30 March 2008

Daring Bakers and the Perfect Party Cake



This month's challenge for the Daring Bakers came from Morven at Food Art and Random Thoughts. The recipe was Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake, the components being a very loverly white cake, your own choice of filling, and a lemon buttercream.

My brother's birthday was this month and besides the cake I made for his birthday party, I thought "why not!" and made him a pre-birthday birthday cake. (Have a Very Merry Unbirthday!)


I chose to bake the cakes in four 6-inch pans instead of two 9-inch pans.



What interested me most about this recipe was that the egg whites weren't beaten separately, but mixed with the liquid and added after the flour additions. The batter was very good and voluminous.



The height of the baked cakes pleased me. The sturdiness of the cooled cakes was great when it came time to slice each disc in half length-wise. The slicing went along easily with minimal crumbling.


Since we were allowed to choose our own fillings, I picked a lemon pastry cream. The extra good part was that it used up most of the egg yolks left over from the cake and buttercream.

Behold the filled and frosted cakes:






Next, it came time to get down to what baking cakes is all about:




The general consensus was that this was a really great cake. The cake itself was airy and moist without breaking apart into millions of crumbs and it wasn't densely spongy. Spongy is good, which this was, but not when it doesn't melt in your mouth. (I made this with buttermilk instead of plain milk. It's your choice of either/or, but I particularly enjoy the lemon-buttermilk combination.)

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Round 2: Me, 1 out of 2 vs Buttercream, 1 out of 2.


The first time I made a Swiss meringue buttercream I failed to beat the meringue mixture itself long enough and I didn't keep beating the buttercream after I added the butter, leaving it entirely too runny and curdled. It tasted great, but it made assembling the yule log (the Daring Bakers' December challenge) an epic pain. This time, I was armed with a decent amount of knowledge and was able to produce a silky-smooth buttercream that frosted wonderfully and was the perfect piping consistency. I did decrease the butter by one stick and it didn't negatively affect the outcome.

Thanks, Morven, for choosing this recipe. The cake recipe is now my default of choice and I will definitely be making the buttercream more often. ^,^

Don't forget to read the tales of my fellow Daring Bakers, so make sure you click the link on the sidebar.

18 comments:

  1. Cool! I also learned from previous challenges that you just need to keep beating the buttercream until it comes together. This cake has also become one of my favorites. :D

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  2. Nice job on this one - I've been waiting to read a post about how someone used all those egg yolks, since I saved mine and they are now probably too old to do anything with. Lemon cream is the perfect solution and goes beautifully with this recipe.

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  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Your work is gorgeous!

    Thanks for the tip about reducing butter without any negative outcome. I will try that next time. :)

    I can foresee that you will win all the future rounds of battle buttercream.

    Julius from Occasional Baker

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  4. Your cake looks gorgeous! I love that lemon pastry cream version! Great job!

    cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Those are pretty cakes! I love your piping, it just brightens up your day. Is that what makes buttercream come together? Beating it for a longer time? I was afraid when I saw it curdle that I had beaten it too much. Man, now I know!

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  6. The decorating is adorable! I'm starting to wish my cakes had rose more. Yours are so puffy and sweet looking!!

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  7. I already was thinking of doing lemon curd the next time I make this. Looks good!! Congrats on your buttercream. I also thought this was the nicest Swiss buttercream recipe I've tried so far! Good to know I can omit one stick of butter too.

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  8. Your cake is lovely! lemon pastry cream sounds yummy indeed :)

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  9. Ok, that is it. After everyone singing the praises of this cake with lemon curd as the filling, I will have to give it a go again. Especially after looking at your cake! I'll bet everyone enjoyed it.

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  10. I totally agree with you about it not being to spongy or too dense. The lemon filling looks wonderful!

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  11. Thank for your comment, I really love the way you decorated your cake, I got a smile on my face when I saw it.
    Pook

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  12. Love the lemon and the cute face you piped! Nice adaptations- Perfect job!
    xoxo
    Gabi

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  13. Great job! Your cake looks so fun.

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

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  14. You cake looks delicious! So cute! Like your blog too!

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  15. Great job on these cakes. I need to get me some of those small cake tins. I have cake pan envy! What fun you had with this!

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  16. Oh that lemon pastry cream looks devine! I would love to know the recipe! Well done.

    http://www.dobetter.wordpress.com

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  17. Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog. Your cakes look very happy.

    I love that you run. People always ask me how I bake so much and don't gain 800 pounds, and I think the main reason is I run a lot, and don't eat the processed junk.

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  18. This is one of the best done I saw for our perfect party cake. Fun decorations!! I did enjoy this cake. I love unbirthdays!!!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^

~Christina

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