I called my Nanny up the other day and asked her if she wanted a cake for her anniversary. I had every intention of making her one it is just a matter of my PaPa, he is a very picky eater. She told me that I didn’t have to do that, but thank you and that she loved me. Well, later that night she talks to my mother and my mom convinces her to call me back and ask for a cake.
This gives me a chance to try my hand at something I have never made. I have found the perfect recipe; the Party Cake from Baking: From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I am kind of iffy about making the cake, just in case someone chooses it for their Tuesday’s with Dorie entry. But I guess I can always make it twice. It looks like something yummy that I don’t think anyone would mind eating it twice :).
I am making it a two day adventure since I don’t have too much time in one day because of work. I could always cook it late at night. Late night cooking is the best. The kitchen is clear. You don’t have to worry about bumping into anyone or the pups because they are usually passed out on the couch or bed. This is especially important when you have an extremely tiny apartment kitchen.
I started this adventure late Thursday night with making the cake. I figured by the time I woke up that everything would be cool and I could make the icing and finish the cake before I went to lunch with my Nanny and PaPa at 11am.
The cake baked up perfectly except it looked a little small like I wouldn’t be able to slice each cake into two layers. I actually did something I have never done before. I used egg whites in a carton. Usually I just separate eggs, but currently I have 4 egg yolks residing in my refrigerator and I didn’t want to add 8 more to that. That would be crazy. I would be eating pastry cream for months or Eggs Benedict. Which wouldn’t be bad because I love that stuff, but I need to be careful not to gain all my weight back 🙂 .
While the cakes were cooling at 3am I kept looking at them thinking, “there is no way that I am going to be able to slice that in half, and it doesn’t look as thick as it does in the picture in the cookbook.” I decided to make a half batch of the cake and make it a three layer cake instead of a 4 layer since the layers weren’t that thick. I make another layer, and take it out of the oven. It is now 4am and I feel a little better about the cake.
I drag my butt out of bed Friday morning to make the buttercream icing and finish putting the cake together. Everything is going well until I put the layers on top of each other and they slowly start pushing the raspberry jam to the edge of the cake. I keep thinking, how am I supposed to ice this with white frost and not make the cake look pink with the jam seeping through the edges. I decide to take a paper towel and clean up the edge. I get the cake entirely frosted and put together and there is only one small pink area. This is where I am thanking Dorie for having the cake covered in sweetened coconut because now you can’t tell there was a pink area, YAY!!!!
While putting the coconut on the cake I ended up getting a couple of flakes on the floor and my youngest little monster decided it would be a good time to clean it up. He is weird. Anytime I accidentally get a little bit of flour on the floor he is up on it inhaling it up.
I get the cake put together and it fits perfectly in the box. Again I thank Dorie for the coconut because if it was just icing it would have gotten all over the box :). I met my Nanny for lunch and gave her the cake. She said thank you and gave me a hug and a kiss. Then she proceeded to tell me that I need to take half of the cake.
I compromise and take 2/3 of it and I am giving a huge chunk of that to friends because I do not need that much cake in my apartment. That is just asking for a midnight feeding session of yummy yummy cake goodness. I sliced a really thin piece off to see how it turned out. First thought, damn I could have sliced the cake into layers. Each layer was just a little too thick. Oh well, at least now I know that for next time. The cake has a nice tight crumb to it with a light lemon flavor. The icing is nice and creamy with a nice fresh lemon flavor. The raspberry jam gives it a nice contrast to the lemon flavor and the coconut adds a nice sweetness to the outside. If you don’t like coconut, you can always leave it out. It will still taste wonderful without it :).
Perfect Party Cake
From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 250-252
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves, stirred vigorously
Approximately 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9×2 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.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and rub them together with your fingers. Add the butter and working with the paddle attachment beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, and alternate flour and egg mixture until fulling incorporated. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it it thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter btw the two pans and smooth the tops.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch. Transfer to cooling racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then unmold cakes and peel off paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up.
To make the buttercream, put the sugar and egg whites in the top of a double boiler and whisk constantly, until it is hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove from the heat. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to a paddle attachment and add the butter 1 tbsp at a time until full incorporated. Once all the butter is added, beat on medium high speed for 6 to 10 minutes until it is thick and smooth. If the buttercream separates, continue to beat and it will come together again. Gradually add the lemon juice until fulling incorporated, then add the vanilla.
To assemble the cake. Using a serrated knife slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or place. Spread it with one third of the preserves. Cover the jam evenly with about on quarter of the buttercream. Top with another layer of cake, spread preserved and butter cream and do the same with the third layer. Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the top and sides. Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.