Monday, July 30, 2012

Four Superb Birthday Cakes (pt. 1)

Ladies and Gentlemen, tomorrow is Harry Potter's 32nd Birthday!! How perfect is it that we have arrived at his four superb birthday cakes right in time for his special day :) It must be really dreadful to have your birthday completely overlooked by the family with whom you live. But I imagine that having friends come to the rescue makes it a little more tolerable:

"And then on Harry's birthday (which the Dursleys had completely ignored) he had received four superb birthday cakes, one each from Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and Sirius" (Goblet of Fire 28).

Harry is lucky enough to have four birthday cakes to sustain him while he is forced to endure Dudley's summer diet. In The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, Ms. Bucholz includes recipes for all four cakes! So it seems to me that we should certainly try them out! That means that Harry's birthday will take up 4 separate entries (and I'll be giving away a lot of cake!).

The first cake listed is from Ron, which means it was most likely made by Mrs. Weasley. Dinah Bucholz suggests that she prepared a Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake, a British staple made popular by Queen Victoria. So that's what we're making!

You Will Need:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 sticks (12 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup raspberry jam
Confectioner's Sugar, for dusting
whipped cream, for serving, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease two 8" round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
3. Whisk together the flour, backing powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until incorporated and scraping down the sides as needed. 
Last Egg

6. Add the flour mixture and beat on the lowest speed until combined. Scrape the sides and fold together with a rubber spatula.

7. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 20 minutes, until they are golden brown around the edges (the tops will still be pale). A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

8. To assemble the cake, place one cake on your serving plate, top-side down, and spread with the raspberry jam all the way to the edges.

9. Top with the second cake, top-side up, and dust generously with confectioner's sugar. Serve with whipped cream (and tea!).

This is one delicious cake! It is actually very reminiscent of shortbread, so it's a nice subtle taste-- perfect to serve with tea. It would be an excellent option when company is coming to visit mid-afternoon... perhaps for high tea? Enjoy!

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