! I wanted it to be perfect, so I just kept reading and reading and before you know it, I was so overwhelmed I was ready to give up!
Thank you all again! I love this website! I'm going to start making my shopping list, and then head to the store for my supplies. Tomorrow I'm going to bake till the cows come home!
Oh, and one more thing, is it okay to use a small digital desk scale (which I normally use for ebay shipping) for weighing ingredients, or is that a completely different thing?
Thanks again, can't wait to get started! Have a great weekend!
AThe scale I use is one from Harbor Freight, a discount tool and hardware store. I don't see why your postal scale wouldn't work. I mainly use a scale to measure shortening and to make sure my batter amount is even when I split a batch into two pans.
"I thought the meringue was a dance"
Thanks so much for your help everyone! I used my postal scale to weigh each of my layers... that was another great idea for which I am very thankful DENETTEB!
I used KAKELADI'S original WASC recipe and it went off without a hitch. It was easy too. It baked beautifully, looks gorgeous, and tastes great.
I did mess up the icing though. I ended up making a puree of a whole pint of berries, instead of the half cup the recipe called for. I also only used half the amount of butter I needed. I ended up with frosting/icing which resembles a dipping sauce... albeit a very tasty strawberry dipping sauce! At times I think I don’t belong in the kitchen. But then again, some of us need to learn the hard way.
I have had my "dipping sauce" in the fridge for a couple hrs hoping it would thicken, to no avail. My next step is to add more powdered sugar in small increments.
Does anyone have any ideas if that doesn't work? Start over... or try something else, right?!?
It sounds like you are making American buttercream. Make more of the base frosting recipe (butter and powdered sugar without the strawberries) with less liquid so it is stiffer, then add your "strawberry dip" until you get the right consistency and flavor intensity you wanted. Good luck!