16 March 2010

A tale of two cakes

I recently hosted a dinner for a friend's birthday.
The silver was not polished and the linens were not starched.
No one cared. 
I did use my great Grandmother's china and silver and the festive ivy plates (above) from the 1950s by Metlox.
We began with a Kir Royale appertif.
I made fresh baguettes to have with the salad composeè and cheese course after the main course. The main course was ginger-curry shrimp.
The dessert was birthday cake of course.
The icing is what my husband's family calls "Granny Steele Frosting". It is actually Creamy Vanilla Frosting (recipe below) that is traditionally used on Red Velvet cake. I had the family recipe but everytime I made it it broke and was thin and lumpy despite its delicious vanilla flavor.

I had thought for quite awhile that a bit of research might reveal a similar recipe that would yield better results.
It turns out that the ingredients in the family recipe are correct. It was the technique that lacked the specifics necessary to produce the mounds of white fluffy icing on this cake.

Pardon the photo--there was wine with dinner and it was a very long dinner!
I made the traditional Red Velvet cake. The Steeles always put the frosting on German Chocolate cake.
The frosting was rich and buttery and at the same time fluffy. The verdict on the frosting was--it's a keeper. Red Velvet cake--not so much. Lucky for me we had another birthday coming.

My darling son turned 15. He got a hot new guitar and a three layer German Chocolate cake with Granny Steele frosting made this way...
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1/2 a vanilla bean added to the milk mixture and removed after cooling)

In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 10-15 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.

Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (no less and no longer—set a timer!). Use immediately.

copied from: More From Magnolia: Recipes From The World-Famous Bakery and Magnolia's Home Kitchen

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Creamy-Vanilla-Frosting-241564


  1. sounds (and looks!) delicious! I love red velvet cake....AND german chocolate; One of each for me, please!