pâtisserie natalie

March 19, 2009

Bumblebee Cake


One of my favorite places in the world is San Francisco. More specifically, the Ferry Terminal Building. Home to Miette Pâtisserie, Schaffen Berger chocolate, and other independent organic farmers. It's basically a foodie heaven. Miette Pâtisserie is my all-time favorite place to get a sweet. It combines beautiful designs with really delicious flavors. One of their cakes I've always thought looked super moist and tasty was their Bumblebee cake- A buttery vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. Not an unusual cake, but this one is just so pretty and classically scrumptious. A friend of mine has a birthday tomorrow, so I thought I'd make this cake, which he mentioned he loved the flavors of.

I'm not thrilled with the photos I took, mainly because I had to shoot them at night. I didn't finish the cake until then, and I won't be home when it next gets light. However, an exciting update: I just ordered my Canon Rebel Xsi and 50mm/1.8 lens. I am so excited I can barely contain myself. The new camera will take my photos to the next level, so don't be shocked! :)

For the buttercake:
Adapted from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans

2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8" cake pan bottoms and line with parchment. Grease parchment and flour. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In your mixer, beat the butter and sugar until combined and creamy (about 2 minutes). Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is blended into the batter. Add the vanilla and beat for 2 more minutes. ON low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture ad mixing just until the flour is incorporates and the batter looked smooth. Fill the cake pans equally and shake to smooth top. Bake for about 30 minutes, depending on your oven. [Having a convection oven really helps in this case.] When the cake tops are dark-golden brown and a tester comes out clean, remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan. After at least 2 hours, you can slice the domed tops of the cakes off, and split the layers.


I am a believer that the best buttercream has very little powdered sugar. It should be soft, and not ridiculously sweet. I get compliments about my frosting all the time about how it doesn't give people a head-rush from all the sugar and isn't stiff as a brick.

For the chocolate buttercream:

3 sticks unsalted butter; soft
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Beat butter in electric mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder in small increments as slowly as possible [if you start the mixer too high, your frosting will end up on your kitchen walls]. Increase the speed after it looks like your frosting won't fly everywhere.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

Combine equal weights of chopped chocolate and heavy cream. Heat cream in a small saucepan to a simmer. Pour over chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Let it sit and cover the chocolate for 2 minutes, then stir.
Wait until the chocolate is room temperature before you pour it over your iced cake. Don't put it in the fridge or it will form a crust on the surface.


Claire said...

Looks yummy! Congratulations on your new camera!

Paula said...

what you said re: buttercream. :) so what's your new camera? the photos are incredible.

Natalie said...

The camera is a DSLR (digital SLR0 camera. it takes really amazing photos, and has a manual focus/lenses, which my regular digital camera doesn't have that ability.

Terri said...

Hi Natalie, I was looking at your chocolate buttercream recipe..tomorrow I am doing a bakesale with my daughters outside. Should I frost the cupcakes and stick in the fridge before I take them to the sale and they sit out for four hours? I don't want the butter to get hard and look as if it will sweat. Should I refrigerate at all? Thanks, I'm really nervous and would love some advice. Terri

Natalie said...

If you use a buttercream recipe without cream, I recommend you don't put them in the fridge, as long as you store them in an airtight container. When I worked at a cupcake bakery, this is what we recommended to customers. This will keep the cake moist, and the frosting nice and soft. Also, storing in a container is your basement or the coolest place in your home until you need them is helpful.
Hope this helps!

Reva said...

Hi there,
when you say so and so many 'sticks of butter' how big are your 'sticks'?

Natalie said...

each stick of butter is 8 tablespoons.

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