Tuesday, April 1, 2008

March Daring Bakers Challenge (a lil late)

I confess, I'm a bit tardy on this challenge. : (
I meant to make the cake last Friday, but with family in town, it was next to impossible. So I decided to make it last night for my friend Amy's bday.
I was so excited for this challenge too, because I just got Dorie's book "Baking: From My Home To Yours" and I was itching to make a recipe from it.
I have to agree, this is a perfect party cake. And I love how versatile it can be. The recipe itself called for raspberry preserves, but I decided to use blueberry. It went very nice with the hint of lemon in the cake and buttercream frosting. I wish I could have gotten a better shot, but I had to take the pics at school, and we all know what kind of lighting schools have.

Thank you
Morven for a wonderful Challenge! To check out the other amazing cakes, check out the Daring Bakers blogroll.

Perfect Party Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours, pg. 250

For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour (I used 2 cups MINUS 2 Tbs per Dorie's advice)
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 cleanTransfer 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.StoringThe 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.


Beth G. @SweetLifeKitchen said...

Ooooh, you did a great job- that looks SUPER YUMMY!! :O)

That Girl said...

I have to say I'm impressed with how many of you daring bakers used blueberry. I would never have thought of that.

MrsSchoon said...

Mmm, I could go for a big slice of that!

Peabody said...

It turned out lovely.

Anonymous said...

Ally, that looks beautiful!

bakingblonde said...

That looks so yummy!

Dolores said...

I love lemons and blueberry together... great job!

SaraLynn said...

Looks Lovely!

Helene said...

Great job! That last picture makkes me wish I had one more slice!!

Anonymous said...

Your cake looks fabulous! I love blueberry!

Anonymous said...

This looks wonderful! I love the blueberries!

Morven said...

You did a great job with your decorating. Glad you enjoyed the challenge.

Elle said...

Impressive cake! Love the blueberry and lemon combo..and the blueberry decorations are lovely.

KayKat said...

Yay! I went with blueberries too. Looks great :)

Unknown said...

wow! what a stunning cake! your icing is so white...i'm jealous mine wasn't anyway near as pristine! well done!

Ruth Strong said...

Hey! Great cake! love the blueberry!

bird's eye view said...

This looks great. I used Blueberry too, due to a mishap with the raspberry and the combination worked well.

~Amber~ said...

Beautiful cake!! I love the idea of using blueberries.

Unknown said...

I think blueberries would be marvelous - I'm going to keep this cake in mind for blueberry season!

Andrea said...

Beautiful! I love blueberry preserves, and the insides of your cake make my mouth water!

Susan @ SGCC said...

The cake looks beautiful! You did a great job with the piping. Blueberries seem to be a popular choice for this cake. I may try it next time.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Looks delish!

Amy J. said...

Yum, looks great!!

Jenny said...

I think I will have to try blueberries next time, just because I like them so much. Your cake looks great with that mound of blueberries in the middle.

Cassie said...

Mmmm, that looks so delicious and beautiful! That cake may be the first thing I try when my Dorie cookbook arrives...

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Anonymous said...

Oh...the Lemony Chicken Piccata; cream and light, now that's a winner, thanks!

Jaime said...

beautiful! great job :)