This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick comes from Carol of mix, mix... stir, stir. She chose the Perfect Party Cake for us to make this week. I really wanted to make it, but life has been conspiring against me again. (Jamie's doing better, but definitely not yet recovered from his tonsillectomy.) Part of why I wanted to make it is that I really enjoyed this cake the first time I made it, for my first Daring Bakers challenge in March 2007.
It's interesting for me to look back to one of my earlier posts. I was still trying to figure out the style of my blog, and definitely still working on my photography skills (something that never ends anyway...). And that blog post was done when I was still trying my hand at some process photos. You can find this week's recipe at Carol's blog or in my original post. And be sure to head over to the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to see what everyone else did with this week's delicious recipe!
So here's a look at my experience with the Perfect Party Cake...
I Dare to Make Cake!
(originally posted March 30, 2007)
It took me until today (life's been a bit challenging recently), but I've completed my first Daring Bakers challenge! This month's recipe is Perfect Party Cake, selected by Morven of Food Art and Random Thoughts. The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours. As a member of the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group, I'm quite familiar with this particular cookbook, but I hadn't had a chance to make any of her layer cakes. Based on past experiences, though, I figured the recipe would be straightforward to follow and the end result would be delicious. Right on both counts!
I've made cakes before, but this particular challenge prompted me to try a few things that I haven't done before. Although Morven did give us the option of selecting different flavorings, I stuck pretty much with the recipe as written. I did substitute a teaspoon of vanilla extract for the lemon extract in the cake batter, though I did leave in the lemon zest.
The batter was easy to make. I made sure that all of my ingredients were at room temperature before I started, which I think helped. I chose to use buttermilk rather than milk, to complement the lemon flavor. I divided the batter between the two pans and ended up baking them for 30 minutes. (And hey, I had an excuse to use my cool new giant sheet pan!)
The cake layers didn't turn out too tall, but they were certainly thick enough to slice into two layers each. That's one of the new things for me--I don't think I've ever made a cake with more than two layers. Fortunately, the cake was really easy to work with, and I had no problem slicing the layers in half.
I chose to fill the cake with raspberry fruit butter (like jam, but not as sweet) along with the lemon butter cream. That was another new one--I've made buttercream frosting, but it's been years, and the one I made before was based on egg yolks, rather than whites. I really enjoyed making this one. The recipe warned that the mixture might curdle, but I didn't have a problem with that. Again, I think I managed to have the ingredients at the right temperature for things to work well.
Even though it was down to the wire, I really enjoyed making this cake. It has a nice flavor and it comes across as very light, despite the fact that there's so much butter in it. Now I just need to work on my decorating skills. =)