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CAKE DAY

by Mr. Kringle

“Let them eat cake!” the most famous quote about cake ever, were the words of Marie Antoinette and I could not agree more. Cake is arguably one of the most delicious things humans have ever made to eat, and its numerous varieties continue to astound every cake fan. For that reason, it is obvious that cake is more than deserving of its own little holiday, today, Cake day! The history of cake dates back to ancient times, and the first cakes are thought to have been made in Ancient Greece and Egypt. These first cakes were rather heavy and flat and were eaten at the end of a meal with nuts and honey. In later years the ancient Romans also created their own version of this sweet treat, which was rather creamy and rich. However, like in many cultures around the world, this cake was often reserved for the gods and was offered to them at their temples as a sign of respect, love and reverence. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the English word cake back to the 13th century. During the Great Depression, it was necessary to provide easy, relatively cheap food to millions of Americans who were living in poverty, and the boxed cake mix was born. The idea turned out to be pure gold, as millions all over the United States took advantage of this way to make their lives easier.

Of course, the best way to celebrate Cake Day is by eating cake with family and friends. You can buy a number of different types of cakes to celebrate the event, or have fun making your own cake to mark the occasion. There are many different kinds of cake to choose from, yeast cakes (the oldest types of cake), cheesecake (the rich and creamy kind of cake) or sponge cakes (the light texture iced with butter or cream cheese frosting cake). Whirrel and I decided to go with a colorful Egg Nog Cake! So pick a type of cake that suits you, your family or friends and start baking!

EGG NOG CAKE (makes 2 9-inch rounds)

INGREDIENTS
Cake
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup eggnog, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into 16 pieces
Food coloring

Frosting
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tablespoon eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cake:
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, eggnog, and vanilla; set aside.
-In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. With the mixer on medium low, add the butter one piece at a time until the mixture looks sandy, and just start to come together.
-Add half of the eggnog mixture and mix on low until it just comes together. Increase the speed to medium high speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
-Reduce mixer speed to medium, and add the remaining egg mixture in a slow, steady stream.
-Continue mixing until thoroughly combined, scraping the bowl, as needed.
-Divide the batter and add food coloring (18 ounces in each 9-inch round)
-Place both pans on the same rack and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.
-Run a paring knife around the outside edge of the cakes, turn them out onto a wire cooling rack, and peel away the parchment paper.
-Allow to cool completely before assembling and frosting. For an added touch cut each cake in half to have a four layered cake!
To make the frosting:
-In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine the egg whites, sugar, nutmeg, and salt.
-Heat the mixture, whisking often, until it reaches 160 degrees and the sugar is dissolved.
-Pour into a large bowl (if using a hand mixer), or the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attached.
-Whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8-10 minutes. The mixture should also be room temperature, at this point.
-With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated before adding another piece.
-Continue to beat until thick and smooth (if it looks curdled or soupy, just keep beating it until smooth again, another 3 minutes or so). Stir in the vanilla and eggnog until incorporated and tint with food coloring, as desired.