join our local food experiment

fun tutorials!

peanut butter blogroll :: a rotating list of inspiring blogs

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Daring Bakers March Challenge :: Dorie's Perfect Party Cake

I did it!
Just under the wire, but it's done. this is my second DB challenge and i have to say it was really fun!! this month it was Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake. the recipe comes from her book Baking From My Home To Yours. lots of peeps in the food blog world love Dorie. i'd never heard of her until recently and i have to say i'm a fan!

anyways, i was stressing out all month about the challenge because i hate to bake and not have a good occasion for the eating of it. i was thinking i'd bring the cake to my mom's for easter, but then we ended up staying at home for easter, so when to bake a cake? who would eat it?

then, i read the challenge directions again and saw that included instructions for freezing the fully frosted cake! so, that's what i did.

this little number's in the freezer now waiting for next saturday when she'll come out for a small family gathering we're having. i'll deck her out in fresh raspberries. maybe a little candied violet or 2 and she'll be feeling real sassy and ready to party. she is the perfect party cake, after all!

so, here's the cake looking a little un-dapper. but i'll post more pics after i decorate and slice in. i can't wait to taste it, too, of course!

thanks to morven for a great challenge--it was fun. the directions were easy to read and understand.

well, i'm off to check out everyone's cakes. . .


For the Cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp pure lemon extract

For the Buttercream:

1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For Finishing:

2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat. Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again. On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Spread it with one third of the preserves. Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream. Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover). Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top. Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.

The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.

Labels: , , ,


Blogger CB said...

What a great idea! Freeze it until you can eat it. Can't wait to see your finished cake next week then. Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

March 30, 2008 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Can't wait to see the inside!!!

March 30, 2008 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I'd love to hear if you thought the defrosting process worked for the buttercream as well. Great job!

March 31, 2008 at 8:59 AM  
Anonymous KN said...

The frosting looks so smooth and perfect. I'm jealous! I am frosting-challenged. :)

March 31, 2008 at 9:36 AM  
Anonymous beth - total mom haircut said...

You know, I was totally going to commission you to come up with a good first birthday cake recipe for Robby...but now I see you "hate to bake" so I guess I'll let that one go:)

Freezing a cake, huh? I have to say I have never even thought of that possibility. This looks pretty yummy. And I don't hate to bake.

March 31, 2008 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger kate said...

beth: are you messin' with me?
i adore baking! just not when there's no one to eat it. . .or else i eat it and then, there go the thighs. . . and the hips. . .

March 31, 2008 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger myriam said...

loving that buttercream. oh. sorry. tower of buttercream. ;-)

March 31, 2008 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger Gabi said...

Glad to see you back for a 2nd round! Love the simplicity of your towering buttercream!

March 31, 2008 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Miss Ifi said...

mmmm cake!!! your cake looks good!! Congratulations!!

April 1, 2008 at 11:20 PM  
Blogger Sheltie Girl said...

Great job on the cake!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

April 2, 2008 at 9:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Blog Widget by LinkWithin