Monday, February 27, 2012

Birthday Cake (or pie!)

So the 20th was my dad's birthday, and the day before, he and his wife came up to visit and spend some time. We threw him a Triplitt style birthday party, complete with homemade hats and birthday bunting. Ever since I was a little girl, my dad's birthday means Boston Cream Pie. Of course, growing up, we always picked one up from the supermarket.  This time, I made one from scratch.

Boston Cream Pie (adapted from here)

1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 room temperature eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, plus 4 yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 ounces finely chopped semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

First, preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 inch cake pan and cut a piece of parchment to line just the bottom. To do this easily, you can fold a piece of parchment into a square, then fold the square in half at a point to form a triangle. fold it one more time to form a smaller triangle then set the point of the paper in the middle of the cake pan and cut the edge, following the curve of the pan.  Open it up and it's a circle that fits. Or, you can always just trace the bottom of the pan and cut just inside the line. That works too.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar in a separate clean dry glass bowl on high speed until pale and tripled in volume, about fifteen minutes.  Fold in the flour mixture gently until well combined.  Mix in the milk, oil, and vanilla and beat til combined.  Pour the thin batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  The original recipe called for 25-30 minutes, but I baked mine for 35 and it was perfect. At 25 minutes it was still liquid in the center. Let cool ten minutes in the pan, then invert onto a rack until cooled completely.
While it cools make the pudding.  Heat the milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat but don't boil it. Whisk the eggs, yolk, and sugar in a large bowl til light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.  Add cornstarch and salt and whisk vigorously and make sure there are no remaining lumps. Very slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture. Don't pour it in all at once or you'll cook the eggs... you want it to temper.Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat until pudding like consistency forms, about ten minutes. Press through a fine mesh sieve . Let cool slightly, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for two hours.
Use a cake leveler to clean up the top of the cake and divide the cake into two equal layers. Spread the pudding onto the bottom layer and evenly press the top layer on, just until the pudding starts to come out the edges. Use a cake spatula to even off the excess pudding from the sides. 
Make the ganache by heating the heavy cream in a saucepan until a simmer forms around the edges, swirling the cream slowly to prevent a skin from forming. Pour the cream over the chocolate in a medium glass bowl, and use a rubber spatula to stir until all the chocolate is melted. Stir in the vanilla and salt and pour over the cake, allowing the ganache to run down the sides of the cake.  As a side note, I doubled the ganache recipe because I love chocolate. Refrigerate the cake at least 30 minutes before serving, and keep refrigerated any leftovers.

Enjoy! Happy birthday, Dad!

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