White Cake with Peppermint Frosting . . .


Basic White Cake layers


Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon loosely packed orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 cup milk

8 large egg whites


Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add orange zest and vanilla; beat until blended. Combine flour and next 2 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.

2. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir about one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites in 2 batches. Spoon into 3 greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

3. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Frost as desired.

Note: Cake layers may be baked in 3 (8-inch) square disposable aluminum foil pans. Increase bake time to 26 to 30 minutes.


Peppermint Frosting


Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

32 ounces powdered sugar

2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

12 hard peppermint candies


Preparation:

1. Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in extracts. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 2 Tbsp. milk. Beat at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Add up to 1 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. at a time, beating until frosting reaches desired consistency.


2. Reserve 2 cups frosting in a small bowl. Process peppermint candies in a food processor until finely crushed. Stir 1/4 cup crushed candies into reserved 2 cups frosting.


3. Place 1 Basic White Cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup peppermint candy frosting mixture over cake layer. Top with second layer, and spread remaining 1 cup peppermint candy frosting over cake layer. Top with third cake layer, and spread top and sides of cake with remaining plain peppermint frosting. Sprinkle with remaining crushed candies, or top with meringues or fondant bow.


For the photo look, buy 1 lb. each of red and white rolled fondant from the cake section of a crafts store. Roll a thin red strip, and follow our steps below for the bow. Dust your countertop with cornstarch or powdered sugar to prevent sticking.


Make the Bow: Create a Cover-Worthy Cake Garnish

Roll Long Strips: You'll need a rolling pin, pizza wheel, ruler, and red and white fondant. Roll a chunk of red and chunk of white fondant into two long strips (about 1/8 inch thick). Using ruler and pizza wheel, cut white fondant into thin strips.


Make Striped Ribbon: Moisten finger with water; rub one side of one thin white strip. Place strip, moist side down, on red to form a stripe. Repeat with two to three strips. Roll gently with rolling pin. Repeat as needed to make more ribbons.

Cut, Shape, Dry: Cut two identical ribbons for tails. Place foil under tails to create folds. Form loops of bow by wrapping ribbon around a cardboard roll, leaving 1/4 inch excess on ends. Pinch ends. Cut a small rectangle for knot. Let dry 24 hours.


Assemble Bow: Place bow tails on cake, draping down sides. Place bow loops over ribbon on top of cake (loop ends touching). Tip loops at an angle, and press gently into frosting to secure. Cover seam with knot, using frosting as glue, if needed.