Sunday, March 30, 2008

Daring Bakers - Dorie's Perfect Party Cake


Kia ora from Aotearoa! I am on holidays at present in New Zealand, so it it quite fun to be posting this DB's challenge away from home.

This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge is hosted by Morven of
Food, Art and Random Thoughts, a fellow Antipodean. She has chosen Dorie Greenspan's recipe for the Perfect Party Cake, from Baking - From My Home to Yours as this month's challenge. You can find the full recipe on Morven's site, so I won't reproduce it here. Morven was very generous in that she allowed us to put our own "stamp" on the chosen recipe by experimenting with colours and flavours.

Initally, I was pleased about this challenge, as the cake in the book looks absolutely gorgeous, and I am, as my pseudonym suggests, a cake baker. I have also previously made two other cakes from Dorie's book, and they were just devine and very unique. However, during this challenge, the base cakes and I had several disagreements, so that I was in fact relieved when it finally came together and I could say that I conquered it.

My first problem arose when I left the cakes to cool in the tins for the obligatory 5 minutes or so after I removed them from the oven. The cakes retracted from the sides of the tins while cooling, but each cake stuck to the side of the tin in one spot, so that when the cakes retracted, they tore a little.

I next found that these cakes stuck to everything - they unmoulded just fine (even with the little tears), but they then proceeded to stick to the wire cooling rack, to the tray I flipped them onto so that I could line the wire rack with baking paper to avoid further sticking (causing a small hole to be gouged in the top of one of the cakes!) and to the baking paper that I used to line the cooling rack.

My final problem with the base cakes arose because the cake layers are not very thick, and when I cut one of the cakes in half (the pristine one without the hole), I cut it so crookedly that I had cut a small hole in the centre of one "half" ( and I use that word loosely). At this point, I decided that there was no going back, and forged ahead bravely, using the most robust layer (sans holes!) as the bottom of the cake.

And you know what - I was glad that I did. The buttercream frosting hid a multitude of sins and "glued" everything together. I decided to use home-made lemon curd in the filling instead of raspberry jam (which, although attractive in the original, would have been very sweet), and to flavour the frosting with passionfruit syrup instead of vanilla:



I thought that the lemon curd was perfect, as it cut through the buttery frosting to some extent. The passionfruit was not very noticeable in the final product, but added some interest by dotting the frosting at random with little black seeds. This is the final cake, which looks like a giant snowball:



Now, I am not a buttercream fan, and you will notice from my previous posts that I rarely use it. I dislike the mouthfeel of it, which to me is quite greasy. For this reason, I cannot say that I loved this cake (although it tasted just fine). However, I took it into work to share with my colleagues, and most people loved it. (This is significant, because I bake so often now that they don't comment at all unless I really pull off something out of the ordinary.) One person went so far as to say he thought it was "spectacular"! Just goes to show that taste is a very subjective thing.



Thanks to Morven for hosting this month's event. You can check out other permutations of this cake via the Daring Bakers' Blogroll, which can be accessed
here.

47 comments:

Peter M said...

Hmm, passion-fruit couldn't be tasted? You know it's ripe when it's wrinkled, brown & ugly outside...then you'll taste the passion fruit.

The cake is stacked, and it looks very devourable!

Aran said...

This is the first cake I see and I realized that in Australia is already Sunday. This looks fantastic. wasn't it a delicious cake?

ruthEbabes said...

I thought we were supposed to post this on the 31st, have I got the wrong date?

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Your cake looks beautiful! Would you believe I am just now making mine. I've been so swamped with work and family obligations, tonight was the first chance I've had. I only hope that mine turns out half as pretty as yours!

Wish me luck!!!

Barbara said...

I can't believe you went on holiday in NZ after I left! Great effort on the cake. It looks delicious.

Gretchen Noelle said...

You are right, it does look a little bit like a snowball! But, how fun! I love the idea of lemon curd, that is a variation I would like to try. And passionfruit - now that is what i would like to try - YUM! Looks great despite the minor setbacks.

Maryann said...

Hello, Cakelaw! You did a good job, kiddo :)

Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

Hey, baking on a holiday... The cake looks too good and lemon curd would add to the taste and flavor.. Great work girl!!

L Vanel said...

Excellent job on the cake! It looks beautiful.

Rosie said...

Hi Cakelaw, what a stunning cake! I love the combo of flavours going on - great bake :)

Rosie x

Jerry said...

Sorry that you had problems! Still looks lovely! I love how icing always fixes the problems!

Susan said...

Your "snowball" looks great! I had a little trouble with sticking too, although not too much. The other day I saw an episode of Baking With Julia that they are re-airing on our public TV station. The featured baker made a cake that she sprinkled with granulated sugar after baking to prevent sticking. I was thinking that I wish I had known that when I made this cake, but I'll tuck that away for next time.

