White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream

Before Ingredient, I didn’t bake. The precision and patience required to complete a bake drives me mad. And then there’s the chance you won’t know something is a disaster until the end. Hard pass. I’ll stick to cooking thankyouverymuch.

Not baking at Ingredient was a non-option. The remedy: I started a pie club with a couple of friends outside of work, and at work, baked through recipes like this and this and this.

My pre-bake routine

  1. Playlist on
  2. Recipe read fully. Twice.
  3. All ingredients prepped exactly as listed, both weight and temperature

My latest adventure in baking was to tackle BraveTart’s (aka. Stella Parks) White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream. *gulp* Three layers. Okay. Homemade frosting. I can do this. Oh, you have to make homemade marshmallows for the frosting first?! *gulp*

The reviews made it worth it…

“It tastes like wedding cake.”

“It’s so light.”

“The frosting is delicious. I was expecting it to be sweeter, but I like that it isn’t.”

“It reminds me of angel’s food cake.”

White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream slice

White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream

Ingredients:

The buttercream

  • 1 packet (2 14 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 14 cup (2 ounces) cool tap water to bloom the gelatin
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract and/or 
1 vanilla bean
  • 34 cup (6 ounces) water for the sugar syrup
  • 34 cup plus 2 tablespoons (10 ounces) light corn syrup
  • 2 cups (14 12 ounces) sugar
  • 12 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (half as much if iodized)
  • 5 sticks (20 ounces) unsalted butter, soft but cool–about 65°F

The cake

  • 4 cups (16 ounces) bleached cake flour such as Swans Down
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, pliable but cool—about 65°F
  • 23 cup (4 ounces) virgin coconut oil, solid but cream–about 70°F
  • 14 cups (16 ounces) sugar
  • 12 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 34 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (half as much if iodized)
  • 1 cup (8 12 ounces) egg whites (from 8 large eggs), brought to about 70°F
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) cultured low-fat buttermilk, brought to about 70°F

Directions:

  • To better synchronize the downtime in both recipes, start the Marshmallow Buttercream before the cake. First, make the marshmallow base: In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with 2 ounces (14 cup) cool tap water and vanilla extract, if using. If using a vanilla bean, split lengthwise with a paring knife, run the flat of the blade down each half to scrape out the seeds, and add to the gelatin without stirring. (Reserve the pod for another project.)
  • Combine remaining 6 ounces (34 cup) water, corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a 3-quart stainless steel pot and set over medium heat. Stir mixture with a fork until bubbling, about 5 minutes, then increase heat to medium-high. Clip on a digital thermometer and cook, without stirring, until the clear syrup registers 250°F, about 8 minutes.
  • Transfer thermometer to the bowl of a stand mixer and pour in the hot syrup all at once, scraping the pot with a heat-resistant spatula. Cool to exactly 212°F, about 8 minutes, then add gelatin. With the whisk attachment, mix on low speed until the gelatin is melted, then increase to medium-high and whip until thick, snowy white, roughly tripled in volume, and beginning to ball up around the whisk, about 10 minutes. Scrape into a greased 4-cup container, cover tightly, and let stand at cool room temperature until thick and firm, at least 2 hours, or up to 1 week.
  • While the marshmallow cream is resting, start the cake: Adjust an oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 325°F. Line three 8-by-3-inch anodized aluminum cake pans with parchment and grease with pan spray; if you don’t have three pans, the remaining batter can be held at room temperature for up to 3 hours. (The cakes will brown more and rise less in 2-inch pans.) Sift the flour (if using cup measures, spoon into the cups and level with a knife before sifting) and set aside. Combine butter, coconut oil, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to moisten, then increase to medium and cream until fluffy and light, about 5 minutes, pausing to scrape the bowl and beater halfway through. With the mixer running, add the egg whites one at a time, followed by vanilla and almond extracts.Reduce speed to low and sprinkle in one-third of the flour, followed by one-third of the buttermilk. Alternate between the two, allowing each addition to be roughly incorporated before adding the next. Once smooth, fold with a flexible spatula to ensure it’s well mixed from the bottom up. Divide among the prepared cake pans, about 22 ounces each.
  • Bake until the cakes are firm but pale, browned only around the very edges, about 40 minutes (or 210°F). A toothpick inserted into the center will emerge with a few crumbs still attached, and your fingertip will leave a slight indentation in the puffy crust. Cool until no trace of warmth remains, about 90 minutes.
  • While the cakes are cooling, finish the buttercream. Transfer marshmallow base to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whipping on medium speed, begin adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting for about 5 seconds after each addition. The fluffy creme will cling to the whisk at first but loosen as the butter is incorporated. Once combined, scrape the bowl with a flexible spatula and whip a minute more. The buttercream should be light and creamy but thick enough to hang upside down from a spoon. If it seems stiff or dense (feeling greasy rather than melting on your tongue), scoop a cup into a small bowl and microwave until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Return the melted buttercream to the bowl and whip 15 seconds on medium-high. Conversely, if it seems loose or gooey, refrigerate the entire bowl 15 minutes, then whip 3 minutes on medium-high.
  • Loosen the cakes from their pans with a knife. Invert onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment, and reinvert. Crumb-coat and frost with Marshmallow Buttercream. Serve immediately or store under a cake dome or an inverted pot; the frosted cake will keep for up to 24 hours at room temperature. After cutting, wrap leftover slices individually and store at room temperature for up to 2 days more.


