The Anti-Depressant Cake

Well, I’m officially in a depression*

*(I’m not really, I’m just looking for attention)

Fergal went back to work today after 3 weeks of holidays.

3 weeks of not knowing what day it was;

3 weeks of no routine;

3 weeks of visiting and holidaying;

3 weeks of sickening our children with overt displays of lurve

(“kissy kissy sweet beloved!” “I love you too, sweetkins!” “Ah, cut it out you two!!’)

Needless to say, it is a sad truth that I’ve done more today than I did in 3 weeks- slowly trying to bring the house back to order (a rather fruitless task with a four and one year old wrecking in my wake)

So, today, in order to alleviate the general sadness around here, I resisted the urge to eat my bodyweight in chocolate and make, instead; the great anti-depressant of our home: cake.

This is taken from the incredbly beautiful blog of Alicia Paulson: Posie gets Cosy. I actually followed the recipe exactly (!) and unsurprisingly, it turned out perfectly. I made the (gorgeously named) Cloudburst Frosting too. I have to admit I was very sceptical on reading the ingredients; but the name spurred me on to throw aside my misgivings and give it a go.

Let me just tell you: it is pretty fabulous.

(I must point out here that I converted the American measurements (in brackets) to gms and mls. My calculations seemed a bit out when I double checked them, but yet cooked up perfectly as I have them here. The recipe is as is on Posie Gets Cosy)

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

4 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
285ml (1 1/4) cups buttermilk
330g (3 cups) plain (cake) flour
450g (2 cups) sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
230g (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 180′ C, 350° F. Butter/ spray and line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Butter/spray again and flour.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, in a large mixer bowl; whisk to blend. Add the butter and 230mls (1 cup) buttermilk to these dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, blend together. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Mix eggs, yolks, vanilla and remaining 56mls (1/4 cup) buttermilk. Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the side of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

Bake the cake layers for 28–32 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes; then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

Okay: the frosting. I am copying exactly as from Ms. Paulson (apart from the use of almond essence- I used vanilla since I didn’t have almond) including her notes: (oh, I love her):

This frosting had a long history in our house of being very temperamental but it is totally worth it. We think we have it down now, but you have to do it exactly this way. You just do. Don’t ask me why. We really do not know.

Cloudburst Frosting

30g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1 cup WHOLE (it has to be whole) milk
225g (1 cup) softened butter
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
250g (2 cups) sifted confectioners sugar

In a small pan, gradually add the milk to the flour, whisking them together into a totally smooth mixture — you don’t want any lumps here. Simmer (barely) until thick over low/medium heat, whisking constantly so you don’t get any lumps. (Do not walk away from the stove for even a minute — trust me. If you do get lumps, just push it all through a sieve.) You want it to be the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat and let it cool completely but NOT in the refrigerator (Mom says if you put it in the fridge it won’t work). Let it cool for a few minutes, and then push a piece of plastic wrap down on the surface of the mixture (so a skin doesn’t form) and let it sit on the counter for an hour or two or three until it’s completely cool. Cream together the butter and almond; add the confectioner’s sugar and beat on high for several minutes until it is very fluffy. Add the milk/flour mixture and beat until it is super fluffy. The frosting will sometimes appear to separate when you add the milk/flour mixture, but just keep beating it on high until it whips up into smooth, fluffy clouds.

(Isn’t she just cute?)