Sunday, 2 February 2014

RCMP Cake



I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of fondant. I don’t think it tastes good, nor do I think it’s visually appealing. A decade back when fondant wedding cakes were all the rage, I thought that it was the future of cakes, and that there was nowhere to go from there. But much like fashion, cake decorating trends change, and now it’s all about new and cool buttercream piping techniques (e.g., rose, petal, ruffle) in cool colours (e.g., ombre) and pretty toppers (e.g., bunting, flags, washi tape).

So I was kind of horrified when I asked the fiancĂ© what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, and he said “an RCMP cake”, because I knew that fondant would have to be used.

Side bar: If you’re Canadian, then you know all about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (aka, Mountie) with their red serge (uniform), but if you’re from elsewhere, that’s the name of our Federal police.

Then I asked him what flavour he wanted, and he said fruit, which made me feel a bit better because I had book marked a lemon blueberry cake a few years ago that I wanted to try.

In the end, I worked out a way to use minimal fondant. Check out the verdict at the end of the post!

Fondant
I used half of this recipe, but you can purchase pre-made fondant of course.
I added black, brown, and yellow food colouring for the various pieces.

Blueberry Curd
Adapted from here.
Can be made a week in advance.

Ingredients
¾ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg
2 Tablespoons salted butter

Directions
1.  In a small saucepan, mix blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and zest over medium heat until the blueberries burst and sugar has dissolved. You can smash the blueberries with a fork to speed things up.
2.  In a small bowl, beat egg yolks and eggs. Temper the eggs by adding a small amount of the blueberry mixture to the eggs and beat. Add a little more, and beat again. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and stir continuously until the mixture is thick.
3.  Place butter in a bowl. Pour the blueberry curd over a sieve and into the butter. This will ensure a smooth curd without any blueberry skins or scrambled eggs. Mix the butter into the curd and cool. Store in the fridge until ready to use.




Lemon Blueberry Cake
Adapted from here.
To bake a 5-inch cake

Ingredients
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1.5 cups fresh blueberries
¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
¼ cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground vanilla beans (optional)
¼  teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature

Directions
1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of two 5-inch baking pans with parchment, and grease and flour the sides.
2.   In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3.   Take 2 teaspoons of the flour from the mixture and toss it with the blueberries. Set aside.
4.   In a pourable bowl or measuring cup, mix sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, ground vanilla beans (if using), lemon extract and zest. Set aside.
5.   In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar and beat until combined and fluffy.
6.   Add eggs one a time and beat well after each addition.
7.   Add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with the liquid mixture, mixing on low.
8.   Add blueberries and fold in gently by hand.
9.   Divide batter between the two pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
10.Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a rack.
11.Cut off the dome and slice each layer in half.





Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients
1 cup salted butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar
¼ cup milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Gel food colouring
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

Directions
1.  Combine all ingredients (except colouring and cocoa) in a mixer and beat until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes)
2.  Portion out ¼ cup and add yellow food colouring and mix.
3.  Add red food colouring and cocoa powder to the remaining buttercream and mix. 
*Buttercream colour gets deeper with time

Assembly
1.  Spread a teaspoon of blueberry curd on a cake plate. Place the first layer on the plate.
2.  Pipe a damn of red buttercream around the edge of the cake. Spread a layer of blueberry curd in the middle. Top with the next layer and continue to repeat, topping off with the final layer of cake.
3.  Crumb coat the entire cake with red buttercream. Place in freezer for 5 minutes.
4.  Add another layer of red buttercream and smooth with a metal spatula dipped in hot water.
5.  Roll out fondant with a rolling pin and cut to different shapes. Place on cake and pipe details with yellow buttercream.








Verdict: The fiancĂ© was very pleased with the cake, which I made while he was out during his weekly boy’s night at Denny’s. We had his friends over for the cake and everyone though it was tasty. It was pretty moist, and was fluffy when it first came out of the oven. It got a bit compressed with the weight of the buttercream, but no one complained about that except for me. The blueberry lemon combo was perfection.

My thoughts on baking strips – I used them on this cake and it was a mistake, because it prolonged the baking time to 1 hour! I ended up taking them off at that point and it baked a lot quicker. My final verdict is that they should not be used for 5-inch cakes, though they work well for 6 inch and higher.

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