Today is Mother’s Day, After a fairly long streak of sunny days, the weather has taken a turn back to the more usual cloudy and gray day in Seattle. Which meant going back to the kitchen. Back to baking!
The last few weeks have been challenging, to say the least, but I feel like I’m doing better. Ben’s father ended up passing away the day before Ben was to fly over there, so instead of a reunion, he made it just in time to go to his father’s funeral. Part of my work involves occasionally talking to family members of cancer patients, and so I’m familiar with this sometimes happening, but when it happens to you or someone you love, it just really hurts. The last few weeks have been so emotionally draining for both of us, with Ben being in Mexico, but I finally feel like we have a handle on it. He’s been spending a lot of time with his mother and siblings, and extended family. His visa appointment is less than a couple of weeks away, and he’ll be coming home about a week after the appointment, so there is indeed a light at the end of a very long tunnel! Anyways, so that’s what’s going on. As with the previous post, it seems odd to write about it on my food blog, but then again, it would seem odd for me to not write about it.
Today I just wanted to make something with intense spring color, which to me is this sort of chartreuse green. And because I’m a big fan of pairing that color with a reddish color, I decided to make a berry sauce with blueberries and blackberries. You could however probably make it with any berry or combination of berries you want.
Overall, I was pleased with the combination; initially I made the cake with a recipe utilizing baking soda as the leavening agent, which requires an acid, such as buttermilk, but I think the acidity ended up changing the color to more of a light brown. And though it tasted the same, I really missed the color, so I made this recipe, which uses baking powder and there is less acidity in the batter. Plus, adding green tea powder in both the flour mixture and the milk really ensures the green tea flavor and color. I’m all guessing with this, btw. But I’m definitely happy with the color and flavor of it.
Green Tea Cake with Berry Sauce
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoon green tea powder (baking grade), divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 6-inch round cake pans, or two 9-inch round cake pans, by greasing and lining with parchment paper. Set aside
In a medium bowl, sift and stir with a whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 Tablespoon of the green powder, until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk on medium heat until almost to a boil. Stir in the remaining 1 Tablespoon of the green tea powder until dissolved. Set aside.
In a medium large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beat with a hand held electric beater until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is well incorporated. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, blending until incorporated.
Alternating with the flour mixture and the hot milk mixture, blend until small batches of each are incorporated. Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake on 350 degrees F for roughly 20-30 minutes. You want the center to be risen slightly and the edges just slightly brown. Or do a toothpick test in the center.
Remove from oven and leave in pans for 10 minutes. Invert pans and return right side up and let cool on wire racks to cool completely.
Assemble into three layers if using the 6-inch pans, or two layers for the 9-inch pans. Refrigerate between application of frosting between layers to ensure that the weight of cake layers doesn’t cause frosting to bulge out from the sides. Serve with berry sauce, if desired.
Cream cheese frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
7 ounces white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 sticks, or 8 ounces butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place cream cheese in a bowl and blend with a hand held mixer until fluffy. Set aside.
In a bain marie, heat the white chocolate pieces until just melted, but remove right away. You don’t want any pieces left, but you want it to be only warm. Pour into cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth and well incorporated. Add butter, one piece at a time, every few seconds while blending continuously. If mixture seems too hot, stop and refrigerate until mixture is not too liquid-y. Add the vanilla and blend until incorporated. Sift the one cup of confectioners sugar and mix until the whole mixture is smooth, but thick and of good piping consistency or refrigerating if not.
Berry sauce (from this recipe by my baking addiction)
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons cold water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt and black pepper (optional)
In a small saucepan heat the water, sugar, and berries, until simmering, stirring occasionally. Before adding the cornstarch, dissolve it in a small bowl or glass with the 2 Tablespoons cold water. Stir frequently until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper if desired.