Continuing as I have been, honoring modern day St. Valentines with cakes that most suit their loving personalities, I would be remiss if I didn't include the greatest romantic of our modern age:
Kermit the Frog.
It's not just any amphibian who would wrangle a bango onto a lily pad, serenading all and sundry swamp creatures in ear shot.
It's not just any amphibian who would hold fast to a porcine hellian, to a swine both vain and unpredictably violent with unwavering love and support. Miss Piggy is one lucky oinker.
It's not just any amphibian who made it look so easy to be green, when we all know it isn't.
And it's not just any amphibian who can sing of rainbows and dreams with an utter lack of cynicism and turn us all into believers.
So for Kermit, I make a cake built for the lovers, the dreamers and you.
The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me Cake
For the cake:
1 pound (4 sticks) room temperature, unsalted butter
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons lemon extract
6 cups All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 cups non-fat buttermilk
-Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
-Slowly add eggs, one at a time. Beat for 1 minute between each incorporation. Add lemon extract
-Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt
-Add 1/4 of the butter milk and then 1/3 of the flour mixture. Continue alternating between each until both are completely incorporated. Don't over mix.
-Divide the batter between 7 bowls, approximately 2 cups of batter in each bowl.
-I mix and match my dyes to come up with the following colors, Deep purple, lighter purple, blue, green, orange, yellow and red. 2 drops of dye should be enough for each bowl.
-line a jelly roll pan or half sheet pan with parchment. Using a ruler, measuring along the width (the shorter side) of the pan, Divide the pan into 1/2. Fill a pastry bag fit with a large open tip with the red batter. Pipe the batter on half the sheetpan. You'll use all the batter. Clean the tip and bag (unless you use disposable bags), and fill the clean bag with orange batter. Fill the remaining 1/2 of the sheetpan with orange batter.
|I fit all the batter on to my mondo sheetpan. But you'll divide among half sheet pans.|
-Continue dividing sheetpans with batter. There will be one sheet pan since there are 7 colors in all, that will only be half filled. The batter is rather sturdy and won't really spread to badly but if you fear spreading, use a square cake pan or pyrex to act as a dam.
-Bake at 350º for about 25 - 30 minutes. Poke the cake and if it springs back, it's done.
-Allow the cakes to cool completely. While they are cooling, make a batch of cream cheese frosting.
-once the cakes of cooled, trim each cake to 4 1/2 -5 inch wide strips. Trim the end of the cakes as well. Transfer the red layer to a clean sheetpan lined with parchment. Apply a very thin and even layer of frosting over the red layer and then carefully transfer the orange layer and place on top of the red frosted layer. Continue frosting and layer with the yellow, green, blue and purples. Freeze the cake for 1/2 hour to stabilize it.
|Not looking so stable at the moment. But freeze for a bit and it's all good.|
-Remove the cake from the freezer and trip the sides and ends with a very sharp serrated knife. The sides need to be perfectly level so be slow and steady. Apply a thing crumb coat of frosting on all sides of the cake and freeze again for a half hour.
-Remove the cake from the freezer and gently transfer the cake to a serving platter. You can leave the cake with the layers lying horizontally. Or , if you prefer vertical layers (as I do), turn the cake over on its side. Apply a thin layer of frosting to the newly exposed side of the cake and freeze for 10 minutes until the frosting has set.
-Apply a finished coat of frosting over the entirety of the cake.
-If you have extra pieces of cake (I like to use the red), I put them on a sheetpan and bake at 225º until the cake has dried (but not browned). I cool the cake and then pulse to a fine crumb in the food processor.
-Fold a piece of parchment in half and cut varied sized hearts from the parchment and apply to the top of the cake. Pat the cake crumbs along the sides and top of the cake and brush away any excess. Make sure to brush the crumbs from the top of the parchment hearts so that the crumbs don't tumble onto the pristine outlines of the hearts. Gently remove the parchment.
|The cake crumbs give the cake a little "muppet" shag.|
-You can simply slice the cake and serve as is. But if you like the heart shaped slice, after you've cut a normal slice and use a heart shaped cake ring or cookie cutter to stamp out a heart shape.