Autumn Pinata Cake
Now you most definitely want to Instagram this cake!
- step-by-step directions
- 1 12- ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 5 cups cake flour, (plus more for flouring the cake pans)
- 4 cups sugar (plus more for unmolding cake)
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 extra-large eggs (at room temperature)
- 2 cups whole milk
- unsalted butter (for greasing four cake pans (about 4 tablespoons); non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil may be substituted)
- 8 extra-large egg whites
- 4 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature, cut into small cubes)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Bacon Pecan Bourbon Brittle:
For the Bacon Candy:
- 12 strips thick cut bacon
- 6 tablespoons bourbon
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
For the Brittle:
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons bourbon
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups pecans (chopped)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
- For the Caramel Glaze: Remove the label from the can of sweetened condensed milk and place in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring the pot of water to a boil and reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for 3 hours, replenishing water when necessary to keep the can covered.
- Carefully remove the can from the water and allow to cool completely. When cool enough to handle, open the can and remove the caramel to a piping bag. Set aside.
- For the Vanilla Cake: To make four 9-inch cakes:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Put the flour, sugar, custard cream, if using, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If you don't have a stand mixer, you can put the ingredients in a bowl, and use a hand mixer with the blending attachments, but take extra care to not overmix.) Mix on slow just until the ingredients are blended together, a few seconds, then raise the speed to low-medium and continue to mix until smooth, approximately 1 additional minute.
- With the motor running, add 1 egg at a time, adding the next one after the previous one has been absorbed into the mixture. Stop the motor periodically and scrape the bowl from the bottom with a rubber spatula to integrate the ingredients, and return the mixer to low-medium speed. After all the eggs have been added, continue to mix for an additional minute to ensure the eggs have been thoroughly mixed in. This will help guarantee that the sugar is dissolved and that the flour has been thoroughly mixed in, which will help produce a luxurious mouthfeel in the final cake.
- With the motor running, add the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, stopping the motor to scrape the sides and bottom between the two additions. Continue to mix for another minute or until the mixture appears smooth. Before baking, be sure the batter is at 70º F to 73º F, or the cake will crown. (Test by plunging a kitchen thermometer into the center of the batter: if it is too warm, put the bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes; if too cool, let it rest at room temperature.)
- Grease four 9-inch cake pans (2-inches high) with the butter, and flour them.
- Divide the batter evenly between the four cake pans, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and get as much batter as possible out. Bake until the cake begins to pull from the sides of the pan and is springy to touch, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. The cakes should be at room temperature before you remove them from the pan. Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, top with sugar, and one at a time, turn the pans over and turn the cakes out onto parchment; the sugar will keep it from sticking. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to decorate.
- For the Maple Buttercream: Put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whip the whites at high speed until soft peaks form, approximately 5 minutes. With the motor running, add 1/2 cup of maple syrup gradually, until medium peaks form.
- With the motor running, add in the remaining maple syrup into the egg whites, very slowly, in a thin stream, to avoid cooking the eggs. Raise the speed to high, and continue to whip until the mixture has cooled to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stopping the motor between additions, add the butter in 5 increments, as well as the salt, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula before adding each addition of butter. With the motor running, add the vanilla, and whip just until it is blended.
- For the Bacon Pecan Bourbon Brittle:
- For the Bacon Candy: As oven preheats to 400º F, prepare the bacon candy by laying the strips of bacon flat onto a lined baking sheet and brush the bacon with bourbon on both sides.
- On both sides, spread brown sugar on the bacon strips.
- Depending on your oven, bake the bacon candy for approximately 15 minutes to achieve caramelization and crispness. Upon completion and leaving the oven on, remove the bacon from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Once cooled, chop the bacon strips in generous pieces.
- Onto a baking sheet, lay out the pecans into a single layer, place them in to the 400º F heated oven to bake for 9 minutes. Upon removal, set aside to cool, and then chop.
- For the Brittle: Using parchment paper, line an additional baking sheet.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the sugar, corn syrup and water to medium heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup has reached a boil (approximately 310º F). Immediately remove from heat and stir in the baking soda, butter, vanilla, bourbon, pecans, and bacon.
- Pour out the brittle mixture onto the lined baking sheet as evenly as possible and sprinkle with salt. Allow to cool/harden for 15 minutes. Break into pieces.
- For the Caramel Popcorn: Bring the oven to 250º F.
- Place popped popcorn into a large mixing bowl before beginning caramel sauce.
- Over medium heat, melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in corn syrup, brown sugar and the salt and continue to stir frequently to mix well. Bring to a boil and hold off on stirring for four minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract and pour evenly over the popped popcorn.
- Stir popcorn to evenly coat with caramel sauce.
- Transfer the now coated popped popcorn to a baking tray and put into the oven. Mixing around/stirring often.
- Remove from oven, set aside and allow to cool.
- Autumn Pinata Cake Assembly: Using a round 10-cm cookie cutter, cut a circle at the center of three of the cakes. Discard the 10-cm cake rounds.
- Spread one cake with a little buttercream, top with a second cake. Repeat with remaining cake. Fill the center cavity with bourbon pecan bacon brittle and then top with the fourth, uncut cake.
- Proceed to ice cake with maple buttercream. Cut the tip off of the piping bag with the caramel sauce and drizzle down the sides of the cake and on top. Using an offset spatula, smooth the glaze out evenly on the top of the cake.
- Top/decorate with brittle and popcorn.
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