White Almond Sour Cream Cake
... Without the Almond ...
... Oh and with a Package of Vanilla Pudding ...
For my 3D/sculpted cake entry in the upcoming cake contest, I needed a firm, fine crumb cake to carve. Several decorators on cakecentral.com recommend the famous White Almond Sour Cream (WASC) cake recipe for carving ... well, heck, for anything. People rave about this cake. Some cakers say it's practically the only recipe they bake. I had to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, I had to doctor the recipe so this post isn't 100% ... hence the "attempted" tag.
1.5 batches of this recipe was made, which is actually a LOT of cake. The first batch almost overflowed my KitchenAid! I kept cringing at every additional ingredient as it went into the bowl, hoping I wasn't going to end up with a batter-covered counter. A package of vanilla pudding mix also went in (a suggestion made for extra firmness in a cakecentral.com post about carving WASC). I had enough to fill 2 8"x3" rounds, 1 7"x3" round, and 2 6"x2" rounds.
All the pans went into the oven at the same time, but the 6" rounds came out early. If memory serves me right (which it does not necessarily do), everything was done after an hour and a half.
My poor 6" round suffered the most deformation. One side was very fluffy and stuck to the pan. It also peaked high in the center. I used baking strips on all of the pans ... maybe next time I'll have to use flower nails too.
But they do look delicious, don't they? The outside was a nice golden color. The inside would have been whiter if not for the pudding mix. It ended up looking somewhere in between white and yellow cake. Torting it really shows how a nice and fine the crumb is.
The cake was firm, but not too firm or heavy. It had a nice density and was pretty good for carving. Here's the 7" and 8" rounds torted, leveled, and stacked.
My edges unfortunately baked up a little hard. After watching me struggle with my serrated bread knife, my husband suggested we buy an electric carving knife for when I have to do this all over again. We found a $10 one at HEB. I'll let you know how that goes later.
This was also my first time using Indydebi's buttercream. I'd love to try that recipe again on a regular cake. So far it has performed very well for me. The recipe was simple, it was easy to work with, and it got a nice crust. The taste, well, it tastes like regular ole buttercream. Nothing blow-your-mind new, but a good, safe taste.
After leveling and carving the cake, I had a considerable amount of scraps. I made cake spackle for the first time (a technique in Toba Garrett's book The Well Decorated Cake). The scraps were thrown in to my little food processor, pulsed with "Grind" mode.
This produced very consistent crumbs ... I don't know why I bothered using anything else for making cake balls!
Spackling my cake was fun! I used it to build up in areas that needed more cake. This is definitely a handy technique. Toba suggests covering whole cakes with spackle before icing. My contest entry will most likely have a layer of it.
Well, not all of the scraps went into spackling. Like I said, that was a LOT of cake. And what do you do with left over cake? Make CAKE BALLS!!!
This time I used Baker's semi-sweet chocolate. It melted in the microwave nicely, and I finally got to use my new candy dipping tool. These were by far the prettiest cake balls I have ever made. I even put them into little individual candy cups (they look like mini cupcake wrappers) before setting them out on the "taco table" at work.
I'd like to try cake balls with more expensive chocolate, like Ghiradelli ... but I not made of moneyz. Maybe I'll have an excuse in the future to splurge.
Oh I should probably mention how the cake tasted. It's hard to say what was WASC and what was vanilla pudding. Oh I should probably mention how I didn't add almond flavoring ... so it was more like WSCVP. Anywho, it tasted good to me. My favorite Duncan Hines cake is "French Vanilla", and it tasted pretty close to that. I realize, though, that not having almond and adding the pudding really kinda removes all the features of WASC. The cake is no longer white ... it's yellowish. White cake is also pretty light and fluffy (because it's egg whites without the yokes) ... and adding pudding weighed it down a lot. The sour cream was to make it moist ... and I don't know how much of the moisture factor was sour cream or pudding.
In the future, I will have a true 100% WASC cake post so I can have a fair tasting ... as soon as I find my bottle of almond flavoring ...