Black & White Vintage Cakes
“The very pink of perfection” (a quote by She Stoops to Conquer playwright and poet Oliver Goldsmith) was inscribed at the top of my friend Anne’s “From My Sweet Heart” blog. Then, I saw her pink cake and swooned. After I picked myself up, ogled a few more photos and post, I saw that Anne was a member of The Cake Slice Bakers.
Curious, I e-mailed Anne. I was introduced to Paloma at her blog, The Coffee Shop. She’s the leader of The Cake Slice Bakers. Her treats and recipes are irresistible. And Paloma is sweeter than her baked goods.
Excited to be a part of this formidable group of ladies called The Cake Slice Bakers, I took on this month’s assignment of baking a Black & White Cake from Vintage Cakes cookbook. (Variations of shapes e.g. cupcakes, Bundt cakes are allowed.) Suddenly, popping up on Facebook were previews of fellow contributors’ completely professional cakes! This confirmed my suspicion that I was part of an elite group. Gulp.
When faced with performance anxiety, poetry brings peace to this Ninja Baker. The words of poet and playwright, William Shakespeare are among the best comforters in the world. (I also adore Basho’s haiku and the poetry of Rumi and Wordsworth.) Who’s your favorite poet?
Meditating Monk Cartoon Credit
Around age 10, the Royal Shakespeare Company arrived in Tokyo and performed a string of soliloquies. I was mesmerized. I’ve been in love with the Bard ever since. Thank goodness, I remembered lines from Measure for Measure:
“Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt.”
Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene 4, Lines 87-89
So, step by step I tackled the three separate recipes, which together are known as the Black & White cake.
The Ninja Baker's cupcakes rendition of the Black & White Cake
First, the chocolate cake base. Fine quality cocoa, hot coffee, full fat sour cream and vanilla extract are combined. Next, standard sifting of flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. In yet another bowl, 5 ounces of butter along with white and brown sugars are creamed. All ingredients get mixed together and a luscious I’m-back-in-a-Parisian-patisserie kind of rich, moist deep chocolate cake is the result. (My cupcakes took 25 minutes to bake in a 350 oven.)
The 3-hour process of the ganache followed. 3 hours may sound intimidating to some like yours truly. But, as I followed the Vintage Cakes instructions (on page 146), I was elated to discover a successful not too runny – perfect for frosting cupcakes ganache.
The third step was my biggest fear. I strongly dislike wasting food and money. And the vanilla buttercream recipe called for 6 egg whites to be hand whisked over simmering hot water. I forged ahead and even employed my candy thermometer as directed in the instructions. At 130 degrees plus, the mixture was carried over to the KitchenAid. Bless the author of Vintage Cakes. For bakers just like me she writes, “At some point, the buttercream will take on a curdled appearance; don’t worry, this is normal. Just keep on mixing until it comes together.”
And it did! Deliciously.
Click here for other variations on this delightful Black & White Cake made by fellow Cake Slice Bakers.
Wishing you courage when winds of change blow.
The Ninja Baker
© ™ Watkinson 2012
The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.