Here's a cake that's bound to make your Valentine, pal or kiddos squeal with glee. I just couldn't resist the combination of old–timey strawberry milk and ridiculously pink frosting.
This cake is full of wonder. While in California for winter break, I spent an afternoon cooking with my fairy godmother. She spoke to me in hushed tones of desserts her aunties used to make, one of which stuck out to me — it was the 'scalded milk cake.' Full of batter stains and pencil notes, the recipe seemed to have gotten a workout, perhaps it was a go–to birthday cake?
I was right! By almost boiling the milk used for this elemental vanilla cake, a malty, milky flavor would permeate the confection. And when I tested the recipe with strawberry milk, it was even better than the plain original version. This is why I love recipe inheritance and chatting with different cooks — everyone has their own take and variation according to their tastes and available ingredients.
And strawberry milk is heavenly! Usually I eschew items that are so obviously artificially flavored, but this sweet pink stuff, it's a revelation. It tastes just like the pink-stained milk after eating a bowl of Lucky Charms. I'm not sure if it's my Saturday–morning–cartoon–watching cereal nostalgia or the fact that I've never bought strawberry milk before (novelty power!), but I couldn't get enough of my new preferred pink beverage. It was very silly. If you find yourself indulging, just be sure you save about a cup of the sweet stuff, because it is a great base flavor for this recipe.
Happy Valentines, sweeties!
(adapted from Mrs. Joe Montgomery's recipe card)
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup scalded strawberry milk
1/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and grease two cake pans, set aside. Beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar until fully combined (I used a whisk). In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour to egg mixture, mixing until just combined. In a small sauce pan, heat milk until almost boiling (there will be a little steam and a few small bubbles on the side of the pan), add butter and turn off heat, stirring until butter is fully melted. Pour scalded milk/butter into the batter, stir until combined. Bake for about 35 minutes, until done.
Whipped Cream Frosting
1 package cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups heavy cream
food coloring (optional)
Necco wafers (optional decoration)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract until smooth. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Whip until the cream holds a stiff peak, about 3 minutes. Lastly, add the food coloring if using. Decorate the cake after it's fully cooled.
More Hot Pink at The Kitchn!
• A Hot Pink Gratin with Turnips and Potatoes
• Recipe: Spring Radishes Braised with Shallots and Vinegar
• Kitchen Spotlight: Holly and Sean's Hot Pink
• Pink In the Kitchen: Color Inspiration for Cooks
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross, special thanks to Erin and the girls for allowing me to photograph the cake at Lodekka)