Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Birthday

I awoke early and the first thing I did was hang out the American Flag as I began my day.  After numerous days of rain, Labor Day was full of welcome sunshine.  

American Flag., Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Happy Birthday, Labor Day, The Best White Cake,

Stone and I had invited guests Beverly, Jeff, Jane and John for dinner. It just happens to have been Jeff's birthday and we all know how much I love birthdays.  I set the table on the porch combining Labor Day and Birthday decorations.  

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 As quoted by Julia Childs, "A party without cake is just a meeting."  And who would want a meeting on their birthday.  So, for Jeff's birthday, I baked him The Best White Cake with Strawberry Curd in-between the layers.  There was no meeting going on this night!!!

American Flag., Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Happy Birthday, Labor Day, The Best White Cake,

The Best White Cake
Serves: 12
Ingredients for cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cake Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350'.  Prepare three 9"round cake pans or three 8" pans with nonstick baking spray.  
Cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy with an electric mixer.  Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another.  Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Pour milks and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork.  Add to  butter and shortening mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
Gently stir all ingredients until well combined  Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well.
Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans and place pans into oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
Frost cake as desired.  I made Strawberry Curd and put between the layers.  Then frosted the outside of the cake with Classic Buttercream Frosting.

Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting 
Ingredients:
2 cups butter (4 sticks), softened
2 pound bag of confectioner's sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla, I use clear vanilla
pinch of salt

Instructions:
Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment.  Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
Add confectioner's sugar, 1 cup at a time.  After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lightened the frosting.
Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated. 

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                                                              Strawberry Curd

14 ounces strawberries
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Puree the strawberries in a food processor, then press through a mesh strainer.  Bring the puree to a bare simmer in a small, heavy saucepan.  Whisk together the eggs, yolks, and sugar in a large bowl.  Continue whisking while adding the hot puree in a thin stream.  Place the bowl with the egg mixture over a medium pan of simmering water and heat, whisking constantly, for 4-5 minutes, or until thick.  Stir in the butter and lemon juice.  Chill.  Make about 2 cups.  Keeps for a day or two tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

Jane and I where very happy since we where about to have birthday cake.  Thats enough to put a smile on your face, add a little vanilla ice-cream and we were ecstatic. 

American Flag., Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Happy Birthday, Labor Day, The Best White Cake,

Yes, the candle is a must no matter how advanced in age (young) you are.

American Flag., Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Happy Birthday, Labor Day, The Best White Cake,

Happy Birthday Jeff

American Flag., Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Happy Birthday, Labor Day, The Best White Cake,

Jeff and his beautiful wife Beverly

American Flag., Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Happy Birthday, Labor Day, The Best White Cake,

We had a tremendous feast of BBQ ribs, with sides of baked beans, corn salad and deviled eggs.  We ended with a slice of birthday cake and a scoop of home-made vanilla ice-cream.  Stone, Lucy and I saw our company off as they left for home.  The dishwasher had been loaded, lights turned out bringing an end to Labor Day 2014 and Jeff's birthday.  As Lucy does every night if its late, she makes her way to the bedroom, looking over her shoulder to make sure Stone and I are following.