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.