April 15, 2013

super-fluffy sponge cake {my birthday's sweet treats}

Hi there! I haven’t blog for the last whole month – kind of busy with school works actually. So this is going to be a long long post because I've been eager to talk mini cake, cupcakes and cake pops with full of photos! Wish you wouldn't mind :)

So last Friday marks my 22nd year of life. Twenty-two seems like one of those unusual ages that are neither here nor there. I'm not old (though some days I may feel it), but I'm not so young anymore either. People say this is the right time to get married. I have to say – Maybe? (Thanks for your pray, friends!). I can’t really remember when the last time I had my birthday cake either but of course, those classic vanilla cakes with pink icing topped with cute miniatures are absolutely my kind of cakes! I have to admit – I went crazy any time I saw cakes, pink and mini things. Till now, this is the first time I bake my own birthday cake. And I just couldn't resist them to be in pinks :)

Mini cakes are really fun to make; faster, cuter and the best thing is you can experiment any cake you want – be creative and have fun! Personally, I never love a lot of frosting on my cakes. I love to keep them simple, with minimal icing so it will not be overwhelming. Hey don’t be skeptical at the first sight, they might look a bit daunting to make but it’s just actually my go-to super-fluffy sponge cake. It took me the whole year to find a cake that is really simple to make yet so decadent and this is definitely a keeper to me. I made a batch of it and divided into three uneven portions. The first one was baked in mini tins with three batches, tinted with 3 pink hues, followed by three mini cupcakes and the rest was – A hah, for cake pops!

Speaking of those fun cake pops, it was my first attempt on them – coated with white chocolate mixed with strawberry flavor as well and the kiddos love them a lot. Well, no one was born with talent in making pops, so one or two of them fell off from the sticks but wait, please help yourself not to eat them straight away while on progress. They are so good! And if you have children, they will love to give you a hand :) Okay back to the topic, they are really easy to make but you need some techniques and practices to make smooth and beautiful cake pops. Apart from that, they are perfectly perfect for parties and door gifts. I will surely make more and more cakey pops after this! Just one thing to keep in mind, from my experience basically, you need a sturdier cake to make cake pops like vanilla cakes, chocolate cakes, red velvet cakes or any kind of your cake as long as they do not have very delicate crumbs. I found that sponge cakes are not suitable to make cake pops as they are too soft and their crumbs didn't hold up even after ‘gluing’ them with a bit of melted chocolate. So they are not for making cupcake bouquets as they will surely fall off as well. On the side note, they tend to taper after being baked and shrink oh my goodness.

Oh, let’s talk mini cake for one more time, I promise this is the last time, alright? I’m so much addicted to Pinterest lately. I can't believe I used to hate it – because they look messy over here and there. I have no idea when the first time I signed up for it. Or rather, I'm addicted to the foodporn I see on it. So I have to say thank you to Pinterest this time because it was where the inspiration for my birthday Pink Ombre Cake came from with some slight alternations on it. I don’t want to brag, really, but every single layer was perfect. I mixed in the cream cheese frosting with a couple drop of strawberry paste, spreading thinly in between – thumbs up! Every layer complimented each other brilliantly. I was happy of myself for planning it out and allowing my plans and imaginations to come to fruition successfully :) Since I’m a self-taught home baker, I don’t have basic things on baking cakes except learning from You-Tube and food blogs. This time I really have some improvement after struggling in crumb coating and frosting a cake, I think. But at least way better than this cake. Smoother, cleaner and well frosted. Truthfully, I just got my hand on an offset spatula (It was the one that did the ‘magic’.  Me gusta!).

And maybe you would want to wear something pink? :)

With two more birthdays of our family members coming up along next week, I think this month is the right time to gain some fats. Not really. I just love cupcakes.  And cake.  And, well, cookies are kinda nice too. That is why I choose April as my favorite month of all – we are going to celebrate the birthdays of three of us all together with lot of loves next week! Good luck and enjoy <3


for the sponge cake
1. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs and cake softener in a clean and dry mixing bowl.
2. Beat on high speed until thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
3. Lower the mixer speed and add milk, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add vanilla extract and continue beating on high speed until very light and well-incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Fold in vegetable oil by hand with a rubber spatula until well-combined.
5. Preheat oven to 160-170 degrees C. Divide the batter into 3 portions of ½, ¼ and ¼.

to make the mini cake
1. Line and grease 3 4” baking tins with baking paper (or just reuse one pan).
2. Take the ½ batter portion and divide into 3 same size bowls. Add color with 3 different hues in each bowl.
3. Bake each layer for about 15 minutes. Let to completely cool before layering and frosting.

to make the cupcakes
1. Take the ¼ batter portion and fill cupcake liners evenly until ¾ full. Bake for 15 minutes. Frost and decorate as desired as they cool.

to make the cake pops**
1. Take another ¼ batter portion and bake in the greased and line mini baking pan for 20 minutes. Let it to completely cool.
2. Crumble baked cake with your fingers and mix in frosting until a malleable dough forms. Form dough into balls, place on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Melt a bit of the chocolate and dip ends of lollipop sticks in melted chocolate before inserting into cake balls. Return cake balls to fridge for another 10-15 minutes.
4. Melt the rest of the chocolate in a deep bowl. Submerge each cake pop in the melted chocolate and gently tap the stick on the side of the bowl to help shake off any excess coating – you can decorate with sugar balls before they dry up. Invert cake pops onto a wax-paper lined surface and allow to dry completely.

for the cream cheese frosting
1. Cream the cream cheese and butter until well combined and fluffy on high speed.
2. Add icing sugar and continue beating, scraping the side of the bowl. Add strawberry paste and a tablespoon of milk one at a time. Add more milk until you get the desired consistency.

- *You can simply omit this out if you don’t have this on hand but the addition will give the real super-fluffy texture, I promise. Other alternative, replace with buttermilk by adding 1 tsp. white vinegar to the milk.
- **You can watch Cake Pops Demonstration video here.

- When making cake pops, you need to work fast as working with melted chocolate because they tend to harden fast. If your candy coating or white chocolate is too thick, try adding a teaspoon of vegetable shortening or oil for silkier finish.
- I used an empty Serikaya tin to bake most of my mini cakes (about 4 inches in diameter). Cool huh?
- I didn't really use much coloring, but if you don't like the idea of coloring your cake, just keep it natural! It's all good.
- My frosting seems to be runny because I halved the above frosting recipe – like I said, I don’t love a lot of them. Anyway, they were just nice and enough for my 3 kind of cakes. Know what? It tastes like strawberry ice-cream! <3 
- You can bake the cake in three different batches a day ahead of time and crumb-coat the mini cake and then refrigerate it. Next, you can decide how many cupcakes you want depending on the batter you have. With the rest of it, I bake another layer of cake in the mini tin for cake pops as well and let to completely cool and immediately store in an airtight container.
- The next day (or right on the night), you can frost the mini cake either thinly or thickly as desired. At this point, you don’t want the frosting mixed with a bit of crumbles during the process and put it in a separate bowl. Some people will throw them away but I just saved it for the cake pops.
- As it is hard to know how much is the exact frosting you need for cake pops, crumble the cool cake from the container and mix with some frosting just until you get the play-dough consistency. Use the remaining frosting to frost the cupcakes. It is okay to have extra frosting on the cupcakes but not in the cake pops. You don’t want to waste any of them either!

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