Tea for the Queen

To celebrate Victoria Day, the lovely Lawren Moneta is putting her culinary expertise to good use by baking dainty little vanilla cakes and serving them with Barbara-Jo's special blend tea. The recipe Lawren has chosen comes from Ricardo Larrivée's, new cookbook Ricardo: Meals for Every Occasion. Ricardo has his own popular cooking show Ricardo and Friends on the Food Network.

Filled with colourful photographs, his new book explores seasonal recipe ideas for the home cook to suit a variety of occasions such as: "Oh, no! They're sleeping over!" or, "They're always late" and finishing with, "Guys don't read recipes".

Ricardo will be at Books to Cooks this Thursday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate Ricardo: Meals for Every Occasion. Join us for a cocktail reception to meet Ricardo, watch a demonstration, enjoy some refreshments and take home a signed copy his latest book. Tickets are $65.00.

Perfect Vanilla Cake

3-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup canola oil
1-1/4 cups milk

1. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 8-inch springform pans with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer until the mixture turns pale, doubles in volume and falls from the beaters in ribbons, about 10 minutes. With the mixer running, add the oil in a thin stream.

4. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, until the batter is smooth. Poor into the 2 pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Unmould and cool completely (about 2 to 3 hours) on a rack.

5. Place the cakes on a clean surface. Cut a thin slice off the top to flatten them. Slice each cake in half horizontally before icing.

Note: Lawren used a tea cake flexipan for 20-35 minutes to make individual portions.

Vanilla Icing

1-3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
3-1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 boiling water

1. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, cream, vanilla and salt until frothy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the boiling water 1 Tbsp at a time, beating for 30 seconds between additions. Spread about 3/4 cup of icing between each layer of a cake and about 1-3/4 cups over the top and sides.

See our Events page for more details of how you can meet Ricardo when he visits our store next week!