It’s about time this post got, well, posted. The youngest son had his 2nd birthday (more than a month ago). I had the idea to make a cake for him with chocolate 7-minute icing, since I’ve never tried that before and he loves chocolate and the marshmallowy texture of 7-minute icing. I decided on a white cake out of the Joy of Cooking cookbook, with raspberry jam in between the layers and chocolate 7-minute icing. If you don’t care for or can’t have chocolate, then I’m sure it would be just as delicious with plain 7-minute icing. I thought I would do something I had never done with the other kids for their birthdays. I would make him a mini cake, made out of three mini layers cut out of one big layer of cake. It turned out very well, and since the cake recipe I chose makes three layers, he was able to eat off his little cake and the rest of us had the bigger 2-layer cake.
Well, if you’ve never made chocolate 7-minute icing, as I hadn’t before I made this cake, you may not know how tempermental it is to overmixing. After I had started over on the third batch of icing, having botched two batches, I looked up the icing on the Internet and only one of the five recipes I read warned that you should fold the melted chocolate into the icing instead of whipping it in or what will happen is what happened to me: it loses it’s form and puffiness and goes all liquidy and soupy. It tastes good, but isn’t much good for sticking to a cake. So, be sure to fold the melted chocolate into the finished icing instead of beating in. Oh, and melting the chocolate into the sugar syrup and beating it in doesn’t work either. If you try that, then the icing just plain won’t set up to begin with. I’m not sure why it doesn’t work, probably something to do with the specific gravity or density of the fat in chocolate that disturbs the air bubbles in the meringue.
This cake was not as flashy as his brother and sister’s cakes were. I’m sure in time he will come to request his cake, but it was nice to try something I thought he would like. Success! The cake was a hit. The pic down at the bottom is the cake after he had finished with it, mostly to show something of what it looked like on the inside with the raspberry jam. Perhaps it’s not as neat as other pictures could be. I guess it shows how much he enjoyed it. In that light, enjoy!
White Cake with Chocolate 7-Minute Icing
390g (3 1/2 cups) gluten-free flour blend (I used white sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
225g (1 cup) butter or trans-fat free shortening
450g (2 cups) caster sugar, sifted (I didn’t sift my sugar and the cake was fine)
250 ml (1 cup) milk or coconut milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
7 0r 8 egg whites (you can save the yolks for another recipe)
raspberry jam (for between layers, use however much you want)
Preheat oven to 190C (375F). Grease three 23 cm (9-inch) round cake tins. Combine gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, and salt together. Sift, if desired. Cream butter in a separate bowl, or in the bowl of a stand-mixer. Add sugar a small amount at a time and cream (or beat) until very light. Alternate adding the flour blend mixture with the milk in three parts, beginning and ending with the flour blend (flour blend, milk, flour blend, milk, flour blend.) Mix until smooth. Beat in vanilla and almond extract, if using. Whip egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold the whites into the batter. Pour batter equally into prepared cake tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. I like to start peeking at the cake when there is about 15 minutes left, just to be sure, then every five minutes after until it is done, giving it extra time if needed. Let cake layers cool before assembling.
Casein-Free Option: Use trans-fat free shortening instead of butter and coconut milk instead of milk.
Boiled Chocolate Icing (Chocolate 7-Minute Icing)
450g (2 cups) caster sugar
250 ml (1 cup) water
2 egg whites
1/8th teaspoon (one pinch) salt
1/8th teaspoon (one pinch) cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
60g (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate
Melt unsweetened chocolate in a small bowl, cool. Combine sugar and water in a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, stirring the whole while. Continue to cook the icing until it forms a soft cohesive pea-sized ball when dropped in cold water. Beat egg whites with salt until very frothy. Pour the syrup into the beaten egg whites, continuing to beat until icing forms stiff billowy peaks. Beat in cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Gently fold in melted cooled chocolate.
Assembly: For one small cake and one large one, use two layers to make standard layer cake. Put one layer down, spread raspberry jam on it, put second layer on top, then spread icing over the whole cake. Cut the remaining layer into three rounds roughly the same size. There will be scraps left over. Put one layer down, spread raspberry jam on it, place second layer on top, spread raspberry jam on it, place third layer on top. Spread icing over the whole cake, top with birthday candles.
For one large three-layer cake, place one layer down, spread raspberry jam on it, put second layer on top of the first, spread raspberry jam on it, put third layer on top of second, then spread icing over the whole cake. Enjoy!