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The Perfect Party Cake

The Perfect Party Cake

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Morven from Food Art and Random Thoughts is the hostess for this month’s Daring Baker Challenge. I was going to sit this out as it has been a busy month.  As well, I was scared to have a big beautiful cake sitting around the house for us to devour.  All I could think about was my hips getting bigger.  Then after complaining about it to Lenny, when then lead to me showing him the recipe,  he convinced me that I should not give up and that I should most definitely bake this cake.  Here I am sharing The Perfect Party Cake recipe with you.  It is a keeper most definitely.  

The Perfect Party Cake
Yesterday evening at 5 pm, I was making Dorie’s Party Cake, to take to an impromptu dinner party.  Okay, who am I kidding it was also to do this challenge.  Late in the evening, I must have been crazy to bake a party cake.  

The recipe ended up being so simple to follow, everything fell into place, as if it was meant to be.  The house smelled of sugar, buttermilk, and sweet Meyer Lemons.  Then came the time to whip up the buttercream.  My god-daughter was my kitchen helper and we could not keep our fingers out of the mixing bowl, it was so good, all that shiny meringue mixed with butter.  

I used tart raspberry preserves for the filling as the recipe calls for. I was worried I may run out of buttercream to frost the cake so I did skimp on the buttercream between the layers.  Now I know better. I opted out of the coconut part of the challenge only because our friends do not like coconut but next time I am definitely adding it!

I was finished with the challenge by 645pm, with enough time to wipe the flour from my hands and put some lipstick on before dashing out to dinner.  The cake turned out beautiful and what a wonderful combination of flavors. The tartness of the buttermilk, the sweetness of the raspberry preserves, tasted like spring time using the fresh Meyer Lemons.  The cake was light and not too dense.  That buttercream was amazing light and fluffy. We served the cake with a chilled glass of Lemoncello, and everyone loved it!

Thank you, Lenny, for convincing me not to give up on this challenge.  Thank You, Dorie, for creating another beautiful recipe;  we will be baking this often. 

Tools:

  • 9 x 2 inch round cake pans
  • parchment paper
  • mixer
  • microplane

Tips:

  • Bring the butter, eggs and buttermilk to room temperature as the ingredients will combine together more evenly.  I set out 30 minutes before I start baking. 

Recipe:  The Perfect Party Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the Buttercream
1 cup of sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

How To:

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Whisk together the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one-third of the flour mixture, still beating at medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
At medium speed, gradually beat in more lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one-third of the preserves.
Cover the jam evenly with about one-quarter of the buttercream.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream, and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.
Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

Serving
The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.

Storing
The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.

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BC

Saturday 5th of April 2008

Yes, this cake was delicious in every sampling - right up to the finished product.

Amy J.

Thursday 3rd of April 2008

Great job! And like you, I'm afraid we did some 'sampling' ourselves.... :D

Dolores

Wednesday 2nd of April 2008

I'm with the others, this is a great story. Glad L talked you in to participating this month. And I love your new look.

Big Boys Oven

Wednesday 2nd of April 2008

Perfect and yet a simple cake! truely heaven!

Elle

Tuesday 1st of April 2008

What a great story and perfect cake! Love the idea of the buttercream being sampled over the kitchen aide...so what if less was there for the cake? :) Great that you did the challenge...bet the dinner party guests were thrilled.