Monday, July 18, 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Vanilla Buttermilk Cake w/ Buttercream and Coconut Pecan

     I'm excited to take part in the Secret Recipe Club again this month.  This month I got my assignment, PheMOMenon,  and went right to work on selecting a recipe. There were so many great choices! I couldn't decide, so I procrastinated like I do every time I don't want to make a decision. I waited until last Thursday when I realized I needed to make my sister a birthday cake. Then I went on a hunt for a non-chocolate cake. What kind of person doesn't like chocolate cake? My sister, that's who.
     In the end, I decided on this Vanilla Buttermilk Cake. Recently, I took a basic cake decorating class, and part of the class included making homemade buttercream icing. I thought this would be a good substitute for the chocolate frosting on PheMOMenon's site....and I knew how to work with the buttercream as that is what we had to use in the class.
     The cake is fabulous! I mean, I should say it's one of the best cakes I've ever had! It smelled just like those birthday cake scented candles as it was baking...and tasted even better when it was done. The recipe instructs that you use three 8-inch round cake pans. Unfortunately, one of my cake pans stuck to the cake (or the other way around) and when I tried to turn it over to cool, it crumbled apart...and this is how I knew, right away, that this was one of the best cakes. Ever. We couldn't stop snacking on the crumbly mess.  Luckily, we had enough self control not to eat the other two layers that did not stick to the pans, and I eventually got to the decorating!
     My sister doesn't like chocolate cake, but she does like the frosting (Coconut Pecan) that is generally on a German Chocolate cake. My mom helped me think up the idea to use that frosting in the Vanilla buttermilk cake. Fabulous idea, Mom! I also used some of the buttercream between layers. Not only was this cake delicious, but it looked pretty too. Everyone was impressed, and my sister had a great birthday (in case you were interested!).

For the cake:
4 whole large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup of buttermilk (I used 1cup milk + 1Tbl vinegar + 1/4 cup plain yogurt)
3 cups of cake flour (I used 2-1/4 cups flour + 6Tbl cornstarch)
2 cups of sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 ounces of butter at room temperature
  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of three 8-inch cake pans. Line with parchment paper and grease the paper.
  • Place the eggs and the yolks in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of buttermilk and whisk all the ingredients well. Set Aside.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a mixer; whisk to blend. Add the remaining buttermilk and butter to the dry ingredients and with the mixer on low speed, blend together. Raise the mixer to medium speed and beat until light fluffy; 2minutes.
  • Add the egg mixture in three additions, scrapping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Divide the batter among all the pans.
  • Bake the cake layers for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto a wire rack covered with wax paper, and remove the paper from the bottoms. Cool completely.
for the frosting: Make half of this if you are just frosting and not decorating with flowers

2 cup vegetable shortening (I know it's buttercream icing, but butter will melt when it's this hot outside!)
2 tsp clear Butter flavoring
16 tsp water
2 lb powdered sugar
2 Tbl powdered egg whites or meringue powder
pinch of salt
1 container of Coconut Pecan frosting
  • Cream shortening, flavoring, and water. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Blend about a minute or until smooth. Do not overmix to prevent air bubbles. 
  • Take out about 2-1/2 cups of the frosting and add 2-1/2 tsp of water to make it a bit thinner. This medium consistency frosting will be used for the flowers.
  • Add 5tsp of water to the remaining icing. Also add icing color as desired. I used blue. This thin consistency icing will be used to ice the cake.
  • Once your cake has cooled completely, cut each cake in half so you will have six layers (I only had 4 since the one crumbled!)
  • Place one layer on your cake plate. Top with the Coconut Pecan frosting (store bought).Place the second layer of cake on top of the Coconut Pecan frosting. Top with thin consistency colored frosting. Repeat until you have stacked all your layers alternating filling between coconut pecan and buttercream. To prevent filling from seeping out, pipe (tip 12) medium consistency (white) icing around the outside ledge of each layer before adding the filling.
  • Frost the cake with the colored buttercream icing.
  • I used coconut pecan frosting to make the tree and flower centers (tip 3) and medium consistency white icing to make the flowers (2D tip)


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      1. Your cake is beautiful.

        I'd love for you to check out my SRC recipe this month: Holy Guacamole.

        Cook Lisa Cook

      2. Your cake looks gorgeous and sound delicious!

      3. Lovely cake! I'm like your sister in that I don't like chocolate cake but I love the coconut pecan frosting so this is right up my alley!

      4. LOL! I love, love, love your decorations on that cake! I'll bet it was fantastic with that filling on it too! It really is such a good cake. I laugh because I know how hard it is to not just eat that cake without it making it to the frosting stages (I fight myself every time!). I'm so glad you were able to find a non-chocolate cake on my blog - goodness knows with my chocolate obsession that that wasn't an easy task! Beautiful job. Thank you! It's lovely to get to know you. Now I'm headed to check out more of your lovely blog.


      5. too funny - my son doesn't care for chocolate cake either! Sounds like an awesome cake you made for your sister thought!

      6. Love the Cake decoration!! your blog..i am following u !!:)

      7. This cake looks delicious!! Great blog you have and so glad to be your newest follower! xoxo

      8. Secret Recipe Club, huh? Sounds fun! I must try this since it is the best cake you have ever had!! Personally, I really love shortening in my frosting. I know a lot of people are scared of it, but I am not!

      9. How beautiful!! I love it. Come link up to my Sweet Treats party this weekend! I'd love to see you there :)

        {Sweet Treats Thursday} Thu-Sun

      10. That is a great recipe. I would love to use the recipe in a shower or birthday cake.
        New follower from Sweets for Saturday. Hope you follow back.

      11. I love how you decorated the top of your cake. Excellent. It made the Top 5 for last week's Sweets for a Saturday. No surprise there!

      12. I can practically smell it from your description. Looks lovely!

        Glad to be part of SRC with you!

        Amy @ A Little Nosh

      13. This buttermilk cake is beautiful! So fun to be in the Secret Recipe Club with you.

      14. I bet this was amazing! I have featured you on SRC today :)

      15. wow, lovely cake dear, my daughter would love this as it doesn't have chocolate!, it's such a lovely time in SRC

      16. You decorated it so gorgeously! And what a deliciously decadent cake. I'll call you when it's my birthday;)

      17. Yum, this looks super delicious! Love the decorations - so pretty! :)

      18. Great job with the decorating--so pretty! The cake looks and sounds AMAZING! Nothing like a homemade cake. Lucky sister!


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