Whenever I am at the cusp of taking on greater (and exciting) responsibility, I tend to briefly fall back to all things that are small, cute and colorful. Perhaps, it’s my own little ritual of sorts to delve into the memories that define myself. I am not entirely sure. As much as I am wholly ready to embrace the challenges ahead of me, I still find parts of me drifting in carefree nostalgia of yesteryear. Perhaps my friends don’t share that kind of odd nostalgia for all things colorful and sweet, and instead, they look for things bigger, better, and brighter. However, I think there is a small part of us that wistfully pines for cotton candy, sour belts, and rainbow sprinkles.
We may not all pine for those things specifically after all, some of us believe sprinkles taste like chalk. Me? I think sprinkles are the stuff of colorful magic–they may not taste good, but they have this powerful draw of whim and fancy. I still think that sprinkles are the fairy dust of childhood, and that is an equally powerful sensory experience!
I am thinking about this more lately since most of my high school friends have finally left my hometown. It’s sort of like the end of an era that was filled with the collector’s obsession with charm bracelets and giggly mini-high school reunions. I am cognizant of all of this since I can’t conveniently dispose of my extra pint of homemade ice cream or overload of cake and cookies at a friend’s place five minutes away. Oh, the troubles of being a compulsive baker…
This weekend was kind of a project to sum up all things magical about growing up. At least, I thought that is what a funfetti cake personified.
I was pulling so hard for this cake to be this balanced, tangible piece of childhood whim. Instead, it came out looking like it was from the supermarket aisle, and in an odd way, I am totally okay with that. I argue that it’s kind of retro in a sterile white and fabulously artificial kind of way; of course, I have friends who think otherwise x]
Yes, this weekend I presented a sweet, fluffy white cake with lots of sprinkles instead of my normal flair of airy genoise cakes with Chantilly cream or decadent flourless chocolate cake. That was probably the most confusing visual: to see someone with a so-called sophisticated palate and eye for all things beautiful and delicate to churn out a fluff piece.
Friends, I assure you that this is just a phase. That’s all ;)
Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum (via TheKitchn)
4 egg whites from large eggs
1 cup milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
8 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening
1 bottle of multi-colored rainbow sprinkles
Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans and add a parchment circle to the bottom of each cake pan. In a small bowl mix the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk, vanilla and almond extract. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix for 30 seconds or until well-combined. Add the butter and shortening and mix for another 30 seconds, or until well-combined with the flour mixture. Pour in the remaining 3/4 cup milk and continue mixing on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Gradually pour in the egg white mixture, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Mix for one more minute. Gently fold in the multi-colored jimmies.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. If baking four layers, bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden and spring back when pressed.
Remove from the oven and place the pans on baking racks to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn the pans over onto the rack. Flip the cake layers over and let them cool completely before icing*.
* Note: I was not quite satisfied with the icing recipe I had used, but please feel free to use your favorite vanilla buttercream recipe :)