Right now

Eating right now

Milkjam Creamery ice cream. To celebrate Women’s History Month, Milkjam has renamed all of its flavors to be badass ladies. I can’t get enough of the Ilhan Omar and the Notorious R.B.G.

milkjamcreamery.com   ice cream flavors   ilhan omar and rbg

 

Cooking right now

Crispy roasted red cabbage. You thinly slice red cabbage, place it on a baking sheet with some olive oil and coarse salt, toss it and spread it out. Roast it for 30-40 minutes at 425º. They’re shoestring-potato crispy when done. I’ve been eating the cabbage with grated hard-boiled eggs and hot sauce. Weeknight dinner done fast and right.

 

Listening to right now

Radio Cherry Bombe. Interesting women sharing their stories of and innovations in the food world? Subscribe. My recent favorite was where host Kerry Diamond talks to food stylist Susan Spungen. Susan was the founding Food Editor at Martha Stewart Living and worked on the films Eat, Pray, Love and Julie & Julia.

Before now.

 

 


Right now

Drinking right now

Feral Beverage Co. I ran into this small-batch craft kombucha brewer by chance one day when I was picking up a CSA share at Wise Acre Eatery. Ken and Lucian, the founders, were sampling right on the property and selling growlers. I was sucked in by their branding and hooked by the flavor. You can find it on tap around town and they also have a 3-month membership.

Eating right now

Mike’s Hot Honey. I can’t get enough of this sweet and spicy condiment. Things I’ve put it on…

Up next…

  • Peanut butter toast
  • Tequila based cocktails
  • Ice cream

Cooking right now

A variety of recipes from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories. One reason I love this cookbook is because Julia doesn’t write anything that’s not a useful tip or helpful technique. No fluff, no BS. She also includes spin-offs for each recipe because sometimes you just don’t have the exact ingredients – she gives you permission to try something else.

I’ve made her roast chicken recipe three times in the last month (it is #8 on this list). I made it once with za’atar instead of lemon, fennel and rosemary and the two other times with smoked paprika. This is a delicious bird.


My place smells like garbage

Tell me I’m not the only one who can eat a pound of Brussels sprouts in one sitting.

I just did. Straight out of the pan. No shame.

As a kid, you think Brussels sprouts live in hell right next to coffee, blue cheese and dark chocolate. Fast-forward 20+ years and I’d be happy to find any of these wrapped up under the Christmas tree.

If you’re a sprout fan, give this easy recipe a try…

Braised and Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup water or white wine or stock
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Combine the coconut oil, sprouts and water in a deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid (I used a cast iron skillet and put a pizza stone on top of it. Do what works for you.), sprinkle with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers; cook until the sprouts are just tender, 5 to 10 minutes (Mine took 7.).
  • Uncover and raise the heat to boil off all the liquid so that the vegetables become glazed and eventually browned. Don’t stir too often; let them sizzle and get golden and crispy. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature.

I ate mine straight from the skillet with a drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey, which WAS wrapped under the Christmas tree for me in 2016.

Slightly adapted from: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Mark Bittman


Wise Pies, No. 4

Fact: I love starting clubs.

Current club memberships include: sushi club, brew club and pie club.

