Klamath’s Sunshine and Snow Cake

In 1949, society page editor, Sally Kent, broke the news that “makers of Crown Flour have chosen Grace Colvin-Wells of Klamath Falls as their ‘Cook-of-the-month.’ In their advertising they include Mrs. Wells’ recipe for ‘Klamath Sunshine and Snow Cake’ and it sounds delicious!”

In 1949, society page editor, Sally Kent, broke the news that “makers of Crown Flour have chosen Grace Colvin-Wells of Klamath Falls as their ‘Cook-of-the-month.’ In their advertising they include Mrs. Wells’ recipe for ‘Klamath Sunshine and Snow Cake’ and it sounds delicious!”

Bakers across the state clipped the recipe for this citrusy white cake. Seventy years later, Klamath Chef Terri Miller updated this delicious dessert with orange curd,buttercream frosting, and snowy meringue.

So here in the City of Sunshine it’s time to break out those cake pans. The forecast is sunny with snow!

Photo by Kelly Armijo

Klamath Sunshine and Snow Cake

6 ounces softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
4 egg yolks
3 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 egg whites

Cream together, butter, sugar, and orange zest. Add egg yolks one at a time. Sift together, flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to creamed butter, alternating with milk mixture. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks, fold into cake batter. Add batter to 3 prepared 8” cake pans. Bake in preheated 350* oven until golden and cake springs back when touched, appropriately 25 minutes. Cool cake in pans until cool enough to touch, turn cakes out of pans and cool completely on wire rack. Frost cake with Swiss meringue buttercream, fill layers with orange curd.

Base Meringue Recipe

Use for meringue topping and Swiss meringue buttercream
1 1/4 cups – 10 ounces egg whites, from about 10 large eggs
3 cups – 21 1/8 ounces sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Fill a 3-quart pot with 1 ½-inches of water and place over medium-low heat. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites, sugar, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla bean paste. Place over steamy water, stirring and scraping constantly with a flexible spatula until thin, foamy, and 175° F on a digital thermometer, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on high until glossy, thick, and quadrupled in volume, about 5 minutes.

For Meringue Topping – Remove approximately 2 cups of meringue from mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and save to decorate top of cake.

For Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Reduce mixer speed to medium and continue whipping until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Gradually add 16 ounces of room temperature unsalted butter which has been cut into 1 tablespoon size pieces, mix until all butter is incorporated and buttercream is smooth and fluffy.

Orange Curd

1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
8 large egg yolks
3 drops orange gel food color (optional)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed

In a heat proof bowl, whisk together sugar, orange juice, zest and egg yolks. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering pot of water, do not let water touch bottom of bowl. Whisk and cook the mixture until it thickens and temperature reaches 172* F. Remove from heat, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container. Stir in orange food color, if using. Let cool to 140* F. Whisk butter into the curd until completely incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap, placed directly on surface to the curd. Refrigerate until well chilled before using. Curd will keep for up to 7 days tightly covered and refrigerated.

Professionally trained Pastry Chef, Terri Miller, sharpened her skills working in several restaurants on the Oregon Coast. She’s now pursuing her passion at Sweet Ethel’s Bespoke Bakery, a Cottage Law Bakery located in Klamath Falls specializing in custom cakes, cupcakes, French macarons, and assorted baked goods and treats to coordinate with your special events. www.sweetethels.com

Chef Terri Miller

Pastry Chef Terri Miller’s Crispy Meringues  
(used to decorate the Klamath’s Sunshine and Snow Cake)

Mix up a half batch of base meringue recipe found in Klamath’s Home & Outdoor winter publication. And proceed with crispy meringue recipe. Transfer whipped meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, and pipe 1-inch kisses onto a parchment-lined aluminum baking sheet, leaving ½ inch between them. Bake at 200 ° F until firm and dry to the touch, but still quite pale, about 2 hours. When the meringues cool to room temperature, transfer to an airtight container and store up to 1 week.

Styling Rayna Larson and Lindsay Smith

Cake Made by Terry Miller

Photos by Kelly Armijo

Written by Heidi Neel Biggs

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