In the popsicle world, rocket pops are my popsicle of choice. When my brother and I would hear the familiar da duh da duh da duh of the ice cream man truck, we would run through the house screaming “ice cream man! Ice cream man!” My mom would hand us a dollar each and we’d burst through the front door, our little hearts racing from excitement—imminent ice cream!—and fear—what if the ice cream man was gone?
I don’t remember what my brother’s choice was, but mine would be that classic red, white and blue on a stick. We’d sit on the curb with the other neighbourhood kids who were fast enough to catch the ice cream man and talk about who’s treat was the best. Skinned knees, the ice cream man and running around our cul-de-sac with our pack of neighbourhood friends is what I remember best about childhood summers.
I’ve created an un-meltable rocket pop-esque cake with layers of red, white and blue. The unremarkable white frosting on the outside of this cake might make you pass it over, but once you slice into it, the vibrancy of the red and blue call to you, “eat me!”
Hope everyone has a happy 4th!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
3/4 cups sugar and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoong vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)
red and blue gel food colouring
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line three 4.5 inch springform pans with rounds of parchment paper.
Sift together the flour and baking power in a bowl. Stir in the salt and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and 3/4 cups sugar at medium speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and thick. Beat in the vanilla then add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions. The batter will be thick. Transfer to a large bowl.
Put the egg whites in a clean mixer bowl an whisk on medium speed until the whites begin to foam. Increase the speed to medium high and slowly add the 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar then beat on high until the meringue is thick, glossy and holds almost stiff peaks.
Fold one-third of the whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites.
Take 1 and 1/3 cups of batter and put it in one of your springforms. Divide the remaining batter by putting 1 and 1/3 cups of batter in two bowls and colour one red and one blue. Put the batter into the springforms and bake all three for 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely then remove from the pans and brush off the crumbs. Ice cake with Swiss meringue buttercream.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
12 tablespoons of room temperature butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk the egg whites and sugar in your metal mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water. Continue to whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Test by dipping a finger in and rubbing it against another finger. If you can feel any grains of sugar, you’re good to go.
Lift the bowl off the pot of simmering water and be sure to wipe away and water condensation on the bottom of the bowl. Using the whisk attachment, whip the egg mixture starting on low a low speed and moving to high until it turns white and doubles in size. The eggs will cool down while whipping and when you touch the bottom of the metal bowl, it should be cool before you add any butter.
Switch to the paddle and slowly whip in the butter a tablespoon at a time. The mixture might look like it’s curdling, but it will come together into a lovely fluffy mass of delicious, not-too-sweet frosting. When all the butter is whipped in, add the vanilla and ice!