Pie club facts
Name: Wise Pies
Established: November 1, 2015
Members: Three
Pies made: Four
No. 1: Spiced Crush Pumpkin Pie
No. 2: Brown Butter Walnut Pie with Sour Whipped Cream
No. 3: Banoffee Tart (In this club, tart = pie.)
No. 4: Deep-Dish Dutch Apple Pie, Winkel Style

No. 4 was selected by Wise Pies member Erin. We recently traveled to Amsterdam with a group of friends and Erin was disappointed that we did not get a slice or four of the famous Winkel 43 apple pie. So, she tracked down a couple versions of the recipe and we made it ourselves.

Deep-Dish Dutch Apple Pie, Winkel Style Cut

Deep-Dish Dutch Apple Pie, Winkel Style
Ingredients:
For the crust:

  • 1 1/3 cups, firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1½ cups  unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
  • 5 cups of all-purpose baking flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

For the filling:

  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 4 Pink Lady apples
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon apple pie spice
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • Zest of  ½ lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 shot brandy

Directions:
To make the crust:

  • In a stand mixer, mix the butter and brown sugar together until creamed.
  • Sprinkle with the salt and add almost all of the eggs, keeping a tablespoonful [15 ml] to brush over the pie later.
  • Pulse until the eggs are well-incorporated.
  • Add a third of the flour, pulse until well-incorporated.
  • Add another third of the flour, pulse to incorporate, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • At this point, the mixture will still be wet, but it will start gathering together.
  • Add the remaining flour and pulse just until the dough comes together into a ball.
  • Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and rest at room temperature while you prepare the filling.
  • Heat oven to 375º F.

To make the filling:

  • Peel and core the apples, then cut them into bite-size pieces.
  • In a very large bowl, mix the apple pieces with the orange and lemon zest, lemon juice, brown sugar, spices, cornstarch and brandy.
  • Set aside.

To assemble the pie:

  • Grease a large, 8.5” springform pan and cover the bottom with a cut out sheet of parchment paper.
  • Reserve ¼ to 1/3 of the crust mixture for the pie’s topping.
  • Pour the rest of the mixture into the pan and firmly press the dough against the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan. The dough will be sticky.
  • Make sure the the bottom and the sides are completely covered, but it doesn’t need to be perfect. Rustic.
  • Add the apple filling and press down to compress the filling and make it as flat as possible on top.
  • Take smaller pieces of dough and roll them into balls, as if you were making cookies. With your fingers, flatten the dough out so you have a little, squarish pieces of dough.
  • Work from the edges of the pie towards the middle, place the flattened squares along the edges of the pie, connecting each piece together and trying to make a seal with the dough and the sides of the pan. Once you have a full circle of connected dough, move inward. Work on the next pieces, connecting those until the entire surface is covered.
  • Brush the top with the remaining egg.
Deep-Dish Dutch Apple Pie, Winkel Style Before OvenDeep-Dish Dutch Apple Pie, Winkel Style In OvenDeep-Dish Dutch Apple Pie, Winkel Style Finished

To bake the pie:

  • Place a pan under your pie to catch any juice.
  • Bake for 75 minutes. Check it at 45 minutes and if the top is to your liking, cover it with foil for the remaining 30 minutes.
  • Both recipes recommended letting the pie cool completely (2-4 hours!) before unhinging the springform pan. We said SCREW IT and dug into it immediately.
  • We also topped it with homemade whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from:


Right now

Eating right now

Squash. Specifically Delicata squash. Why? Because the skin is edible, so no peeling. Just slice it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, cut it into crescent moons, drizzle with olive oil or coconut oil and S&P. Roast at 425º F for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Drinking right now

I’m a sucker for tart, vinegary drinks – kombucha, a splash of good balsamic added to soda water and shrubs. I’m also a sucker for local producers. Meet Calvit’s Drinking Shrubs. My current favorite is the Beet-Ginger with Szechuan Peppercorns. It’s delicious simply added to plain soda water; however, I couldn’t resist making a cocktail with it.

Add ice to glass. Add following ingredients. Stir to combine.

  • 1 ounce Tattersall Gin
  • 1 ounce Domaine de Canton
  • 1 ounce Beet-Ginger Shrub
  • Juice from lime wedge
  • Top with soda water

Watching right now

Chef’s Table, Season 2. Get me to Slovenia and Ana Roš’ Hiša Franko right now. Her and her husband procure their cheese from a cheese-making chalet in the mountains and pair their new menu with wine in the middle of their garden. Come on! She’s a total badass.