Sunday, March 30, 2008

DB Challenge: Perfect Party Cake

This month's Daring Bakers challenge was the Perfect Party Cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. Everyone was so happy to have a cake for this month's challenge, and an uncomplicated one at that.

I loved this challenge for the fact that you could do this one in stages. So I made my first part - the cake - early in the month. The cakes came out nicely, but not as thick as I thought they were supposed to be, since you were supposed to cut the two layers in half to make four layers. Anyway, I froze the cakes. I've learned in my cake decorating class that freezing the cakes makes them easier to handle when you have to level and slice them and reduces the crumb factor. So in the freezer they went.

During the month other people were posting how they were doing. In fact, Dorie herself heard about our challenge and chimed in with some tips. In the end I decided I needed another cake batch to get my layers. So I made the second set and then threw those in the frig to cool and then took the other frozen layers out to thaw.

Now it was time for the buttercream frosting. This required cooking the egg white/sugar mixture, adding the butter, etc. Yummy! I'm not a frosting person. I tend to scrape frosting off of cakes. But this was dee-lish!

The cake and the icing were lemon flavored, so I decided to keep with the theme and fill between the layers with my lemon curd. (See microwave lemon curd) I also found that three layers was tall enough, so I just refroze the fourth I had. Because my layers didn't quite match, I had to trim, as you see here...

So I figured I better do a crumb layer of icing first.

I finished off the cake with a final layer of icing and decorating.

And how did it taste? It's fantastic! The cake itself has a subtle lemon flavor and the cake is dense, but in a good way. So different than cake mixes or supermarket cakes which are so soft and airy. This tasted real. Also, it keeps well. Don't you hate how a cake goes stale and the exposed cake gets all dry and crusty? I put a loose piece of saran wrap against the exposed cut and it kept great for two days. Then I couldn't eat it all (and I even sent a third of it to the neighbors) and so I took the last quarter and wrapped and froze that. Later in the month I took the frozen quarter out, thawed it and ate it. Still awesome even after a freeze.

I didn't overdue the lemon curd either. So it was not lemon overkill. The buttercream was just right as well. I was good on eating the cake without having to scrape off the frosting.

This picture is the same cake, I just ended up changing the decoration on the top. I didn't want to eat the royal icing daffodils I made, so I took them off and just added more buttercream. So here you see it sliced before I enjoyed it.

This recipe is a keeper! I plan on making it again and again!

BTW, I recommend checking out everyone's cakes by launching from the DB site. Especially this one where the person used peanut butter and bacon in hers!?!?

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