Hi Guys! I have never written a post like this on this blog. It’s probably because I don’t really know how to open up, more so I am just someone who likes to keep a lot of things private. What I want to share with you today is not for attention or sympathy… It’s just because I believe sometimes the screen that separates you and me may lead to misunderstandings. I for one would never want that to happen from my end. So let’s just say, if anybody reads this then all I want for them is to know, I have a few struggles and I know we all have our own share of them and it is really important for me to be honest with the people who trust me and my art. There’s always truth in art and I have always believed in that.
It’s been over 8 months now, that I have been struggling with myself. I am anxious all the time, so much sometimes that I cannot look at people. Not because I dislike them, but because it terrifies me. I know! It’s ridiculous. Every day is like a battle between my body and my brain, and my inner voice never really shuts up. I won’t get into the details, but in a nutshell, I have been suffering from anxiety and being a good friend, daughter, sister and all the other roles have been extremely nerve-wracking. So if you have texted me, emailed me, called me or DM’d me and I haven’t responded… It’s so not because I take you for granted, it’s just because I am somehow terrified. I have pushed myself quite a lot, only to find myself burning out faster than the last time. Hence, slowly I have adapted to little changes that help me stay focused.
I don’t know if this post makes sense or if you’d relate but this is my first step to being okay. Accepting my problems and being honest about it. So many people have been extremely kind and understanding when they realized that I have been going through this, it’s really unbelievable how much kindness exists in the world. I know, it will take me some time to get over all of this but I also know that I have so many wonderful people who have never given up on me. In spite of being so difficult to deal with, there are some really amazing people who stay and keep watching out for me and I am forever grateful for that. Anyway, that was something that I have been wanting to share for the longest time but I couldn’t bring myself to it. But today is my birthday, and this is my gift to myself. I am not going to be ashamed or scared to be vulnerable.
Coming to the Birthday Cake! I have to tell you that this cake is just something else. The malted vanilla sponge is almost cookie-like and the inside is almost fudgy. Heaven, I tell you. and also! I made Swiss Meringue Buttercream to frost the cake and boy that Yuzu Extract from Sprig, it is just so good that I had to stop myself from eating all the frosting on it’s own! Yuzu is a citrus and so you know it’s going to smell divine! I will describe it as a cross between a lemon and an orange and the scent is so beautifully citrusy with a hit of floral notes. It’s amazing, if you are a citrus fan then you NEED to get this.
Birthday Cake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Author: Anjali Johny
110 g Soft Unsalted Butter
110 g Cream Cheese (room temp)
100 g malt powder (like milo or malted Horlicks)
180 g castor sugar
260 g All-purpose flour
1 ¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
130 ml coconut cream (or regular dairy cream)
7 ml white vinegar
80 g colourful sprinkles
Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
66 g room temperature egg whites
128 g castor sugar
165 g soft unsalted butter cut into cubes
1 ¾ tsp Sprig Yuzu Extract
¼ tsp Sprig Vanilla Extract
1 generous pinch of salt
For the Cake: Grease and line three 6-inch round cake pans. Preheat your oven to 175 C.
Sift all your dry ingredients (flour, malt, salt, baking powder) keep aside.
Pour the coconut cream and vinegar in a mug and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat your butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add your sugar and beat until fluffy. Now add your eggs one at a time beating after each addition, followed by the vanilla.
Now add half of the dry ingredients and fold, then add the coconut cream and fold it gently, then add the remaining dry ingredients and fold it in. Just before the batter in completely mixed, add in the sprinkles. Fold till well combined, do not overmix.
Pour the batter evenly into the pans and bake at 175 C for about 30 minutes. Check after 28 minutes, the cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool for 20 minutes in the pan and then remove them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
In a medium-large bowl, add in your room temperature egg whites, salt and sugar. Whisk it for 20 seconds and place this bowl on a pot of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.) Keep whisking continuously for around 5 minutes. Check the mixture by rubbing in between your fingers, if the mixture is not grainy, the sugar is dissolved and you are ready to whip the egg whites.
Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, whip the egg whites on a medium to high speed till they become stiff and glossy. About 6 minutes, the bowl will feel cool enough to touch.
Now on a medium speed, continue to whip the egg whites and add the butter cube by cube, let the butter get incorporated before you add more. Once all the butter is incorporated add the vanilla and yuzu extracts and whisk. If your mixture looks loose, refrigerate it for 20 minutes and then whip the mixture on high speed until fluffy and stiff enough to frost.
Assemble the cake layer by layer by adding a generous amount of buttercream in between the layers. Crumb coat and decorate the cake as per your preference. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.
Some notes for Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- This quantity of buttercream can be made using a hand-held mixer.
- Don’t worry about eating raw eggs, when you stir the egg whites and sugar over the pot of simmering water, it cooks the egg whites. If you’re really paranoid, use a kitchen thermometer and stir the mixture until it reaches 71 C.
- When you are whipping the egg whites, make sure before you add the butter, the bowl is cool to touch.
- Chilling the buttercream and then whipping it is crucial if your buttercream is very loose.
Until next time!