Daring Bakers - Perfect Party Cake
It's Daring Baker time and I have to say I am a bit disappointed with my effort for this month. I was so excited when I saw we were making Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake. I was all set to create a stunningly beautiful delectable cake. I plotted and planned my little heart out.
Two things let me down:
1) I totally forgot how much I suck at cake decorating. I actually did a course a few years back. At the end of every class I would present myself to the instructor covered head to toe in buttercream clutching a complete mess. The instructor was very kind and would always praise my effort. Think toddler and fingerpainting. It was when, in obvious desparation, she complimented me on my 'lovely touch with sprinkles' that I knew I was a lost cause.
2) I made it during the weekend from hell. It was the only opportunity I had. But really it got to the point where I could not have cared if this cake lived or died.
I have already related the events of Friday night, when my car died a horrible death. The rest of the weekend went something like this.
Saturday - I hike over to the mechanics to sort everything out with the car. I hike back in a foul mood, thoroughly depressed about the state of my finances. It's a stiflingly hot day, about 35C. I'm in a kitchen with a hot oven just wanting it to be over. As soon as the cakes are out of the oven, I throw in the towel. The rest will have to wait.
Sunday - I discover I'm out of butter. I hike over to the shops. I hike back in the blistering heat and decide to take a shortcut through a vacant block to the side fence. I fail to see a pointy rock in the long grass and fall over twisting my ankle.
I limp into the kitchen. The last thing I feel like doing is standing over steaming pot making butter cream. But it's now or never. So I swathe myself in an apron and tea towels, sit myself up on the kitchen bench by the stove and start beating.
I slap all the filling onto the layers. I swipe the buttercream over the outside. I couldn't find the proper little cake decorating spatula thingy so I used the little ice scraper thingy for defrosting the freezer. It works. I realise I didn't add vanilla or any flavouring to the buttercream. I don't care. I sit and throw handfuls of coconut at the cake - literally. What sticks, sticks.
I decide I should make some effort at decorating it. I hapharzadly squirt some lemon curd around. Bad decision. It looks terrible. Again, I don't care.
I randomly snap some photos and decide it's done. With huge relief, I hobble to the coolest spot in the house with a bunch of ice packs and icy cold drinks.
And how did the cake taste after all that. Well, not bad. I had made up some lemon curd a few days beforehand which gave a lovely tang.
I also sprinkled some whole raspberries into the layers which gave a lovely contrast. The buttercream was bland and really needed some flavour - my fault (see above).
As for the cake itself. Well, I'm not totally sold. But then, it is probably all down to my rather careless effort. It seemed light and fluffy, but was actually a little bit gluggy and gluey when you cut it and chewed on it. It was also a bit too sweet for my taste.
And it was very, very sticky. But the time I came to ice it the whole outside layer would peel off at the touch. From my understanding, this is because the sugar has not been beaten into the batter properly. But given that I had beaten it forever I'm not sure what else I should have done.
You may have noticed that there are only three layers. That's because one cake had stuck in the tin and broken around the edges when I dumped them out of their tins. So I trimmed both cakes down. Then I realised that the cake would now be too narrow to support the height of four layers. So I only used three. Oh well.
So there you have it. I hope to try making this cake again, in better circumstances. There are hundreds of far more beautiful creations scattered over the blogosphere from my fellow Daring Bakers. I encourage you to check them out.
Thanks to Morven, this month's host, for a great challenge. I only wish I had done it justice. You can find the recipe on her blog - Food Art and Random Thoughts. If it is not there yet it soon will be.