Saturday, March 29, 2008

Perfect Party Cake

This was a Daring Baker Challenge that came from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours. This is a great book that I had briefly from the library but is definitely going on my cookbook wish list. It's got lots of great recipes and this cake definitely showcases that! As an instructor teaching pastry this mixing method sort of goes against what we teach, but being the obedient daring baker that I am, I followed the directions to a T and of course it came out great! One of the great things about this club is you are forced to try things that you may have otherwise amended or not done at all, and you end up discovering new and great recipes! With all that said, I debated long and hard about whether I was going to participate in this challenge or sit it out. Why? We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel and don't really have one at the moment! Luckily for me I have plenty of kitchens at work that I'm able to use, so I baked the cake and made the frosting there, then took it home with me! The space was tight and a little difficult to decorate, it's not my best but I still managed! Of course after given permission to change the flavors and frosting I did... maybe just habit, always having to make it my own, although those flavors would have been really good. I couldn't bring myself to make more buttercream- I'm around it all day at work. I was inspired by a dessert I had made at one of the restaurants I worked at. It was a Earl Grey Ice Cream Roulade. It was a chocolate sponge rolled up with earl grey ice cream and I garnished it with candied orange. The flavors worked so well together that I wanted to recreate them in the cake. I have since learned (unfortunately too late) that I didn't use enough tea, apparently to flavor a cake with tea it takes a lot! You can't detect tea in any part of the cake- I had it in the cake, and also in the frosting/ filling which was a whipped ganache. I covered the top with candied orange, which still worked well with the chocolate, regardless of the tea.

Here is the recipe for the cake used in the challenge, it made a great white cake. I didn't include the tea I put into the cake (the little dark specks you see) because that still needs some work. I used a earl grey whipped ganache as the frosting and filling, which I also am not going to post at this time, I would like to get the right proportion of earl grey before posting that recipe. Directions for the candied orange on top can be found here, from my earlier post. The only difference is I cut the strips very thin and drained the syrup from the zest, but didn't let it dry out at all, instead put it on the cake still moist and very soft (if it was really hard or chewy the texture wouldn't match well). As you can see I also used a different pan, a loaf pan that I trimmed down and sliced into three layers. You can do either without adjustment to the recipe. You could still use two loaf pans. This is a great white cake recipe and would encourage you to try it!
Perfect Party Cake (taken from Baking From My Home To Yours)
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk
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

Getting Ready
Center 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).


Anonymous said...

Your cake looks fabulous and I like your mix of flavors. Simply gorgeous!

marias23 said...

Oh, Emma! I love that you added tea in your cake. Please make sure to share your recipe because I am definitely interested in trying it out! Beautiful!

Jerry said...


Anonymous said...

I'm impressed you still made it with your kitchen looking like that, that was nice you could use your kitchen at work for most of the job. The cake looks great and I'm sure tastes wonderful also!

Barbara Bakes said...

Your cake looks perfect! I would love to see and hear the details about your finished kitchen.

Gretchen Noelle said...

I absolutely love what you did with this! You really took it to another level! The shape, the flavors, everything! Great job!

Unknown said...

I really love the look of your cake, truly perfect. I have made a few things with tea before, and have found that a really strong infusion tends to work best, or doing something like soaking fruit (fresh or dried) that will be used in the cake in a strong brew.

Deborah said...

That is absolutely beautiful! I lvoe the shape.

Gabi said...

That's a beautiful sleek cake you have there! i love the flavours you came up with!
I feel your pain on the kitchen remodel- I was two years from demolition to final touches- 1-1/2 years of cooking in the crockpot, grill, steamer and micro. Best wishes for a speedy finish!

Suzanne, Lance and Belle said...

I can't wait to see your new kitchen! You probably can't wait!! I just bought a zester last weekend for one of my blackberry cobbler recipes and I love it. I can't wait to use it on this recipe as well!

June said...

That's a beautiful cake. Great interpretation of the challenge.

Miss Ifi said...

Oh wow.. that is an amazing looking cake!! Congratulations!!!

Sheltie Girl said...

Fabulous job! I'll have to try using tea in something, but thanks for letting me know that it takes a lot.

I hope your kitchen develops nicely in the coming weeks. We did ours 3 years ago and it is so nice now.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

Andrea said...

I love the rectangular shape of your cake! It looks lovely, and I like your idea for flavors. Hope your kitchen is up and running soon!