I did not start this blog only to type in my success stories, but also to put in my not-so-successful attempts as well. However, I doubt if I have ever done that before. Oh yes, I did do it in my Black Forest cake
post! OK, so let this be my second post in that category!!!
I will never call myself as a talented cook - just like everybody, I really get jitters when I have to try something new. I have nightmares, scares and what not! Before this used to happen when I expect guests too, but now somehow that nervousness is off. But still, when I want to move into unexplored territories, I still feel uneasy. It is through blogging, that I broke off my scare to use yeast. Though not fully out of it, but I can say with confidence that I have somehow pushed down my devils in that case.
One thing I have been wanting to do for quite some time is buttercream. I just envy those beautiful looking cakes and cupcakes loaded with beautiful glossy looking decorations, so gorgeously piped out onto them and looking "oh-so-cute!" that you wouldn't dare to touch it or damage it by sinking your tooth into it or running a knife through it. Last month, for my little one Azza's birthday, I decided to try my hand on decorating my cake with buttercream.
As usual, my "bakra" this time was again Jehanne
, who so patiently heard through all my stupid questions and gave me a lot of courage and tips to move forward with it. I think I will not talk much about the cake... this is the second time I am baking for my little one's birthday and both were a dud, to say the least. Last year, I consoled myself saying that I did not know my oven really well and it was the first cake I had baked in it, so I was not really saddened by it. But this time, I was seriously very disappointed. I turned down all requests from my B and my parents to buy a cake, and insisted that I will work on her cake with my own hands, but alas... this is what happened.
As per Jehanne's suggestion, I went ahead and baked the genoise as per this recipe of hers
. I baked it, pulled it out 5 minutes after the suggested baking time, saw a beautiful looking cake. I was really so excited that finally it turned out well. The tester also came out clean. I cooled the cake in the pan for around 5 minutes and flipped it to see an uncooked center! This is one problem with my oven, it keeps giving me uncooked centers every now and then and how much I hate it! My heart sank along with the uncooked center. I slowly put it back into my baking pan and microwaved it for 3 minutes. There, my cake became equivalent to a stone! Ahem, not that stony that we could not eat, but definitely not caky, a cake that was devoid of all moisture. :(
Despite that, I went on to make the butter cream. I don't know whether I should say I was happy about it. Really saying, I was not. But then, for a first attempt, I thought it was not that bad too... Just like Jehanne said, maybe I am being too harsh on myself! :) So this post is basically like a starter kit, for further bettering my future attempts, InShaAllah...
Enough for a 6 inch cake
200 gm butter, softened
400 gm icing sugar
3-4 tbsp cold milk (or as required)
Leave the butter in room temperature till soft. In a neat bowl, cube the butter and start beating it slowly till fluffy. Add the icing sugar little by little and keep beating till well incorporated and glossy. If you feel the buttercream is too thick, then add milk in tbsp to get the desired consistency. Add desired colors (I used Wilton Green for 1/4 the quantity and Wilton Pink for the remaining).
Leave in the fridge to chill for around 20 minutes. Then use to decorate with tips and piping bags as desired.
To color the buttercream, dip a toothpick into your gel color and dip it back into the buttercream. Repeat with a different toothpick if you want a darker color. Fold well with a spatula.
A few things I learned during this preparation:
1. Ensure that the butter is soft. My butter was not soft enough to be beaten fluffy, it was still too cold. Maybe I was really impatient.
2. The desirable ratio, is 2:1 (Jehanne's tip). But if you want, you can add more icing sugar as per your sweetness level. The icing sugar I used was just too sweet, unfortunately! :(
Nonetheless it complimented the less sweet cake in all ways. Had the cake been perfect, it would have come out well, I feel... and had I been a bit more patient as well... Darn!
Whatever said and done, at the end of the day, my girls thought I did a fantastic job at making a plain looking cake beautiful. You can see the elder one assisted with holding the plate in her hand in the first pic and the younger one wanted her head to be a part of another photograph, so there you go she did pose well by looking at it. :) Don't kids always feel that mothers do a good job? It does give me hope that maybe I do better in my next attempt...
I am really curious to know how did your first experience in buttercream go... please do drop in your experiences in the comments, it is good to learn from each other, isn't it? :)