Sunday, March 30, 2008
First, let me say that I love this cake recipe and I will definitely make it again and again and again. I don't usually have cake flour on hand so I used regular flour and took out 2 tbsp per cup used. They looked great!
I decided to use lemon curd as my filling along with the buttercream. The cake turned out very lemony because I didn't do any actual measurements for the juice. That wasn't a bad thing because I love lemons.
I should have just spread enough of the lemon curd to cover each layer and left it at that. But...I hate wasting stuff so I just HAD to pour it all on there:
HELP! I'm drowning!!!
(Yeah...the cake probably shouldn't be floating)
I did make the buttercream (at least I thought I did). While I was pouring the buttercream out I noticed that it was very watery near the bottom. I let the cake sit a while and noticed that it looked grainy - like I sprinkled something on the top (I didn't). So, ladies and gentleman, this is why I have a hate/hate relationship with egg whites (remember the lemon meringue pie?).
As far as the taste is concerned, both my mother and I agree that it is wonderful. The cake is the perfect consistency (even with the extra moistness) and easy to make. Next time I'm going for strawberry shortcake.
P.S. I took a peek at the other entries and I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO jealous! Everyone's cake looks spectacular. Gold stars for everyone! You too, Lis and Ivonne:-)
I keep forgetting to take pictures though after we've cut into the cakes - too busy enjoying (hoovering it back!) to remember to pick up the camera! You'll have to trust me that the buttercream and raspberry curd layers are the perfect complement to the sponge layers and pop against the snowy white background of the cake. The chocolate decorations are also fun to make and I think make for a whimsical cake. Thanks Morven for another fun-filled challenge.
I read the recipe through a few times before starting; I felt reasonably confident of the actual cake making part, but the butttercream frosting made me nervous. I’ve only ever tried making a fancy frosting once before (for a Lady Baltimore cake) and the results were less than inspiring. :(
The making of the cakes went well; my hand held electric beaters made a very stressed high pitched whining noise during the final beating of the batter, it being so gorgeously thick and heavy. (Campaigning for a stand mixer for my Christmas present has already begun)
Both cakes rose well, but both domed and then cracked. I checked in my trusty Women’s Weekly cookbook/bible ‘Kitchen’ and doming & cracking is a sign that the oven is too hot or the pan is too small. In this case it must have been the former as my (new) oven is fan forced and I am still learning how to adjust recipe temperatures with this in mind.
Two parts of the recipe were unclear to me:
1. in the cake making part it says ‘beat in half of the milk-egg mixture’ but there had been no mention previous to that of combining the milk and eggs. I wasn’t sure if I should beat the eggs first, or what to do, so I decided to gently whisk the eggs & milk together.
2. the ingredients for the buttercream say ‘ ¼ fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)’ I assumed this would be ¼ cup juice but in the end I went with the second alternative, the juice from 2 large lemons, which was more liquid than ¼ cup.
I was happy with how the finished cake looked although if I could change anything I would have used less buttercream between the layers leaving more for the top & sides. I chose not to use the coconut on top as I’m not a huge fan of coconut, and also don’t know what ‘sweetened coconut’ is.
It’s great to be a part of this!
My husband is out of town so this was the perfect time to be creative and cook all day with no interruptions! From the moment I read we could change the flavor (not a lemon lover) my mind began to whirl! At first I thought pineapple and coconut, but it sounded boring. Then, the fruit market had Mango 2 for $1.00 and oranges that were sweet as sugar on sale, so it was decided for me.
I made the cake which was a little confusing; it never mentioned the consistency of the batter, which look like curled milk. It to spread it , but my consistency was soft enough that a little pan shaking did the trick. I used loaf pans because, I loan my pans out and never seem to get them returned. But it turned out cute. It smelled wonderful and came out of the pans perfect! I sampled a little and it was moist and very yummy!
-Jane aka Artstuff2
Day 1: Baking the Cakes (At the apartment)
Well, first off, I had never lined the bottom of a pan with buttered parchment paper before, but it seems like a simple task. However, I think this is the part that gave me the most difficulty! The batter came together nicely and was beautiful- very light and creamy.
Day 2: Buttercream & Decorating (At the new house!)
This was my first experience making buttercream frosting and I was a little nervous. I was trying out some new kitchen equipment and was in the middle of unpacking chaos, but everything went fine. The meringue came together well and looked beautiful.
Yes, I thought to myself. Yes, I could.
Gentle Reader, I will spare you the countless permutations that ran through my head and the dozens of options I presented to Z. The only thing I knew for certain was that the suggested coconut topping from Dorie's recipe would have to go, unless I didn't want to eat a bite of the cake I'd made. (A good strategy for dieters, but I was not so masochistic.) Before despair set in, I recalled that I had a container of caramel, recipe taken from the Tartine cookbook, quietly sitting in my fridge and without use. In the Tartine book, it suggested spreading the caramel between the layers of a Devil's Food Cake. I always liked the sound of that idea, and so, ruthlessly co-opted it for my own nefarious purposes. No raspberry jam for me, thank you, sir. Out went the citrus flavoring in the cake layers, substituting vanilla extract for the lemon. But the lemony buttercream wouldn't quite work with this new flavor profile. Again, the incalculable variations for how to flavor the buttercream, until I glanced in Nick Malgieri's Perfect Cakes and saw a very similar cooked buttercream, with directions on how to create a chocolate variation. We have a winner!
All of the components came together beautifully, and when it came time to make the buttercream, I got to use my sexy new 600-watt Kitchenaid stand mixer (a gift from Z.--thanks, honey!). The caramel was a bit independently-minded when I spread it on the cut cake layers, and I didn't wind up using it all. (This was fortunate, as I wound up eating gobs of caramel from the container throughout the week. Sigh. Back on the elliptical trainer.) So, instead of cake, jam, buttercream, my variation was cake, caramel, chocolate buttercream. Once it was frosted, then I played around with some fondant decorations I'd made the day before using premade white fondant that I'd dyed and cut.
In this mad world in which we live, much like Janet Jackson, we all strive for control. For a few hours, I commanded the whys and wherefores of the cake, and emerged, I believe, the victor, both over the recipe itself, and my own indecision. Thank you, again, Daring Bakers, for showing that the path to true self-awareness is paved with buttercream.
Nota Bene: Please forgive the fact that there is no photo of the sliced cake. I always hate it when there's no money shot! But time was short and the camera was not at hand, so please use your imaginations to envision the interior of the cake. Anyway, isn't using your imagination that much more provocative?)
Your servant, &c.
Oh, but I had to improvise more because I just couldn’t bring myself to use THREE sticks of butter for the buttercream. I actually wrote down the conversion of the recipe to scale it to two sticks since I usually do that in my head which doesn’t always lead to success. Don’t ask me how I scaled 4 egg whites by 2/3, but I did.
Like I said, the cake was delicious. I did follow the rest of the recipe and used raspberry preserves (but no coconut). My cakes were soft and moist and I loved the combination of lemon and raspberry. I will definitely keep this recipe handy for my next party.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
So the King and I got to work:
Prior to this challenge I was not familiar with fancy-schmancy French terms such as “Batards”, “Ficelles”, “Boules” and “Petit Pains.” I’m just a regular gal from Jersey who uses words like loaf, slice, biscuit…you catch my drift. So I had to consult an expert for the fancy words.