Weeknight Cake-making

January 14, 2012 § 5 Comments

It has taken a while, but I finally managed to get the electricity adapter I need to convert my US appliances for use in our apartment here in Jerusalem. I was beside myself with joy to turn on my mixer again for the first time, and was talking to my food processor, like a batty old lady, apologizing for keeping him in the cupboard for so long…

I had two immediate thoughts when I heard those little motors purr to life: devil’s food cake with strawberries & frosting, and walnut basil pesto.

It's the start of strawberry season here in Israel, and this year's crop is GORGEOUS

Elbowing my way to the basil

I used my favorite devil’s food cake recipe for the cake’s base, and a fantastic “marshmallow” frosting recipe that is dairy-free, smooth, silky deliciousness. For the pesto, I simply made my favorite dairy-free, free-form version which includes walnuts, lots of basil and some fruity, organic olive oil, delivered by our egg and honey man, Amnon.

Enjoy!

Super-spreadable Fluffy White Icing, adapted from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri

You need a little patience to make this swiss meringue recipe, but I promise it will pay off. The most important thing to remember is to whisk continuously, both while the meringue is over the bain-marie (simmering water) and once you pull it off the heat, until it has reached the desired texture. 

4 large egg whites

large pinch of salt

2/3 cup sugar (I use organic/natural sugar)

1/2 cup light corn syrup (do NOT grease your cup to help the corm syrup slide out! Your egg whites will not firm up if mixed with even a tiny drop of oil)

Half-fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Combine the whites, salt, sugar, and corn syrup in the bowl of an electric mixer (or any bowl, if you are using a hand-mixer — just make sure the bowl sits over the water, not in the water). Whisk ingredients by hand, just to combine.

Regulate the heat under the pan so that it boils gently and place the bowl on the pan. Whisk gently, just to keep the mixture moving, until it is hot (~130°F/55°C) and the sugar is dissolved. Place the bowl on the mixer and whip with the whisk attachment until the icing has cooled and becomes white and fluffy. It will look silky and will hold medium-firm peaks.

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