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Friday, July 8, 2016

Happy 6th Anniversary WITK!

It's that time of year to celebrate here at WITK! It's been six years since I first opened up a blogger account and put my fingers to the keyboard to write. Over the years I've gone through pounds and pounds of sugar, butter and flour. I've tested out recipes from Thailand, Spain, Italy, China, Vietnam and countless other countries. I've deep fried, sauteed, crystallized, baked, but most of all, I've had so much fun.

The best part of blogging over the years is being inspired by the other bloggers out there in the world. I'm constantly amazed at the creativity of the bakers and home cooks living in the blogosphere. Reading through my Bloglovin' feed tempts me to try new things and motivates me to up my game.

However, recently I've been feeling decidedly uncreative. My time has been taken up by work, travel and life and I haven't been able to spend as much time as I would like here at WITK. This is the reason why my anniversary cake for 2016 is more than a little inspired by Sweetapolita. This cake is directly pulled from her 2015 cookbook. The colors were so cheerful and vibrant, the sprinkles so happy and bright, I decided not to deviate from the original design.

Thankfully, I have a few life changes planned in the next few months. These upcoming changes will hopefully bring me more time for creativity and baking! I have a massive desire to finish my 2015 and 2016 challenges and bring you all more candy than your teeth can handle. Until that time, please enjoy this beautiful cake. It is not only stunning, it is super delicious. Major kudos go to Rosie from Sweetapolita. She is such a talented baker and businesswoman. I want to buy all of her sprinkles!

Thank you all for coming along on this journey with me!

One Year Ago: Strawberry Cake
Two Years Ago: Neapolitan Cake
Three Years Ago: Milky Way Cake
Four Years Ago: Buffalo Sponge Candy Cake
Five Years Ago: Banana Coconut Muffins
Six Years Ago: Chocolate Cupcakes (with high altitude recipe)

Yum, Sprinkles!

Vibrant Rainbow Celebration Cake
Minorly adapted from The Sweetapolita Bakebook

Vanilla Cake

I used a kitchen scale to not only weigh out my ingredients, but also weigh out the cake batter evenly into six bowls for coloring. You don't need to be as accurate as this and you can eyeball the amounts in each bowl. I just really wanted my cake layers to be perfectly even!

3 1/4 (375g) cake flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups (450g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
7 large egg whites, room temperature
Americolor gel paste food coloring - electric blue, electric green, electric orange, electric purple, turquoise and deep pink

Using a kitchen scale, weigh the bowl of your stand mixer. Write this number down.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn mixer on low and add butter one piece at a time. Mix on low until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is crumbly.

Divide milk equally between two measuring cups with a spout. Add vanilla extract and lemon to one half and whisk to combine. Add egg whites to the second half and whisk gently.

With mixer on medium-low, slowly stream in milk, vanilla and lemon mixture. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula. Turn mixer on medium-low and stream in milk and egg white mixture. Beat for 2 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl at the one minute mark.

Weigh the bowl again, with the cake batter included. Subtract this amount from the original weight of the bowl. Divide this number by six. This is the amount of batter that you should weigh into each bowl.  (example - my bowl weighed 782g empty and 2366g full. 2366-782 = 1584g. 1584/6 = 264g per bowl)

Using the kitchen scale, weigh out batter into six small bowls.  Tint each bowl of batter. You will need quite a few drops of food coloring to get the vibrant colors in my picture. Add food coloring a little at a time and stir to incorporate.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 2 (or 4) 8-inch round pans - coat with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Pour one of the colored batters into one of the prepared pans. Pour another into the second pan. Spread the batter evenly into the bottom of the pan. The batter will be very thin.

Place two pans in the oven and bake for 11-13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and remove cake from the pan, let cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining batters.

Vanilla Swiss Buttercream

This buttercream is delicious, but it took a bit of assistance to come together. Once I was done adding the butter, the frosting was more like a glaze - soupy. I popped the bowl in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool and harden. I then whipped the frosting on medium speed and it fluffed right up. 

7 large egg whites
1 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Place egg whites and sugar in a heat proof bowl. Set a saucepan with 1-inch of water over a low flame. Place bowl on top of the simmering water and clip on a candy thermometer. Slowly whisk the egg whites until the temperature reaches 130 F.

Pour egg white mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer and attach whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until the egg whites are at stiff peak stage and are shiny and thick. Decrease the speed to low and beat until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch.

Switch to paddle attachment and add pieces of butter one at a time, beating on low. Beat until smooth and all of the butter is incorporated. Add vanilla and salt, beat for 2 minutes.

Assemble the cake! You can choose to put the cake layers in whatever order you like, I decided to copycat the order from the Sweetapolita cookbook. I wasn't feeling very creative and just wanted my cake to look pretty!

You will also need these sprinkles! They are the Sweetapolita Carousel Sprinkles.

Set purple cake on a cake board or cake stand. Place this on top of a turntable (for ease of decorating, skip it if you don't have one). Top with 1/4 cup of white frosting. Using a small offset spatula, spread out frosting into an even layer. Top with remaining cake layers, filling each with 1/4 cup of white frosting. Once the cake is six layers high, top with 1/2 cup of white frosting and smooth over the entire cake - creating a crumb coat. Put cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden the crumb coat.

Set cake on a large baking sheet. Press sprinkles onto the sides of the cake. Collect any fallen sprinkles from the baking sheet and press them into the cake.

Tint remaining frosting with the turquoise food coloring. Take cake from the fridge and cover with turquoise frosting. Smooth out using a large offset spatula. Transfer some frosting to a piping bag with a large decorating tip. Pipe swirls or waves on top border of the cake. Toss some sprinkles on the top of the cake. Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Time to party!
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