Monday, May 5, 2014

Homemade Snicker Doodle Cake (aka "The Pollyanna Bazaar Cake")


When I was a little girl my mom introduced me to Hayley Mills movies. I watched The Parent Trap the most, but Pollyanna was the one that I secretly loved. 

I can’t be the only one that remembers how awesome Pollyanna was;  The Glad Game, “rainbow makers” and having a sidekick like the little Jimmy kid?! Plus, Cook - she was always just hanging out there making delicious food and the best cakes in the history of ever. Seriously, it was the scene where they are making cakes for the Church Bazaar that has fueled my cake obsession for life. 



The famous (in my mind) Pollyanna Bazaar Cake has been something I’ve tried to master many times. Each time, the end result was never quite right - though good enough to eat of course as there is never a time to waste perfectly good cake, ever. 



We were planning our post Las Vegas wedding celebration party when I decided I would once again attempt to make a Pollyanna Bazaar Cake. A simple “Pollyanna cake” search in google provided me with a lot of options, but I was immediately drawn to the image staring at me from foodiewithfamily and I knew that I HAD to make this cake. 

What happened in the week leading up to our “I Do BBQ” however, kind of changed everything. I had the best of intentions to make the cake exactly as the blog post stated, but I was a hot mess. Since we hadn’t had an official housewarming party, this BBQ was also the first time most people were seeing the house! In my mind, the house is always going to be a work-in-progress, but it was do or die time, I had to make sure the place was in the best shape possible so my attention to cake making was limited. I did my best. 

I knew I wanted a taller cake right off the bat, I just like the way the taller ones look. Not saying a Pollyanna purist would agree, it’s just my personal preference and fits better into my nostalgic memory associated with the movie and I wanted to recreate the giant slices of heavenly Pollyanna cake from my childhood memory. So, I doubled the recipe below and made a total of 4 cakes/layers of snicker doodle cake. 

I made 2 layers on 2 separate nights (4 total 9-inch cakes) and froze the layers individually until I was ready to frost (party day!). This helped with organizing and multi-tasking for pre-party preparations. I struggled to get the exact right amount of buttercream made, but once I did - wow - that stuff is life changing. Not too sweet and just the right amount of creamy consistency, perfection. 

                                    

I was pretty much in love with the cake the second it was frosted. It was slightly lopsided because it was my first time using a new cake leveler and there’s definitely a learning curve, but imperfections actually made the cake look more authentic to me somehow. It totally worked. I had done it. I finally had my Pollyanna Bazaar Cake and it was the most delicious cake I’ve ever had!





SNICKER DOODLE POLLYANNA BAZAAR CAKE 
*modified from foodiewithfamily.com

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
1 3/4 cups fine or superfine sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk, warmed to room temperature
1 batch of Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Butter and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in color.
Beat the eggs in one at a time, fully incorporating each egg and scraping down the bowl between each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
Add about 1/3 of the milk, beat to incorporate, then 1/3 of the flour, again beating to incorporate.
Repeat this process, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until all of the milk and flour are added and mixed in evenly.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake, rotating midway through, for approximately 40 minutes or until the cake tests done (toothpick comes out cleanly).
Let the cakes cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before turning out onto the racks to finish cooling.
I doubled the recipe to make the full cake (4 9-inch cakes). Because I knew I wasn’t going to be serving the cake immediately, I was able to wrap each cake layer in wax paper and tinfoil and freeze until I was ready to frost. There was a 2 day gap between freezing the cakes and frosting/serving. The cakes froze perfectly and made the cake even more moist. 

BROWN SUGAR CINNAMON BUTTERCREAM FROSTING RECIPE 
*modified from foodiewithfamily.com
Ingredients
4 and 1/2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions
Beat together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until fluffy and pale in color.
Add 6 cups of the confectioner's sugar and the vanilla extract and beat, starting on low and moving up to high, until it is fully incorporated.
Scrape down the bowl and add the half and half. Beat to incorporate again.
Add another 2 cups of the confectioner's sugar and beat, starting on low and moving up to high, until fully incorporated. Check the consistency of the buttercream. If it needs to be thicker, add the remaining confectioner's sugar. If it is too thick, add more half and half a teaspoon at a time, beating after each addition, until it reaches the consistency you like. Store unused portions of the buttercream in the refrigerator for up to a week.
*I had to double this recipe in order to cover the entire cake (since I was making a four-cake cake) and that left quite a bit left over. Next time I think I’d make just 1 1/2 batch of the buttercream



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