Sugar and Charm turned three years old yesterday! I can’t believe it’s been three years since my very first post July 10, 2010. I really had no idea the opportunities a blog could bring. I started it because I had a little event design company and I wanted to showcase some of my work. It’s funny how things unfold… I never would’ve expected that I could be a stay-at-home, working mom, doing what I absolutely love. I do this site because I love it, it’s my passion and I would (and have for years) do it regardless of income. Of course it’s nice to be able to help my family, but in all honesty Sugar and Charm has been a HUGE part of my life for three years now, almost every single day. Even when I’ve wanted to quit because it was just too much work or stress, I would get an encouraging email from a reader and it made it all worth it. The blogging world has changed so much within such a short amount of time. There are countless phenomenal blogs out there and it makes me appreciate my readers even more. Some of you have been reading since 2010 and have seen the changes and growth in Sugar and Charm. I mean, I have some pretty funky photography and posts back in the day, but don’t we all?! I’m beyond grateful to have amazing readers from all over the world! I enjoy bringing a little charm to the web and I hope I inspire you in some way. So a colossal thank you to you all for stopping by and supporting Sugar and Charm. I appreciate you all so much and look forward to the future!
Okay, so now onto the good stuff! Yesterday I baked a cake for Zan, Romeo and I to celebrate 3 years of Sugar and Charm (and the fact that my little boy is now walking). I adapted the Perfect Party Cake recipe in one of my all time favorite and classic books, Baking:From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. It turned out better than I had imagined. It’s a moist vanilla cake with the creamiest meringue buttercream ever (my new favorite!!) layered with raspberry preserves and topped with coconut. Zan said it was one of the best he’s ever had and I have to agree that it’s one of the best I’ve ever made. I did change a few things and next time I would double the cake recipe so I could get really nice thick layers. Mine turned out thin. I also doubled the buttercream frosting recipe too and thank goodness I did because I definitely needed the extra.
For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
Layered Raspberry Preserves + Coconut
2/3 cup raspberry preserves stirred vigorously until spreadable
1 1/2 cups coconut shreds
Meringue Buttercream Frosting
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray
(I used coconut cooking spray) two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line
the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper.
To Make the Cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl
and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer,
beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar
are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of
the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the
remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of
the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous,
then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a
good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a
rubber spatula. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the cakes are well risen and
springy to the touch – It really depends on your oven and location. I take it out
when my toothpick comes out with a small amount of crumbs, not clean.
Let the cakes to cool for about 10 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the
cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners. Cool to room temperature, right side
up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature
overnight or frozen for up to two months).
To Make the Frosting: Add the sugar and the egg whites into a heatproof mixing bowl.
Fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture is hot,
sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are a little frothy. About 4 minutes. It should
look like a shiny marshmallow cream.
With the whisk attachment, beat eggs on medium speed until cooled and thicker for
about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add in one stick of room
temperature butter at a time beating until smooth. On medium speed, add in the lemon
juice and vanilla bean extract. If the buttercream curdles or separates, just keep beating
until it comes back together. You should end up with a shiny, smooth and absolutely
delicious buttercream frosting!
To Assemble the Cake: Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion,
slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake
round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves. Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter
of the frosting. Top with another layer, spread with preserves and frosting and then do
the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have frosting leftover). Place
the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining frosting to frost the
sides and top. Sprinkle coconut on the top and sides! Enjoy!!
Recipe adapted from Perfect Party Cake from Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” p. 250