Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Best Berry Cake

I don't know if my co-workers were just inflating my ego or not (it worked, regardless) but this mixed berry cake was a pretty huge hit at the office on Monday. It was really a very simple recipe, so here goes:

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 to 4 cups mixed berries of your choice (I used blue, black and a few straw)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 oz. mascarpone
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray your Mary Ann pan with pan spray (I like the kind with flour in it for baking). Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and beat another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the vanilla, salt and baking powder. Now add the milk and flour in small increments, beginning and ending with the flour. Do not overbeat the mixture. Pour batter into the pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to smooth it and get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown on the top and edges. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then remove from pan and let cool 1 hour.

While the cake is baking, place berries in a bowl with 1/2 cup sugar, stir, and let macerate in the refrigerator while the cake bakes and cools.

Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Stir in mascarpone, vanilla and powdered sugar.

Drain the berry mixture into a bowl so you have just the juice. Paint the juice on the top of the indentation using a pastry brush. Top with the whipped mascarpone and finally top with the berry mixture. Garnish with mint if desired.

Serves: 12

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Berry Licious Mary Ann Cake

I promise to post the recipe for this loveliness tomorrow, but until then I just couldn't resist showing off the cake I made this evening. I haven't baked anything in so long, and all the beautiful fruit at the market coupled with the fact that I found this awesome cake pan I'd never used inspired this creation. It's called a "Mary Ann" cake pan (don't ask me where that comes from), and what makes it so unique is the indentation it has all around the top/bottom--perfect to hold for all sorts of fillings when the cake is done and inverted. I made mine with a traditional golden pound cake and topped it with a mascarpone chantilly cream and of course the macerated berries. I was really happy with the way the mascarpone gave the whipped cream a bit more substance so it really held its shape. This cake was tasty. Tasty enough that it needs to go with me to work tomorrow so I'm not tempted to eat the rest of it.

Do you like the quenelle of whipped cream, powdered sugar and fresh mint accompaniments? Here's a pic of the unfinished cake so you can see what I mean about the pan:

I'm trying to get better at my food photography, but it's tough with a point and shoot digital.

Stay posted for the recipe!