Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Italian Cornmeal Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream and Strawberries

The first cake I ever made for my husband had white chocolate icing and fresh strawberries. Today was his birthday, and he swears the vegan adaptation is just as good. I love birthday cakes, with their candles and cartoonish decoration. For these celebrations, forget sophistication; give me kitsch!

Layered with fresh strawberries and White Chocolate Buttercream, this Italian Cornmeal Cake is dense and just slightly sweet. Like a classic meringue buttercream, the icing is ultrarich but light. Strawberries prevent it from being cloying, as would dark chocolate, citrus, or any other tangy fruit.

White Chocolate Buttercream
makes about 4 cups

1 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (Spectrum organics makes a good one)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tablespoons soy milk powder
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons soy cream or soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, beat the shortening and margarine with an electric hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) until smooth. Sift in the soy milk powder, and blend. Add half the powdered sugar and continue beating until incorporated. Add the remaining powdered sugar.

On a stovetop or in the microwave, scald the soy cream. While whipping the buttercream, slowly drizzle in the soy cream. Beat in the vanilla extract. Press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the buttercream and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use*. Allow to thaw completely before spreading.

*The next time you make a cake, please, please consider getting a pastry bag, coupler, and tip. Then try some simple piping, back and forth, expand and contract. It's easy to learn by practicing on saran wrap or waxed paper, and you can eat your mistakes. It doesn't have to look perfect; the effort is everything.


Anderson, Cherie said...

You have very beautiful food!

Dreena said...

saw you on the freaks, your food photos are dynamite!! :)

conscient said...

Where's the recipe for the cake?

Joy said...

Thanks cherie and dreena!

conscient, to be honest, I made the cake so haphazardly, it was only dumb luck that it worked out so well. I'm still getting amounts down and adjusting for altitude. I'll post the recipe as soon as that's sorted out and I have something concrete.