Flour Child Bakery opens in Virginia Beach!

My mom and I just opened a bakery in Virginia Beach!! "Like" us to stay updated! If you care to read our blog, it's flourchildbakery.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

HTEAC Does Business: "Over the Hill!" 40th Birthday Cake

I'm gonna start a new grouping of posts for my paid orders. I'm calling it HTEAC Does Business (sticking with the theme from my HTEAC Does Dinner section). One of our loyal wing nighters asked me to do her boyfriend John's 40th birthday cake. She wanted to do the "Over the Hill" theme with lots of black frosting. Thank goodness he likes chocolate because it is SO awful trying to make black vanilla buttercream. She told me he loves Reese's and asked me to do a cake and cupcakes using chocolate and peanut butter as the main flavors. For the cake, I used a peanut butter cake recipe from a book I recently got, Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott, and I added some mini chocolate chips to the batter. For the frosting, I used regular decorator's buttercream for the colors. And for the black frosting I made chocolate peanut butter frosting. I hate decorating cakes, and if I didn't have help from my mom (who took a gazillion Wilton classes back in the day and can decorate character cakes in her sleep) this cake would've looked terrible. We teamed up and did a pretty awesome job, considering my mom hasn't done a cake in over 10 years and I absolutely loathe cake decorating.

And if you suck at making flowers like I do, try this method. Use a small star tip (I think I used #18) and make a swirl from the inside out. It looks sorta like a flower!
Now let me talk a little more about this cake recipe. It uses the mixing method of coating the flour with fat before adding the wet ingredients. This prevents the flour from absorbing the wet ingredients and thus prevents the development of gluten. Meaning, you can stop worrying so much about over-mixing your cake batter. At first, this method always made me nervous because it's pounded into our heads that we should never over-mix the batter after the flour is added. But after a bit of practice, I actually prefer this mixing method. This particular recipe is mixed for over 2 1/2 minutes and the cake comes out perfectly soft and moist! It's like a cake miracle! :D

PS: If you only wanna make 6 or 7 cupcakes, make 1/4 of the recipe. (It works, I tried it!)

James McNair's Peanut Cake (from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
Makes 2 9-inch round layers; or about 28 cupcakes [1/4 recipe in green makes about 7 cupcakes]
4 eggs (1 egg)
1 cup milk (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil (1 Tbsp)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1/2 tsp)
3 cups all-purpose flour (3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon baking powder (3/4 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit)
2 cups sugar (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (2 Tbsp)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not "natural" peanut butter) (2 Tbsp)
3/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (my own addition) (1/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to blend well. Set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl of a mixer, and stir with a fork to mix well. Add the sugar and use the mixer at low speed or a fork to mix these dry ingredients together well, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and peanut butter and beat at medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, about 45 seconds. Add about 1 1/4 cups of the milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes, and then stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining milk mixture, beat for 30 seconds, stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat again until creamy smooth, about 30 seconds more. (Fold in the chocolate chips, if using.)
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes (or 15-17 minutes for cupcakes), until the cake springs back when touched gently in the center and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towel for 5 to 10 minutes. Then turn out the cakes onto the racks to cool completely.


Steph said...

I know what you mean about the reverse creaming. It used to drive me crazy and I use to mess it up because I was afraid to let the batter beat up fluffy. I decided to try it once listening to the recipe and it worked out really well! The only thing I don't like about it, is it works better with cake flour. So overall, I prefer regular creaming better because it works with both types of flours.

You did a great job with the cake! I really suck at decorating. I never know where to start!

Mermaid Sweets said...

Nice cake it looks really good. Glad your mom could help, that is good team work. Look forward to more of your doing business posts.

Ingrid said...

Your mom and you did a GREAT job! I'm not crazy about cake decorating either. I took a class and my "instructor" barely knew more about it than I did. Sad considering I paid money for the class.

apparentlyjessy said...

Wow, I think you and your mum did a fantastic job on the decorating! Such an amusing theme for a birthday cake! I really like the two toned frosting for the cupcakes.
Hmm the recipe sounds interesting, and I have been hankering for peanut butter a lot recently, I'll have to give this one a try!

Ellemay said...

Oh WOW!!

Be thankful your mum can decorate! Mine can't, so I've had to learn on my own which has led to some very interesting results....

Mrsklaser said...

It came out gorgeous! Wow, I do not even know where to start. Great job cass!

June Freaking Cleaver said...

I'm signing up for my first Wilton class tonight...me, the gal who has zero craftiness ability. We'll see how it goes.

veggievixen said...

this is awesome! very clever & well done.

thereddeer said...

Great job - both the cupcakes and cake look wonderful, I bet they tasted even better.

Stacy said...

Wow, you are so talented!!! You did such a great job! Thanks for the recipe and the tips! Can't wait to give it a try!

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

Aww! Cute. Good job.

♥Rosie♥ said...

What a brilliant 40th birthday cake - you did an excellent job!!

You really have lots of talent :0)

Eliana said...

What an awesome looking cake. I wish we lived close to each other so that I could buy one from you.

Anonymous said...


Love your cupcakes, but to be completely honest with you, the cake doesn't look really good... I'm sorry I don't mean to be rude but I think it's always better to be honest. And the cake is kind of scary...but I know for sure that it's delicious!
I keep following you and your recipes and I took the bad habits to always be very satisfied! :)

Christina said...

YAY! I've been looking for a peanut butter cake recipe and haven't felt like tweaking my own, so I'm very glad to see this recipe!!!!!! My favorite cupcake recipe uses this method of coating the fat with the flour, too.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Thanks for your two cents, Anonymous. While it is good to be honest, it's also smart to consider whether or not your criticism is constructive.

Jelli Bean said...

This cake sounds tasty. Next time I have pb in the house and a good reason to celebrate, it will be high on the list for baking. Yum.

Adam said...

I'm surprised that you loahe cake decorating. I mean it's a pain, and messy, and frustrating... wait... oh I get it :)

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Your cake looks so good! You're lucky to have your mom helping you! And now that I know you 'loathe' cake decorating, I really appreciate how you still took the time to comment on my posts about it :D

Yennigirl said...

This cake sound so good! Can you post your chocolate peanut butter icing recipe?? Please???