Neapolitan Cake

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A week has already flown by since my last post! Time to make another cake! Here is the recipe and some pretty great pictures of my Neapolitan cake. Vanilla and chocolate layers with a meringue buttercream frosting with strawberries. And yes, those are strawberry macaroons on the top.

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Now look at this picture carefully…how many owls can you spot???

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NEAPOLITAN CAKE

Vanilla Cake

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sunflower or canola oil
2/3 cup milk

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Prepare two 15 cm (6 inch) baking pans by greasing them with butter and dusting them with flour.
3.Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in medium sized bowl, and set aside.
4. With a hand mixer, beat eggs with the sugar and vanilla until batter is three times the size. (about 10 minutes)
5. Drizzle in the oil while continuing to beat the batter.
6. Add flour mix, and milk, alternating while beating on a low setting.
7. Divide batter among the pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Let cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes before inverting them onto a cooling rack.

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
1 cup pastry flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (3/4 cups milk, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice)
1/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup strong coffee, room temperature

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Prepare 2 15 cm (6 inch) baking pans by greasing them with butter and dusting them with flour.
3.Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in medium sized bowl, and set aside.
4. In another bowl, beat eggs with the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil with a whisk, and set aside.
5.In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and coffee until smooth.
6. Add to egg mixture. Add flour mix, and beat until just mixed.
7. Divide batter among the pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Let cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes before inverting them onto a cooling rack.

Strawberry swiss meringue buttercream

Ingredients
5 large egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 3/4 sticks butter, softened and cut in cubes
150 g strawberries, frozen or fresh, pureed (makes approximately 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp puree)
Directions
1. Pour egg whites and sugar in a clean and heat proof bowl (preferably stainless steel or glass). Put the bowl over a sauce pan with simmering water. The bowl should fit snugly, and the water should not be touching the bowl.
2. Whisk the sugar end eggs with a whisk constantly until the mixture reaches about 65°C (about 140-150 F). If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, just rub some mixture between your fingers. If the sugar has melted and mixture is hot to the touch, it’s ready.
3. Remove the bowl from the heat, whip until white, fluffy and cool with a stand- or electric mixer. This step can take a 5-10 minutes.
4. When the bowl feels cool to the touch, start adding the butter, piece by piece. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled and soupy, just keep beating. Add pureed strawberries to the buttercream and whip until smooth. Can take up to 10-15 minutes.

Assembly
1. Cut the cake layers’ tops off to create flat cakes.
2. Put the first layer, either chocolate or vanilla, on a cake stand or serving platter
3. Spread a layer of buttercream on the first layer, about 1/3 of a cup should do it.
4. Put the next layer on top. Repeat step 3 until you have used all layers.
5. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cake to secure any crumbs. Put the cake in the fridge (but leave the bowl of buttercream in room temperature) for 10 minutes. Remove cake from the fridge and spread another, slightly thicker layer on the cake.
6. Decorate the cake with pink macaroons and blossoms of your choosing.

Enjoy!

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Here’s a poem I wrote when I turned 18 last summer. I’ve thought a lot these days about our connections with others and what it means. I think us humans help each other grow in ways we could not on our own. At the same time, it’s not an uncommon thing to feel very alone. Especially these days where more of our energy is spent on getting validation through social media rather than in building strong friendships. My guess is that something will come out of this very lonely time. Maybe we will dig deeper into what it means to be human.

“We don’t need to be creative.
we just need to create.
We shift constantly, because we find ourselves again and again,
Being, as always, a turning wheel of thoughts….

I am changing but forever the same.
Because I am all, and all is in me.
The sky holds the moon, but the moon owns the sky.
And what is more meaningful? Power is just in the mind after all.

Don’t try and understand.
I just need to feel okay for a minute.
I talk to myself, convinced I’m talking to you.
Surely I’m not the wise one here.

I’m laughing out loud, thinking of the impossibility that someone is here.
We’re all gone. All of us.
Gone.
Inside, outside, anywhere that we can run to.
Is true connection even feasible?

Come anyway…
you’re invited. I love the thought of loving you,
even if it won’t truly manifest.
we can walk the roads that cover the world,
together.

Of course, its a path I could take alone.
But with you,
the dance would be twice as beautiful.

So what I’m asking is,
will you give me the pleasure
of the next dance?”

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More cakes coming soon, ciao for now!

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