what I made for Monday - Perfect cake - delightful frosting & rolled marzipan!

Sometimes you find a recipe and think "I'll never make this another way".  And this is that cake recipe.  I have tried TONS of cake recipes and they are never quite what I want them to be.  They are either too heavy, or too dense, or too vanilla or too flat or too something that keeps them from being a recipe that I will come back to again and again.

This recipe is not one of those.  This recipe, both the cake and the icing one are ones that are going into my "never making this another way" file.

And while I am a self confessed cake mix snob, this recipe requires just enough tweaking that I feel like it's OK that it's based on a mix.  The result is the perfect textured cake that is tasty and wonderful.

I made these recipes twice this week and lost count of how many times I (or Doug) was told "This is the BEST cake I've ever had".  Yesssss.  
Here's how to make the PERFECT white cake (or cupcakes)
1 box white cake mix (18.25 oz!!)
1 c flour
1 c sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups water
1/8 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla (or you could sub any flavor you would like to try!)
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a whisk.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until well blended.  Pour into greased and floured cake pans or cupcake tins lined with papers.  Fill cupcake papers about 3/4 of the way full. 
Bake for 18 minutes or so for cupcakes and a little longer for cake.  Test with a toothpick in the center for done-ness. :)

Makes 36 Cupcakes
And then you MUST top it with this amazing frosting recipe.  This is easily altered for flavor, this time I used strawberry.

Delightful Cake/Cupcake Frosting
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter room temp.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond, or strawberry or anything!!)
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream (or more if needed)

Cream together butter and sugar, add vanilla (or flavor of your choice) and slowly add whipping cream adding more if needed to achieve a good spreading consistency. 

One recipe is enough to cover about 12 cupcakes. 

And based on the awesomeness of the cake and frosting recipe I decided to venture into making Marzipan...a big deal in Doug's family.  I'm pretty pleased with how well it came out for my first time making it and it got great reviews from my panel of testers.  In case you want to try it for yourself...

Rolled Marzipan Recipe
1 lb almond paste (or two 8oz cans)
1 lb 12 oz (about 7 cups) powdered sugar
4 ounces (1/3 cup) light corn syrup
3 tbsp water (or more)
3 tbsp almond extract

Break up the almond paste into small chunks.  Add sugar and mix until it reaches a sandy consistency, break up any chunks of almond paste.  Add corn syrup and extract.  Add water by the tablespoon and mix completely before adding the next.  Keep adding water by the tablespoon until the dough reaches a state where it is no longer crumby and stays together.  Once you can shape it into a ball it should be good.  Wrap in cellophane and refrigerate for 24 hours.  The next day you can knead and roll it out to use the same way you would fondant.  
I made this one for Doug to take to an employee celebrating her 40th year in her job.  She loved it and raved that it was the best cake she had ever had.  Yay!! :) 

Inspired by Food Network for Frosting, &  Wedding 101 for cake.
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