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Best Sheet Cake, Part I

September 30, 2009
The inspiration  The inspiration.

 On the day that I made the tomato soup, I made my first visit to an Amish grocery store about 15 minutes from my house. It was a very cool experience, but I was limited in what I could purchase because they only took cash (and I’m attached to my debit card) and I only had twenty bucks. I devoted four of those dollars to this quart of raspberries. (I hate to complain about the farmers market prices, but they had a pint of raspberries for four dollars that morning.) Now I could have just enjoyed these beautiful berries on their own, but that would be too healthy. They were going to become the feature ingredient of a cake.

Last year I had heard Jane and Michael Stern on “The Splendid Table” talk about a place in Texas that served a strawberry sheet cake that had pieces of real strawberries in the frosting. Earlier this summer, with my dad’s garden strawberries, I attempted my own version of this cake. I made a white (it comes out more yellow than white) sheet cake (which happens to be the best recipe I’ve ever found on the Internet) and then made Mark Bittman’s vanilla buttercream minus the vanilla and added some mashed and diced strawberries. This cake actually improved the next day because the strawberry juices soaked into the cake.

So now, in September instead of June, could I replicate the cake with these raspberries? (Hint: the answer is yes.)

The ingredients, almost

The ingredients, almost.

Sheet cakes have a pretty simple list of ingredients, with buttermilk being the most exotic (and buttermilk isn’t very exotic).

The forgotten ingredients.

The forgotten ingredients.

Because I am a haphazard food blogger, I forgot two important ingredients: salt and vanilla.  And a question: should I be using snobbier vanilla?

Boiling butter.

Boiling butter.

The cake begins by bringing a cup of water and a cup of butter to a boil over medium heat. Or a little higher if you are brave. Or attentive.

Combining the drys

Combining the drys.

While being inattentive to the butter and water on their path to a boil, I combined the dry ingredients and gave them a quick whisk.

Beaten eggs.

Beaten eggs.

In another (similar orange) bowl, I beat the eggs.

Combining the wets.

Combining the wets.

Once the eggs were beaten, I added the buttermilk and boiled butter mixture.

Combining the wets with the drys

Combining the wets with the drys

The next step was to combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.

Don't forget the vanilla

Don't forget the vanilla.

Although the recipe doesn’t call for it, I added a squirt of vanilla after I combined the wet and dry ingredients.

Into the pan and into the oven.

Into the pan and into the oven.

I poured the batter into a greased 7×11 inch pan. The frosting comes next.


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