(Non) Princess Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting

I think I have a problem.  I cannot seem to follow a recipe exactly.  Some of it stems from laziness on my part.  If I do not have an ingredient I don’t want to run to the store to grab it.  Some if it stems from my knack to rationalize that certain ingredients aren’t important.  This post has taken my problem to an extreme!  I needed to make a cake from scratch (again the laziness issue, I didn’t want to run to the store to buy a cake mix).  I also had some cream cheese in the fridge that I needed to use.  I searched through Overdrive and couldn’t find a yellow cake recipe with cream cheese frosting in any of the cookbooks I checked out.

Important side note: I now can check SEVEN books out at a time with Overdrive!  This is truly a cause to rejoice!  Thank you to those Overdrive fairies who granted my wish.

Pink Princess CookbookI decided to combine two recipes to get what I wanted.  I found a yellow cake recipe in Pink Princess Cookbook by Barbara Beery.  I’m not sure why I even looked in this book, I’m not a pink person, but it had a recipe that I could use called Pink Princess Cake.  Now, of course, I altered this recipe quite a bit.  First of all, it called for pink food coloring and the use of two different size cake pans to make it look like a mini wedding cake.  I used a regular 9 x 13 cake pan sans food coloring.  I also had run out of vanilla, so I decided to substitute mint extract instead, because I had it on hand and I like mint.  The amount of batter that this recipe made wasn’t quite enough for a 9 x 13 cake pan, but it worked.  I only cooked it for 25 minutes because I thought it would cook pretty quickly being so thin.

Holiday BakingFor the frosting I looked in a different cookbook, since I couldn’t find any frostings that included cream cheese in the pink princess cookbook.  I found one in Holiday Baking by Sara Perry called Cream Cheese Frosting.  I didn’t have unsalted butter, so I use salted butter and omitted the salt.  I left out the orange zest and of course the vanilla, since I didn’t have any.  I added some more mint extract, because, hey you can’t have too much mint!

The result of this mish mashed cake was surprisingly good!  The mint was evident in the frosting, but you couldn’t taste it at all in the cake itself.  There was just enough mint flavoring to make it refreshing.  I had my kids rate the cake from 1 to 10.  It got two  8’s, a 7, and a 6.  My son thought it was the best homemade cake he had ever tasted!  Personally I thought it was a 9.

Pink Princess Cake

Makes 1 round 2-layer cake

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Pink gel food coloring

½ cup milk

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium sized bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Then stir in vanilla.

Stir a small amount of pink food coloring into the milk and set aside.  In another bowl, combine salt, baking powder, and flour.  Add to batter alternately with colored milk.  Beat until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

Divide batter between one 8-inch round cake pan and one 6-inch round cake pan, each sprayed generously with nonstick cooking spray and lined with circles of waxed paper or parchment paper.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes.  The smaller cake may be done a few minutes before the bigger cake.  Cakes should be golden brown.  When touched lightly, they should not leave fingerprints.

Cool in pans 10 to 15 minutes, then carefully remove by placing a plate or rack over each cake pan and inverting the cake onto it.  Cool another 10 to 15 minutes before frosting.  When cakes are cool, center smaller cake on top of larger one.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)

4 cups (1 pound) sifted powdered sugar

2 teaspoons or more milk, if needed

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer set on medium/low speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt until just combined.  Beat in the vanilla, orange zest (if desired), and powdered sugar and continue to beat until it reaches a spreading consistency.  If necessary, add more milk for a creamier consistency.  The frosting can be used immediately or stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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