Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sarah’s Butterfly Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sarah Liberta for Louisiana Cookin

Serve the cake with hot herbal tea

3 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/6 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fruit juice (I used a blend of orange, pineapple, and banana)
1 box 2-layer cake mix (I have used both orange and pineapple with success)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 cup very ripe bananas, chopped
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped, in all
several sprigs each, of pineapple sage leaves and blossoms, calendula blossoms, fennel leaves, lemon balm, mint and/or other butterfly-favored herbs
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 16-ounce package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange or lemon zest

Butterfly Cake
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine eggs, oil, butter, vanilla, and juice in the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Add cake mix and cinnamon, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat. Fold in pineapple, bananas, and 1/2 cup pecans. Remove leaves and petals from herb stems; discard stems and chop herbs finely by hand or in a mini food processor.

Stir to distribute herbs evenly throughout the batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Garnish with fresh or candied edible flowers, such as pansies, violas, rose petals, or other favorites. Store in refrigerator.

Alternatively, line 24 to 36 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Pour batter into each well and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until done.

Chefs Notes:
Shortly after the seminar where I served this recipe, I came upon two new Bundt pans from Nordicware, a large (10-cup) butterfly-shaped pan and a 6-cavity (1-cup each) butterfly-shaped muffin pan. I couldn’t resist them. For maximum wow power, I use the large butterfly-shaped pan that has been generously greased and floured (or sprayed with an oil/flour baking spray) and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack. Using the butterfly-shaped muffin pan, I use only half the batter and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, testing for doneness as above. When muffins are cool enough to be removed, I wash the pan, grease and flour it again, and bake the second batch. The intricate designs of the pans are so lovely they don’t require icing. Just dust with powdered sugar right before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and zest.