I wouldn’t know since I don’t eat gluten, but (as I previously mentioned) the bride and groom licked the batter bowl clean last night, and my cake was almost entirely gone by the time I left the reception. I don’t own bragging rights because all I did was follow the recipe word for word. But if you want bragging rights to all of the hard work put into baking a ridiculously good cake, then please get your hands on this recipe!
My bakers notes:
1. Read instructions beforehand. If you don’t, you might be up until 2 am like me because you forgot to let your eggs, milk, and butter come to room temperature.
2. It’s fun to invite people over to play cards while you bake. That way, if you DO forget to room temp the ingredients, you have company while you wait.
3. If you are gluten free, don’t accidentally lick your fingers.
To match this cake is some utterly DELICIOUS icing. This recipe had me licking my fingers multiple times, dipping spoons into the mixer, packing little containers of leftover icing-to-go, etc. I must admit that cream cheese icing is my favorite (I could eat cream cheese by the bar), or funfetti out of a can, but this stuff takes the cake (literally).
The morning of the wedding, I woke up early to make the icing and decorate the cake. I failed.
The recipe makes it clear that it will take a while for the icing to thicken up to a good consistency, about 15 minutes. I mixed that icing baby for about 30 minutes, then I added more sugar, then I took a shower. When I got out, my husband was standing over the icing with an encouraging but doubtful expression, and my sweet housemates had gone to the bakery for an emergency icing run. We used Publix bakery buttercream icing for the actual wedding cake, and finished up within minutes of go time. The wedding was beautiful, the sweet bride loved the cake (you really have to make it), and everything went off without a hitch. Actually, they did get hitched!
We came home to discover that the icing did, in fact, work! Perfectly. The mixer was filled with perfectly creamed, thick, delicious buttercream icing. I guess all it needed was a little break from mixing. So, we have 10 lbs. of icing in the fridge… Who’s up for a cookie decorating party? Cream puffs? Cupcakes? Cake pops? :) In other words, don’t be discouraged. And do give yourself plenty of time to ice the cake and let it rest if need be. Enjoy!
Swiss Merengue Buttercream Icing
-copied straight from Smitten Kitchen
For a wedding cake (or most of one, depending on the size)
2 cups of egg whites (approx. 12 large)
3 cups sugar
5 cups butter, softened (2 1/2 pounds, 10 sticks)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For a 9-inch cake (plus filling, or some to spare)
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the tiniest amount, if you’re just practicing (or enough to cover and fill the 4-inch cake pictured)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg white
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.
Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. (Here’s a tip: when you transfer to the mixer, make sure you wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl so that no water gets into the egg whites. This can keep them from whipping up properly.)
Add the vanilla.
Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip, whip, whip.
If you find yourself with extra icing like I did, just put it in the fridge. Consistency will be like sweet butter. Please use it on rolls, cookies, sweet breads galore!