I will have to be completely honest when I say that I was not impressed nor enthusiastic when I saw that Morven had picked the perfect party cake recipe from Dorie’s cookbook (I did, however, laugh maniacally since in my post last month I asked why they couldn’t have picked light frothy cake for me to make on the first challenge. Well, here it was). I mean… after all the hard work and near psychological trauma that was learning how to make bread, this challenge didn’t seem challenging at all! So, I just set it aside and plotted to make this cake for Easter. Then I got the cookbook for my birthday and I sort of picked up a little steam. But then I leafed through the book and my thought was this:
“Of all the beautiful, beautiful recipes in this book, they picked that one?!”
I could see where the puptart had said long ago when she did her first TWD recipe and she felt it was all froufrou for not much at all. I probably should have taken my blah attitude and copped out of making the silly cake. Instead, I endeavored to just get through it.
The recipe for the actual cake can be found in my CH-marshmallow entry. You see, what I did was this: I only had a 10in x 3in cake pan, not the 9in x 2in pan that the recipe prescribed. So, I figured to make the batter twice. I’d bake one cake with about 2/3 of the batter and the use the rest for the cupcakes. Because I only had one cake pan, I really had no choice but to do it this way.
Um…. they came out kinda flat.
I suspected that it was because of the flour. I realized it was self-rising cake flour and not just regular cake flour as the true recipe suggests it should be. I really didn’t have the time to redo the recipe, so my cake pancakes would just have to work. I was planning on going on with the recipe no matter what.
I used nearly half a cup of preserves between each layer and one batch of buttercream worked but it would have been better had I had more to work with. I was supposed to finish off the cake with coconut or fresh berries. However, there was no shredded coconut to be found anywhere and the fresh fruit was just too expensive for me to get. So, I improvised on the decorating. I had to finish it in 15 minutes because I was leaving to head to my apartment. I wanted to pipe something pretty, but I seriously didn’t have the time.
I used cookie cutters and stenciled on shapes with colored sugar. It so happened that we had a bunny cutter. So it worked in a pinch.
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
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.
Final Review: I think that the only thing I liked was the buttercream recipe, and even then I’m using the term loosely. I’d never made a swiss buttercream and the process was interesting. My frosting didn’t come out quite white, but I think it’s because I might not have beat my egg whites as much as I had to in the beginning over the heat. Aside from that, I’m not a big fan of frosting and I wasn’t a fan of this one. I think the lemons I used were just too tart. As for the cake itself, I didn’t get to have any of it. I left it with my family as I raced out the door to cross the island. I finally got to try one the cupcakes which I has left them all in the freezer until the time that I could make the marshmallow frosting for them. I did not enjoy the citrus flavor of the cake and in fact I felt the cake was too sweet. The cake itself was light though it did not rise. It was interesting, I may wish to repeat this recipe the right way and hope my cake will eventually look even part as pretty as the image in the book.
I look forward to next month.