Sunday, March 30, 2008

Daring Baker Challenge Report – March 2008 - ‘Perfect Party Cake’

I have had this recipe squirreled away for a while now because the recipes’ name and accompanying photo were too good to resist. Hence I was very pleased that my first Daring Baker challenge was ‘Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake’.

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.

CaitGoodall-Domed & cracked

Making the buttercream seemed to go off without a hitch, although it is strange to be making something without really knowing what result you’re aiming for.

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.

CaitGoodall-looking inside

I liked how the unfrosted cake tastes, but the taste of the buttercream does not appeal to me. I found the preserves I used a bit too sweet (I could not find any seedless preserves so I pressed mine through a sieve to remove the seeds) and combined with the buttercream, it was all too rich for my taste. Mind you, I ate a serious amount of the cake to determine that yes, it really was a bit too rich. :)

CaitGoodall-cake & 2 plates

It was good to work through a recipe that I had set aside as a ‘must try’. Definitely the most enjoyable part for me was thinking of how many other people, all over the world, were pottering about in their kitchens whisking, whipping, beating and baking at the same time.

It’s great to be a part of this!



Lis said...

Welcome aboard, Caitlin!

This was a fabulous first challenge - I really enjoyed reading this (and am hoping Santa hear's your request!) and I loved the photos!

Well done, sweetie!


L Vanel said...

Looks like it rose quite nicely! Beautiful cake!

Sandicita said...

Your layers look wonderful. Sometimes one needs to eat a lot of cake before deciding if it's good or not!

Morven said...

Great photos. You won't know how you ever got on once you get a stand mixer. I love my new Kenwood.

Angel said...

Welcome to the club, and you did great. The cake looks gorgeous, and the layers are so pretty!!! I'm glad I didn't try the butter cream since so many said it was too rich. I like light and fluffy.