March 29, 2008

HoneyB you Daring Baker YOU!

I decided back in February that I wanted a challenge. I wanted to participate in something that would force me to do things I may never do on my own. Maybe even do things that I thought were too hard to do. Therefore, I joined the Daring Bakers group. The March Challenge is Perfect Party Cake, a delicious recipe by Dorie Greenspan from her Baking from My Home to Yours (page 250). A big Thank You to Morven for hosting this month’s challenge!

A video (Dyann Bakes) was made available to us to view on how to make Buttercream Frosting. I am including the link to that here because it was really helpful to me to view that video!

Easter Morning I was up early and making my cake. Oh boy, was Grumpy ever grumpy with me! I was so noisy when it came to making the frosting that he told me that "when" (key word there people - he liked the cake!) I make it again, he cannot be home! We took the cake to my son's house for Easter. It was the only thing remotely Easter we ate that day because they made chili for dinner! lol

Here are a few pics of the process:

The batter ready to bake!

The cakes cooling

The cake cut. Look at those beautifully yummy layers and the perfect crumb to the cake!
Last but not least, a picture of a slice.

To see other Daring Baker's postings about their cake you can visit the Daring Baker's Blogroll. I am glad I particpated in this challenge and I am up and ready for the next one!

For those of you who are dying to make this cake, and want the recipe, I am posting it below:
For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour (updated 25 March)
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 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
Centre 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.

To Make the Cake
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 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 on 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 plan 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.
On medium speed, gradually beat in the 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.

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.

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.

Playing Around
Since lemon is such a friendly flavour, feel free to make changes in the preserves: other red preserves – cherry or strawberry – look especially nice, but you can even use plum or blueberry jam.

Fresh Berry Cake
If you will be serving the cake the day it is made, cover each layer of buttercream with fresh berries – use whole raspberries, sliced or halved strawberries or whole blackberries, and match the preserves to the fruit. You can replace the coconut on top of the cake with a crown of berries, or use both coconut and berries. You can also replace the buttercream between the layers with fairly firmly whipped sweetened cream and then either frost the cake with buttercream (the contrast between the lighter whipped cream and the firmer buttercream is nice) or finish it with more whipped cream. If you use whipped cream, you’ll have to store the cake the in the refrigerator – let it sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.


Bellini Valli said...

Way to go HoneyB. You rose to the challenge with flying colours:D

RecipeGirl said...

Great job HB!! I think we got a bit of an easy challenge for our first one. Let's see what's next!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Your cake is lovely, it does have a wonderful crumb. It's a wonderful group to get us out of our ordinary isn't it. Well done.

SaraLynn said...

Love the cake! It looks so pretty!

(Gotta love Garfield)

marias23 said...

Oh, yes, your layers are perfectly pretty, Huneybunch!

GrannyLooHoo said...

Beautiful job, HoneyB--it was worth the wait to see it. Looks very moist & delicious--I bet Grumpy was Happy after he ate it!

Carrie said...

Oooh - looks so pretty! I bet it tasted awesome!

Lunch Buckets said...

beautiful - good job!

Amy J. said...

Ooh, HoneyB, I love it! You done good, girl!

Erin said...

Great job! The inside of your cake looks beautiful!

Megan said...

Perfect cake and a great challange. Love the colored coconut around the sides. Looks like Spring!

Rosie said...

One perfect cake HoneyB! Those layers to your cake look so light and airy what a great bake :)

Rosie x

Colette said...

Your cakes look like they rose so beautifully! Mine seemed like they could've rose a little more, but still tasted good.

Ann said...

Congrats on your forst DB challenge! Your cake looks perfect!

Jenny said...

Your layers are perfection; nice job on this challenge.

familiabencomo said...

I love the PINK - wish I had thought of that (dagnabbit!). Great job!

Chili is perfect for any occasion, right?

xoxox Amy

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Ooooh...absolutely beautiful yummy layers & a crumb to die for!!! The pink withing has won me over!! Pretty!

Kevin said...

Your cake looks really good!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Congratulations and welcome!! Your cake looks terrific!

marye said...

fantastic! Great job on the challenge.

Gabi said...

Congrats on your 1st challenge- great job! Welcome to the DBs too!

Antonio Tahhan said...

that must have made a delicious Easter cake!!

Brilynn said...

Well done on your first DB challenge!!

Amy said...

Your layers are so pretty! Nice work :)

Kelly-Jane said...

You did this challenge so well :)Perfect layers and a great looking cake! Well done.

Indigo said...

What a perfect pure white cake! Looks great ^__^

Medena said...

Great job on your first challenge!
Good luck, and have tons of fun with many challenges to come!

Sheltie Girl said...

Lovely job!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Tracy said...

MMmmmmm... that slice looks wonderful!!

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