29 May 2012
Happy Birthday, Dad!
We celebrated my dad's birthday this weekend, which included dinner, cake, and crepes.
My dad requested an orange cake with chocolate frosting, so my mom and I got to work creating the birthday cake. For the cake part, we stuck with Dorie's Perfect Party Cake, subbing out lemon for orange. I love this cake because it's simple to make (you don't have to beat the egg whites separately), comes out sturdy, but stays moist.
The cake was filled with an orange pastry cream, iced with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, and decorated with homemade candied orange slices. If you've never candied orange slices before, don't be afraid! The recipe is incredibly simple and the process is simple.
For the buttercream, we used Martha Stewart's recipe for Swiss meringue buttercream, folding in five ounces of melted chocolate at the end. If you've never made this kind of buttercream before, don't be scared of the process. Here are the steps necessary to ensure success:
- Butter should be room temperature, which means soft but not mushy. You can press it easily but it will still have a bit of resistance.
- Beat the egg white mixture until cool (feel the underside of the mixing bowl), and stiff, glossy peaks form. Don't rush this step.
- It's natural that the frosting will look soupy and curdled as you add in the butter. It won't start to come together until the third stick is added, so just keep beating.
I like this icing because it's not grainy, nor too sweet, and it ices beautifully. The only downside is that it requires an entire pound of butter, though I've often gotten away using just three sticks before. The icing recipe that's included with the cake link above only uses three sticks, and you can add chocolate to that recipe as well. I used Martha's recipe because I wasn't sure how much icing I would need. Turns out I could have gotten away with less.
After all the components were put together, the cake looked like it had come from a bakery. It was a beautiful cake and my dad enjoyed it.