Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Easy Decoration and Yummy Cake

It's no secret around here that my cake decoration skills are sub-par. Actually, they're flat out bad. So, any chance for me to make a cake look good without too much effort is perfect for me - and for those being subjected to my "skills". The kids always love cakes made by mom, but even they have to admit to them being not exactly nice to look at.

This cake topping is not only so very pretty, but also so very easy. Start with any type of berry you like (save the strawberries for a large sheet cake) and add fresh mint leaves. That's it. A white background makes it more dramatic, but I imagine any lighter colored icing would do.

Arrange them first on a surface the same size as your finished cake so you can rearrange as needed to get the right look. Dusting with powdered sugar adds a nice touch, as well. I like the contrast of dark berries and green leaves, but red berries would be equally pretty.

Now, to this cake. This one is simple to throw together, dense and moist in texture and not too sweet. It reminds me of a pound cake and, as such, goes well with a variety of toppings, but I find the lighter frosting I've included to be the perfect complement to heavier icings.

Sour Cream Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes one 8x8 square cake
Printable Recipe

1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and add parchment paper to an 8x8 square baking pan. Set aside.

Cut butter into small pieces and combine with sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until light. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in sour cream. Add flour, salt, soda and powder. Blend well until smooth. Batter will be thick.

Smooth batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely and turn out onto a serving platter, bottom side up.

Mix frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

(Note: if you like you can use non-dairy whipped topping in lieu of the cream and sugar.)

Soften cream cheese and beat until smooth. Beat heavy cream with powdered sugar until cream forms stiff peaks. Fold into cream cheese until smooth. Spread on cooled cake and add berries and mint in desired pattern.

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