Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Perfect Party Cake

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection was picked by Carol of mix, mix… stir, stir. Visit her blog for the complete recipe. She picked Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake. The Perfect Party Cake is a lovely lemon-scented white cake with a snow white buttercream. Sandwiched between the cake layers is the buttercream and raspberry jam. The picture in the cookbook really is perfect. Hopefully my cake would turn out somewhat close to the picture. In making the cake, I realized that this cake was quite different from what I was accustomed to making.

The cake is very different from most other cakes that I have made. It only uses egg whites, which is not that unusual. Normally when you make a cake with egg whites, you beat them until they are stiff and fold in the flour. You don’t beat the egg whites for this cake; you just combine them with milk and alternate adding the liquid with the fry ingredients. Very different! The cake came together perfectly well, so I was hopeful. I know that some of the other TWD bloggers said that their cake didn’t rise very much. I have to say that was true for my cake as well. It didn’t rise as much as I had hoped, but it did rise enough.

The other difference was the buttercream icing. I’m used to making a very simple buttercream, which is little more that powdered sugar, butter, and milk. This is a meringue buttercream, which uses egg whites, granulated sugar, and three sticks of butter! This was so unusual for me, but I know there are many types of buttercream, so it’s good to have practice making something different. You beat the egg whites and sugar over a water bath until it is warm. I didn’t know how important this step was, so I followed the recipe exactly, heating the mixture for three minutes. You then whip the mixture and then after you have whipped it for a while you start adding the butter. It takes a while to add the three sticks of butter, but it came together surprisingly easy. After you add the butter you add lemon juice and vanilla. Then you beat the icing for about 10 minutes more, just for good measure. It had a nice texture and tasted good, so I considered it a successful buttercream.

Since my cake didn’t rise all that much, I decided not to split the layers. Dorie’s cake is 4 layers but I just had 2. I also used strained cherry preserves instead of raspberry. My preserves basically soaked into the cake, so you can hardly see it at all in the photo. It was also really hard to ice on top of the preserves, and I was glad I only had to do this on one layer and not three. Even though my cake didn’t rise very much, it had a wonderful texture. It was very spongy, which I really liked. The lemon flavor in the cake and in the icing was a little too strong for my taste, which is odd since I really like lemon. I think had I split the layers and used more raspberry (or cherry) preserves, that would have balanced the strong lemon flavor. Overall, I really liked this cake and I will definitely think about making it when I need a special cake to celebrate a birthday at work.

Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 250-252.


Carol Peterman/TableFare said...

Meringue buttercream is my favorite. I am glad this week's recipe gave you a new baking experience, and a successful one at that. Your cake looks great and I think the cherry preserves sound lovely. I find it difficult to spread buttercream over a layer of jam too, so I just reversed the order and put the buttercream down first. After chilling it sets up hard so it's easy to spread the jam layer on. Thanks for baking with me this week.

chocolatechic said...

My cake didn't rise very much either.

I have made Swiss butter cream, French buttercream, and Italian Buttercreams before, and I much prefer good old American buttercream

This time I used cream cheese icing for mine.

Heather said...

Your cake looks delicious - great job!

Unknown said...

I really like the fact you added cherry preserves. Very Southern!

Leslie said...

Mine didn't rise much, either, but I'm with you, the flavor was great!

Jules Someone said...

Your cake is lovely! Sorry the lemon flavor put you off a bit.

Beth said...

You did a great job!
My jam soaked into the cake too, so you could taste it but not see it. I had jam running down the sides while I tried to ice and it got pretty messy!