I can't believe it's already the weekend! And you know what this means: it's that time of the week when I bake sweets. I got the recipe for today’s dessert from the amazing Gesine Bullock-Prado's book, “Bake It Like You Mean It”. I prepared two génoise cakes, and once they came out of the oven, I drizzled them with a bit of rum, then let them cool to room temperature. The next steps were to prepare the frosting of the cake and chocolate decoration.
To be in tune with the upcoming Thanksgiving season, I made a cranberry jam buttercream frosting, which is ultra easy. I know I'm not a professional baker just by looking at the photo but there were at least three good things I could comment about: the cake definitely looked homemade, I used a pretty serving platter to counteract the aesthetic of the cake, and most important, it tasted divine. Note to self: stick to cupcakes!
Servings: 10 servings
2 pre-baked génoise cakes
⅛ teaspoon salt
¾ cup cranberry jam (or the preserves of your choice)
4 tablespoons half and half, up to 6 tablespoons
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, up to 6 cups
1 pure vanilla bean
3 tablespoons spiced rum (or the alcohol of your choice)
⅛ teaspoon red food coloring powder (see tips), even less!
For the cake sheets:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease 2 non-stick (9" round) cake pans (you could use any other shape you have available in your kitchen) with butter.
Bake the cakes for 30 minutes at 350°F (time will vary depending on the size of the pan). The texture of the cake should be very soft and moist. A skewer or a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean.
Prick the cakes with chopsticks or a skewer, then drizzle rum over the hot cakes. Let cool to room temperature
Unmold the cakes on cooling racks.
For the vanilla: Using a paring knife, scrape and gather all the grains of the vanilla bean (see tips).
For the cranberry jam: Reserve ¼ cup jam for the filling and blend the rest in a mini-blender until smooth. Set aside.
For the cranberry jam buttercream frosting:
Into a bowl, sift the remaining powdered sugar.
In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, whip the butter to soften it. Slowly add the powdered sugar, cranberry jam and half and half until the texture is even. Add the vanilla grains and beat for another 2 minutes until the texture is smooth and creamy.
Make sure the cakes have cooled completely.
Place one sheet of cake onto a cake stand, placing 2 rectangles of parchment paper beneath the cake (for easy release later).
Cover the cake with a thick layer of the reserved cranberry jam and smooth it out using a spreader; this acts as the 'glue' when you place the second sheet of cake on top.
Cover the top and sides of the cake with the buttercream frosting. Level with a spatula. I also used a cake decorator to smooth out the edges.
Pipe the remaining buttercream around the edges of the cake.
Melt 4 ounces 70% cocoa dark chocolate, pipe the melted chocolate (I made a funnel from parchment paper), then wrote "Giving Thanks" on a silicone mat. Let harden, then transfer to the top of the cake as a garnish.
For an adult version, I drizzle a little spiced rum (up to ¼ cup) over the génoise cakes prior to assembling them. You could either omit it or using a simple syrup.
After scraping the grains of vanilla, don't discard the remaining vanilla bean. Just place it in a jar and cover it with regular granulated sugar. Let it sit for a few weeks and you'll have nice, fragrant vanilla sugar. You could also use it to flavor any dairy products by boiling milk or cream with the vanilla bean for making drinks or custard.
I decorated the cake by creating long stripes using a cake decorator I bought at Daiso, the Japanese version of a 99-cent store (Unfortunately, the store shut down in Mountain View, CA). If you don't have one, you could simply use a spreader or a fork to score lines along the length of the cake.
You can find food coloring powder in most Indian markets.