I’ve never really dared make a cake with the “reverse creaming” technique. It’s what I’ve read about in nearly all of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipes from The Cake Bible–take the butter, and cream it with the flour first. She explains it, and it seems to make sense conceptually–the butter prevents gluten development to keep your cakes soft. I’ve seen it first hand when making enriched bread doughs where a tighter crumb is often the result. Brioche is careful to avoid this as much as possible by developing the gluten first before beating in the butter.
So it makes sense, but it’s just not the way cakes are done. Butter should be creamed with the sugar and then the eggs first, right? Only mix in the flour near the end. I decided to be irrationally resistant to any of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s elegantly put logic. Nope. Not trying.
Then I saw a reverse creaming technique cake on The Domestic Gothess. It took seeing a trustworthy blog to pave the way to reducing and overcoming my prejudice, and finally give it a try.
So I did. I was sure the cake batter going in would emerge as biscuits.
The cake, and it was indubitably a cake, was very soft. “Downy” was a perfect description. It was a texture that I normally don’t achieve. Though many of my cakes live quite happily as the dense and buttery and slightly crumbly sort, this is the sort of cake you sometimes need.
So if I can go against the instincts bred into the very fibre of my being by my early years of making cakes solely from How to Cook Everything, I’m confident that an open mind can carry anyone a bit further. Sometimes that irrational nudge of yours isn’t required, and if you listen to the people around you, think of everything that we can learn.
There is one more thing to comment on in this post: the kinako icing. I used the roasted soybean flour as a stand in for icing sugar in an American-style buttercream (the first American style buttercream on the blog! It’s been a few years since the last time I made one). The icing has all the richness and butteriness and (meringue-less) convenience of an American-style buttercream, without the jarring sweetness. Unfortunately it also has an enhanced starchy taste, but given the reduced sweetness, I decided to take it.matcha apricot cakes with kinako buttercream
I did put 3/4 tsp vanilla extract into the icing, but afterwards regretted it. It didn’t quite work–all I tasted was a bit of alcohol, so leave that out. The cake is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake in The Cake Bible.
1 3/4 tsp matcha
2 tsp boiling water
1 large egg + 1 yolk
120 g milk, divided
50 g whole wheat flour
90 g a.p. flour
10 g cornstarch
75 g granulated sugar
9 g baking powder
2 g salt
85 g butter
3-4 apricots, sliced
3 tbsp butter
40 g kinako
2 1/2 tbsp milk
30 g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter some variously sized cake rings, or just 1 8-9″ diametre cake ring and set on a parchment lined tray.
To avoid lumps, whisk together the matcha and boiling water until smooth. Set aside.
Mix together the eggs and 30 g of the milk. Set aside.
Whisk the flours, starch, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and remaining 90 g milk to the bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until a smooth batter forms. Beat a little while longer–Beranbaum says to do this to ensure aeration and structural integrity of your finished cake.
Mix the matcha into the batter, then the milk and mix. Divide amongst the cake rings. Slice the apricots and arrange on top. Bake for around 20 minutes.
For the icing, cream all the ingredients together until light. Add more milk or icing sugar/kinako as needed until it reaches your desired consistency. The kinako has a great deal of starchy strength so it thickens quite well. Keep the icing on the looser side though, because too much kinako and it becomes thick and gluey like peanut butter.