Ivy said...

I've been seeing this cake all over the blogosphere today. Seems I'm the only one who is not a daring baker. Looks great and I love the lemon filling.

Tammy said...

Wow, your cake looks fab!! Are you going to be in Auckland on your travels??

Mary said...

I bet the lemon curd filling went fantastic with this cake. It certainly looks beautiful!

Lesley said...

Great height and fluffiness! Your cake looks so good.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Peter - maybe the lack of flavour was due to my use of canned passionfruit syrup.

Hi Aran, thanks! I did like the finshed cake despite not being a buttercream fan.

Hi Ruth, the big day was 30 March -can't wait to check out your creation.

Thanks Susan - can't wait to see your cake!

Thanks Barbara. being a native Queenslander, I think you are in a lovely part of the world right now.

Thanks Gretchen and Maryann!

Hi Swati, I made the cake and drafted the post before I left so that I just had to tweak the post a little before publishing while I was away ;)

Thanks Lucy and Rosie!

Hi Jerry, isn't icing, especially thick icing, a marvel.

Thanks for sharing that tip Susan - I will also tuck it away because I think it will come in handy.

Thanks Ivy - the lemon curd was good, but I have seen some very interesting sounding combinations that my brain would never have thought of.

Thanks Tammy - I was in Auckland and went to The French Cafe - absolutely devine. Just got back today.

Thanks Mary and Lesley.

Pixie said...

Your cake looks spectacular, and it's great to see you posting again! Hope you're enjoying your holiday.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Pixie - I just returned today, and I am NOT looking forward to going back to work tomorrow - however, have to work so that I can afford to bake ;)

Suzana said...

Your cake looks beautiful and I'm sure was very delicious with the lemon curd! Great job.

coco said...

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the cake was - pure! It looks so nice and white and pristine

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Suzana - the lemon curd was nice with it.

Hi Coco - I like that description - thank you!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Hey there Cakelaw...if I hadn't read your post first, I would have thought this is one you've sailed through! It looks perfect;am sure it was fab...what with the comments at work. GREAT. I love the white fluffy look it has! Have a good holiday!! Ciao bella

Ann said...

Wow! It looks so moist and wonderful!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Deeba - I was grateful for all that buttercream!

Thanks Ann - much appreciated.

SaraLynn said...

Your cake is lovely!

Cakespy said...

This looks like a snowball of happiness to me. If you don't care for buttercream that is ok, I will have your share! :-)

Dhanggit said...

hi cakelaw, your entry for this month is definitely gorgeous and stunning!! and the layers of cake look absolutely perfect!!

adele said...

Lemon curd and passionfruit? This may be my favorite version of the cake so far. :)

Fran Z said...

Lovely cake!

Astra Libris said...

Homemade lemon curd and passion fruit frosting?! MMmmm.... Wow! Your cake takes the cake! (with apologies for the horrible pun... :-)

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Saralynn - I managed to hide all the problems with the cake under the frosting.

Hi Cakespy, one large slice coming up!

Thanks Dhanggit - thank goodness for that buttercream "glue".

Hi Adele, Fran and Astrid, thanks!

Lunch Buckets said...

It looks beautiful! Buttercream does hide a multitude of sins...that and slice almonds anyway :)

pacificoutpost said...

Your cake looks beautiful. And who among us has not used icing at one time or another to glue the pieces of a cake back together again?

Cakelaw said...

LOL Lunchbuckets - agreed!

Amen Gail.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

My cakes stuck to everything too! Strange.....

cookworm said...

Your cake looks beautiful! I'm crazy about passion fruit and adding it in the filling sounds seriously good!

creampuff said...

Posting while on vacation ... now that's dedication! Love the cake!

Cakelaw said...

Hey there How To, I'm glad it wasn't just me.

Thanks Cookworm - an extra large slice for you!

Thanks Ivonne - had the post up my sleeve before I went so that I could just publish it on the day.

Tracy said...

Looks so lovely!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Tracy - glad you like the look of it.

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a fabulous job on your cake!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Natalie - the end result hides the bumps, I think.

Dana McCauley said...

Despite your troubles, the final cake looks good enough to eat!

My layers were a little sticky, too not quite as bad as yours. Was it very humid the day you were baking?

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Dana. I can't recall whether it was humid or not that day, but the stickiness of an otherwise lovely cake was a bit of a pain.

Molly Loves Paris said...

Isn't it great the way a cake can turn out looking great despite the struggles one has with it. Yours turned out really well.

Cakelaw said...

Hi Molly, it is indeed magic how a seeming disaster can right itself. Thanks for dropping by.