Monday, October 27, 2008

Descendents of the Glorious Dead: Tipsy Cake

For custard frosting
• 1 cup whole milk
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 4 large egg yolks
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 5 teaspoons cornstarch

For cake layers
• 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened • 1/2 cup sugar • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla • 2 large eggs • 1 large egg yolk • 3/4 cup whole milk

• 8 tablespoons sweet Sherry, brandy, or dessert wine • 9 tablespoons strawberry jam
• Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream

Make frosting:
Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and remove
from heat. Whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a
bowl and add hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour
custard into pan and boil, whisking, until thick and smooth, about 1 minute.
Force custard through a fine sieve into a bowl. Set bowl of custard frosting
in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, then cool, stirring occasionally,
until cold. Chill frosting, its surface covered with plastic wrap to prevent
a skin from forming, 2 hours.
Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (8- by 2-inch) round cake pans and line
bottoms with wax paper. Butter paper and dust with flour, knocking out
excess. Sift together 1 1/2 cups cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat
together butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer
until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then yolk, beating well after
each addition. With mixer on low speed, alternately add milk and flour
mixture in 4 batches, beginning and ending with milk (mixture will look
curdled; do not overbeat).
Divide batter between cake pans, smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven
until pale and a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Run a thin knife
around edges of pans and invert layers onto a rack. Carefully remove wax
paper and cool layers completely.

Assemble cake:
Halve cake layers horizontally with a long serrated knife. Arrange 1 cake
half, cut side up, on a plate and brush with 2 tablespoons Sherry. Spread
evenly with 3 tablespoons jam. Repeat with remaining 3 layers, ending with a
layer cut side down. Brush top with Sherry. Frost cake with custard.
Cooks' notes: · Custard frosting may be made 1 day ahead and kept chilled,
· Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well individually in
plastic wrap, at room temperature.
· Assembled cake keeps, covered and chilled, 2 days. Bring to room
temperature before serving.