Sunday, April 17, 2011

When Life Gives You Self-Rising Flour...

Dear Mouse,

Ah, spring.

"When birds do sing Hey ding a ding ding/Sweet lovers love the spring" -As You Like It

"Why should a woman cook? So a man can say, 'My wife makes a wonderful cake' ... to some hooker?" - Joan Rivers

It's April. (Freezing, freezing April.) And that can only mean three things: Home, Spring and Birthday Cake! Specifically, your birthday cake! Yes, Home is where the Hart is... and, also, the bag of self-rising flour that I shipped home from Kentucky ... and also a tub of frozen, pink, leftover Magnolia-Cupcake-Recipe-Icing that I made months ago and totally forgot about! Score.

The Magnolia Cupcake recipe, in the form of a two-layer cake, has been my go-to Birthday confection since I first made it for you a few years back. The recipe is ALL about excess--two kinds of flour (self-rising and regular), four eggs in the cake, two boxes of confectioner's sugar. Each time, try as I might to use all the frosting, there is always a significant amount left over (and you know I like me some frosting).

The bag of flour is another story. I'd had it shipped it from Kentucky along with some other baking staples, partly because shipping was free, partly because I couldn't stand to waste it, and partly because I had formed a sort of perverse sentimental attachment to it. It had been, well, meant for someone else's birthday cake. And, well, the night before I was to make it, the idea of "baking" got replaced with "throwing a jealous tantrum in the parking lot" ... and it never happened. (In my defense, it was the Spring Equinox. Also, I was provoked. My point is, no cake. I did stop short of giving him the bag of flour with a candle stuck in it as I'm pretty sure that's a fire hazard oh god it's all so embarrassing let me redeem myself with a dessert recipe.)

Here's the cake I just made for your birthday celebration tonight! Isn't it PRETTY?

OK, 'attractive'? "Striking"? Whatever, it'll taste good.

It's kind of a 'Magnolia-Light" version (HA). Since I only had enough frosting for the top of the cake (rather than the usual all-over and between-layers), I improvised with a strawberries-and-whipped-cream filling. I think the restraint makes for a more Spring-y, hopeful, romantic dessert. I can't wait to try it.

Though now I think of it, this would be perfect for that "pie in the face" comedy sketch we've been working on...

Now, of course you might say it's a bit headstrong and impatient and dare I say perhaps irrational and impulsive to post a recipe before it's been tested, and to that I say,


Happy Birthday! Recipe Below.


The Boo.

The Boo's Magnolia-Style "Sweet Lovers Love the Spring" Birthday Cake

1 1/2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
1 1/4 C Regular Flour
2 sticks (1 C) butter
2 C sugar
1 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the flours in a small bowl, set aside. Cream butter, then gradually add sugar and beat until "fluffy". Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add the flours in THREE parts, alternating with milk and vanilla; mix each time just enough to blend; do not overbeat. Pour it in two round greased cake pans (I used Pam baking spray; yes I did). Bake 20-25 min until a knife comes out clean. COOL - for the love of Mike - COOL them COMPLETELY before attempting to frost.

While cakes bake, make icing...

FOR ICING (I've halved the full recipe here)
1 stick (1/2 C) butter, softened
3 or 4 C (i'm gonna say 1 box) confectioner's sugar
1/4 C milk
1 tsp vanilla

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 C of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla.

beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. To your taste; you may or may not use all the sugar (though if you like magnolia cupcake icing, you will). If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. (NOte from The Boo: It CAN be frozen and then brought back to room temp before spreading).

...and whipped cream filling:

strawberries, several
1 C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
a bit (1/2 tbsp?) powdered sugar if you have it

Beat it til it's whipped cream. Slice a bunch of strawberries, thinly.

When cakes are cool, gently remove from pans. Set first layer on the cake platter. Spread whipped cream thickly across center. Arrange strawberries in single layer. Gently place second cake layer on top the strawberries. Go to town with icing, all over top of the cake and if you wish also around bottom layer (but leave center visible; the whipped cream and berries peeking out look pretty.)


Carry said...

Thanks for sharing your recipe and your tips as well, great help for me as a newbie in the kitchen, just starting ang enjoying cooking.

The Boo said...

good!! this is a fun one to start with.