Erin Gardner's Any Butter Cake



Courtesy photo

New Hampshire brides discovered the talent of Erin Gardner seven years ago when her Wild Orchid Bakery opened in Dover. She went on to win national accolades and earn an episode of Food Network’s “Sweet Genius.” Now, two babies later, she is sharing her baking skills by teaching and blogging. Her "Erin Bakes Cake" is a finely tuned tome that tells the tale of her sweet success that's filled with whimsy. The recipes are adaptable for beginner bakers, but she includes plenty of professional tips and charts to make this book worthy for just about any skill level.

Erin’s favorite recipe (included here) is her Any Butter Cake — superbly delicious, and nearly nutritious, using seed and nut butters as part of the fat component. The book also offers three recipes for buttercream — Swiss meringue, American and ermine (the later is an using cooked flour) and a host of ideas for decorating cakes easily and colorfully with cookies, candies and chocolate. No fussy fondant masterpieces here. This book will get just about anybody off the couch and into the kitchen to lick spoons and get a taste of her delicious cakes.

Erin will be signing copies of her cookbook “Erin Bakes Cake” at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter on October 18 at 7 p.m.

Any Butter Cake (Nutella Version)

Yield: 10 cups batter, which makes two tall 8-inch round cakes or three regular 6-inch round cakes

12 ounces unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces Nutella
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
9 large eggs
1 ½ cups cake flour (plus more cake flour or all-purpose flour for the pans)

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray and flour pans in your chosen size.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer), beat together the unsalted butter, ground butter, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt at medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure there are no butter lumps, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, until completely combined. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through mixing and after adding the last egg.

4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour to the butter mixture until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time. Fold in any remaining streaks of flour by hand.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake, rotating the pans’ positions halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs clinging to it, 45 to 50 minutes for 8-inch round pans or 30 to 35 minutes for 6-inch round pans.

6. Transfer the cakes to a rack to cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a flat surface, like plates or a clean countertop. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting, filling or storing.

Frost with your favorite buttercream frosting or get Erin’s book for more ideas. She likes to cut the layers in half to open up opportunities for more frosting.

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