White Cake & Buttercream Frosting

I probably won’t have a post like this until next summer.

The stand mixer that I excitedly got for my birthday is a bit of an obstruction and isn’t allowed in the kitchen, meaning it’s packed away in my room. My sister is moving out next summer/year and my mom says that once they’re gone and there’s less clutter then I’m allowed to leave my stand mixer out.

But it’s been five months since I was given my lovely black Kitchen Aid stand mixer and I would not go this year with only having used it once.

I’ve been looking for a reason (i.e. recipe) to use the mixer, rather than do things by hand, and it helped that this morning I got a text from my brother saying, “I really want a cake…” When I saw him, I asked him if he wanted me to make him a cake, to which he said, “… … No …” In our family, where we generally say the opposite of what we mean, that was an outstanding Yes.

We have a lot of junk food in this house, so it was a surprise when I couldn’t find chocolate to bake with. All the better, I suppose, since Smitten Kitchen’s baking is always too fucking complex with several careful steps with ingredients that you aren’t likely to have unless you’re a serious baker. Even then, you need some sort of chocolate to make anyone’s chocolate cake, so I just looked for a recipe for white/vanilla cake.

I’m not sure if I’ve made cake from scratch before (I think I have once), but it was definitely the first time making buttercream frosting. That’s what my brother wanted most (or else I would have made some sort of healthy fruit/nut loaf), so I found a reason to use the mixer. In any case, I used this recipe for a simple white cake (beat for a long time, extra milk, etc.) and I think it would have been very different if I had tried this by hand. I hate recipes that are written with the assumption of a mixer being involved.

It was all straightforward: basic ingredients, dump everything into the mixer, bake for 40 minutes, cool, spread frosting. The frosting was super easy and, like the cake, it was just a dumping of ingredients to be stirred.

I got piping tips and bags from my friends for Christmas (or birthday?) and I haven’t found a reason to use them until now because I almost always omit icing. Last year, I very briefly worked in a commercial bakery and in that short time, I learned how to pipe messages onto cakes. I’m quite slow and I only ever wrote “Happy birthday!” or the such, but still.

This time, it turned out quite well. My penmanship transferred to my cake decorating, apparently. I didn’t ice the sides of the cake so I had leftover icing. I tried making the swirls that you see on cupcakes in stores, but my mom said they looked like green poo. I’m often this successful.

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