We have friends coming to town this weekend to enjoy Roanoke’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Last night, on a whim, I decided to bake a quick cake for their visit. I had a chocolate boxed cake mix on hand, so I cheated and used that to bake a two-layer cake.
But I wanted to do something special for the icing, so I decided to do homemade buttercream icing with a little peppermint extract. And since I baked all of those naturally green things last week for this week’s column, I threw caution to the wind and used Wilton’s food coloring in leaf green. I like Wilton’s coloring because it’s a gel/paste consistency and won’t throw off any recipes with extra liquid.
What I turned out was a grasshopper cake with a very pale green, minty, buttery icing. Howard said the icing tasted like butter mints to him, which was a perfect comparison. The main question I always have when I make homemade icing is: How much am I going to need for this cake? I hate it when I don’t have quite enough frosting, but I don’t want a bunch left over, either.
Unless a recipe calls specifically for a Bundt pan or a 9×13 or something, I usually like to make layer cakes. I think they look beautiful in my glass cake stand and look so nice when you slice into them and see that layer of frosting in the center. I went looking for advice on how much icing I would need and I found this interesting chart posted on a Yahoo forum:
Pan size…. Icing needed
6″…..1 1/2 cups
7″…..1 1/2 cups
9″……2 1/2 cups
14″….6 1/2 cups
13″ x 9″……..2 cups
9″ x 5″ x 3″ loaf…1 cup
12 cupcakes….3/4 to 1 cup
Judging by this chart, since I used two 8-inch round pans, I’d need about 4 cups of icing to ice my cake. That seems like a lot so I’m guessing this chart was made by an icing lover. I decided to go with 3 cups, so I made a 1 1/2 batch of the buttercream icing in the recipe below and the amount was PERFECT. I had plenty of icing without it being too much, and no stretching to cover that dark chocolate cake underneath. The only ingredient I kept the same was 1 tsp. of peppermint extract, because I think peppermint extract tastes a little stronger in a recipe than vanilla. But to each his or her own. I will post a picture of my cake after we cut it open [posted].
Experiment with this chart a bit and see how it works for you. And check out this buttercream frosting recipe if you don’t have one you already love. It has 5 stars and 288 reviews on Foodnetwork.com. It’s a keeper.
I hope everybody has a great weekend!
Makes about 2 cups
This is a delicious and fairly easy recipe. If using a stand mixer, scrape down the sides occasionally and knock some of the butter out of the whisk. Don’t work too slowly if you are in a warm space because you don’t want the butter to get too soft.
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter, slightly softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or desired flavor)
1 to 2 Tbsp. whipping cream (or heavy cream, or milk would probably work but start with a small amount)
1. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes, or until creamy.
2. Add extract and 1 Tbsp. of the cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.