Monday, November 3, 2014
Candy Corn Cake
I've been thinking a lot about Christina Tosi's famed Crack Pie and Corn Cookies--both of which I have made. To get the corn flavor in both, she uses freeze-dried corn that's pulverized into a powder. When I first made the Crack Pie and tasted it, I wasn't so sure I liked it. The corn flavor seemed strong to me and I like corn but I don't love corn. But it also had this salty taste which I did like. But then I made the corn cookies--which had that same corn flavor and salty taste--and I realized I had in fact fallen for Tosi's culinary witchcraft. And I wanted to do one of two things:
Make the Crack Pie again or create a cake that could match the flavors she so flawlessly imbued into my psyche. And since it was Halloween and I wanted to make something festive and I love candy corn, I sat down and tried to make a cake that was inspired by the crack pie and corn cookies of Momofuku Milk Bar and also that captured the spirit of the candy corn candy. That part may be lame--like Pinterest lame--but sometimes I like doing kitschy things.
Anyway, I had some problems with the outcome of the cake. For one thing, the salty corn flavor didn't come through so much. My partner says he can taste it a bit but I don't--at least not to the extent I could when I bit into the Crack Pie. So I think that either I need to add more of the pulverized freeze-dried corn OR cut back on the butter so that flavor doesn't come through so much? Or maybe both.
The cake tastes good, but it tastes just like a normal yellow butter cake. Also, and this is purely aesthetically speaking, I wish my frosting deco had come out better. It's funny how much I can envision things in my head--for example the look of this cake--and then how they actually come out. I had an image of clean lines--or at least cleaner lines--of separation between the colors and then I imagined a rainbow ribbon of candy corn that was strewn across the cake. It was going to be magical...like something out of a candy fairyland or some shit like that.
Of course I wasn't sure how this ribbon would come to fruition. But then I was thinking on my way to work one day how I haven't even had a piece of candy corn during the build up to Halloween--which was odd because I love it. And I was like, well I wonder how hard it is to make it... Turns out it's not hard at all. So I made that too and decided to somehow make this magical ribbon come true.
But that didn't pan out so well. Making the candy corn was easy enough but trying to make an actual ribbon of it kind of failed. So I just decided to place the candy corn all over the cake at random--which looked ok. It wasn't the vision I had dreamily conjured in my head but it worked out well enough. I probably need to look into cake decorating classes because sometimes I do good stuff, but other times it's just a fucking mess and then I get mad.
Recipe for 1 - 6" 3 layer cake
200g cake flour
40g corn powder ( I bought this brand at Whole Foods and pulverized it in my food processor until if formed the powder)
300g granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
150g large eggs at room temp.
1c milk at room temp.
150g butter melted and cooled to room temp.
40g vegetable oil
3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
candy corn for decorating
At least 3-4c of buttercream frosting of your liking.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease 3 - 6" cake pans with butter and line the bottoms of each with a 6" circle of parchment paper.
-Using the bowl of a stand mixer, sift all of the dry ingredients together and set aside
-In a separate medium bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients together well
-Pour the wet into the dry and using the paddle attachment of the mixer and on the lowest setting, mix everything until just combined (the batter will be very liquid-like)
-If you want to make the candy corn theme, the divide the batter equally between 3 medium bowls and dye one bowl with orange food coloring and the other with yellow food coloring. The 3rd bowl will be the white color and can basically just be poured into the baking pan right away. After you've stirred in the dyes, pour the batters into their respective baking pans
-Bake cakes for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean
-Remove cakes from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before remove each cake from its respective pan. Let cakes cool completely on some cooling racks
-Once the cakes are cool, frost as desired and decorate with candy corn.
If you want to make your own candy corn, then follow the instructions from thekitchn.com found here. It's quite easy and personally I think it tastes better than the actual stuff...