31 March 2008
Perfect Party Cake
My first Daring Bakers Challenge- completed! I signed up with the Daring Bakers because it seemed like a great way to get back into baking with a challenge every month. This month we had the Perfect Party Cake recipe by Dorrie Greenspan. It's not the kind of cake that I would usually make (its baked in two pans and then split into layers)* as I generally think it's too much work but the cake was suprisingly simple and really delicious. The cake was a lemon sponge (flavored with the zest of two lemons, as I didn't have lemon extract and only realized it half way through the cake making process). The entire cake had only 1 stick of butter so it was relatively light, both in taste and fat content. I filled it with mixed berry jam and whipped cream and topped it with more whipped cream and coconut- the result was a happy mix of fruit and cream flavors and went over really well with everyone who tried it. So- Kudos to our hostess Morven who picked out this recipe for us (and who has the recipe up on her blog). I'll leave you with a few tips for when you try this one (not to be too cliche- but it really is a great party cake).
1) If you don't have cake flour, use AP flour but for each cup of flour take out 2T flour and add 2T cornstarch.
2) Your baking soda should be relatively new- if you remember celebrating the turn of the millenium with your can, it's time to get a new one.
3) The cake doesn't rise all that much. This is ok- you'll still be able to carefully slice it into layers.
4) Experiment with the flavors- you don't have to add the lemon, you can change up the jam flavors or add lemon curd, use buttercream of any flavor in place of the whipped cream, and add toasted nuts in place of the coconut.
5) If you're topping the cake with whipped cream- 1 pint heavy cream is more than enough for the entire cake, 1 C if you're only making half the cake.
*You may be asking- why does the picture show a two layer cake instead of the 4 layers you said you made? Well- I wanted to bring the cake to a friend's dinner party for dessert. I brought a bag with everything to put the cake together but forgot my camera. I really wanted to have a picture for my first Daring Bakers Challenge so I only made half the cake that night, and the second half that you see about the night after. It actually worked out really well- each half is enough for about 8 people.