Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Birthday Miami-Style

It that busy time of the year when I end up making a dozen birthday cakes in the span of 3 weeks. I don't mind really, as this is something I enjoy doing for friends

Today was my friend Lisa's birthday and originally she had opted for an Orange Cake with Chocolate Glaze. Two days before, she saw me reading Ivonne's blog and saw the Mojito Cupcakes and she asked if I could make it into a cake. I love a challenge, so why not? I bought all the ingredients and followed Ivonne's lead.

First was the cake, itself. I followed the instructions and whipped up the batter - surprisingly it did not contact any lime, and just a little rum. But the batter was thick and beautiful and tasted divine.

Once I pulled the cake from the oven and allowed it to cool, I could see the tight crumb texture and knew that this cake would take a lot of flavor from the syrup.

After soaking the cake and letting it cool the rest of the way, I whopped up the icing and lathered it on. After eating the cake (it was amazing, by the way), I think I will probably make a couple of slight changes the next time. Since lime zest doesn't have tons of lime flavor, I think I might try using less zest and a couple of splashes of lime juice instead.

Mojito Cake
Yields 1, 1/4-sheet cake or 10-cup bundt cake

Chef’s Note: I recommend storing this cake in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese and butter in the frosting.

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 Tbls dark rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a rack in the center of the oven.

Combine the buttermilk, rum and vanilla extract. Set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift together and then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 4 to 5 minutes).

Reduce the speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

With the mixer still on low speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix well.

Add half of the buttermilk mixture and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Mix for a minute or two.

Add another third of the dry ingredients (on low speed) and mix well.

Add the remainder of the buttermilk mixture, once again scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Mix for another minute or two.

Add the remainder of the dry ingredients (on low speed) and mix for a minute or two, until the batter is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all of the flour has been incorporated.

Pour cake into buttered and floured 9x13 ¼-sheet pan.

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes and then test for doneness by inserting a cake tester into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Flip onto a serving platter or cake board and poke holes in the top with a skewer or toothpick. Immediately spoon the slightly cooled rum syrup over the warm cake and let it soak it all up. Once it has cooled completely, you can ice the cake with the lime and rum frosting.

For the rum syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup dark rum
2 or 3 pieces of lime zest
½ bunch fresh mint

In a small pot, combine the sugar, water and butter over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Once the butter has completely melted and the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat.

Carefully add the rum. The mixture will bubble and spurt so take care not to burn yourself.

Once you’ve mixed in all the rum, add the lime zest and mint and let the syrup infuse for 15 minutes before spooning over the cake.

For the lime and rum frosting:
2, 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
Zest of 4 limes (use a microplane if you have one)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter at high speed for 5 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar in two batches. Mix for a minute to incorporate the sugar and then increase the speed to high again and mix for another minute or two. The frosting should be light and fluffy.

Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the rum and the lime zest and mix at medium speed until well incorporated.