Sunday, 30 March 2008

Daring Bakers March Challenge – Perfect Cake for a Party

This months challenge was selected by Morven of Food Art And Random Thoughts. She selected a lemon scented white cake, which I think is what we call Angel Cake here in the UK. It is a cake made using lots of egg whites, resulting in a light yet closely textured cake with a very pale crumb colour. It was to be frosted with an Italian buttecream, also made with egg whites, so you will have plenty of egg yolks left over after making this cake – great for making custard.

We were allowed to be quite free with our adaptations and decorations of the cake, so I am looking forward to seeing a whole host of different party cakes created by fellow bakers.

I decided to stay true to the recipe and bake a lemon flavoured cake, as I love lemony things and it seemed a fitting flavour for Easter and the start of spring which is when I baked and ate the cake. The recipe calls for the cake to be baked in two 9inch circular tins but I didn’t have tins this size so I baked mine in square tins thinking “that’ll do”, but this resulted in rather a thin cake as the square tins have a bigger surface area than circles. My cakes were a little too thin to cut in half safely, so instead I cut them in half down the centre, stacked them one on top of the other and made a very tall rectangle cake instead. It was obviously meant to be, as they baked with an indented line right down the middle! This was because I had folded the baking paper in half before placing it in the tin and the cake batter was so light and airy that it wasn’t heavy enough to flatten out the crease! So it all worked out for the best.

I sandwiched the cake layers together with lemon buttercream and lemon curd and also drizzled it with lemon icing, made from lemon juice and icing sugar for an extra lemony hit and the whole thing was topped off with toasted coconut. I loved the texture of the cake, it was soft and moist with quite a close texture that went really well with the extremely fluffy pearly white buttercream. Its definitely one I will be making again, although maybe next time I will try to find the right sized tins.
Don’t forget to check out the Morven’s blog for the official recipe as well as the Daring Bakers Blogroll.

Perfect Party Cake
By Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours.
For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour – 300g
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk – 275ml
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar – 300g
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick unsalted butter – 100g
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
For the Buttercream
1 cup sugar – 200g
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter – 300g
¼ cup fresh lemon juice – 2 lemons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves (I used lemon curd)
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 180C. 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.

33 comments:

Pixie said...

Well done Katie, and great thinking with cutting and layering the cake! May I ask, what you substituted the cake flour with?

Gigi said...

Katie the toasted coconut was an excellent touch! I bet your caked received tons of "oohs and aahs" at Easter! It turned out just gorgeous!

zorra said...

Good idea to bake it this way, I should have done it too.

Baking Soda said...

Love the shape and tallness of your cake, so elegant!

Katie said...

Hi Pixie,
I used plain flour in place of the cake flour, not self raising flour as the recipe includes its own raising agent.

Dharm said...

Great Job Katie! The cake looks just wonderful!

Meeta said...

Katie, this looks lovely. WOW! Baking it this way is fantastic!

L Vanel said...

A beautiful result. Excellent.

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Love your cake...first square one I've seen off the DBs I think! Also love the telling indent...fancy finding direction. Woohoo. Pretty cake!!

~Amber~ said...

Beautiful cake! I love that it's square, great idea. To the next challenge we go.

Megan said...

I love the shape of your cake! Smart thinking.

Deborah said...

I love the toasted coconut - beautiful job!

pixie said...

it's nice to see a rectangular cake!And Yours does look so white!

Claire said...

Great job! I love your innovation in using a rectangular cake and then cutting it to make layers. Just brilliant! :-)

Chris said...

Love what you did! Well done!

Jigginjessica said...

Your cake looks lovely! I can't wait to try this cake with lemon curd instead of preserves!

Lesley said...

Oh I love that you made it rectangular and not round, and that you toasted the coconut. Very pretty result!

Half Baked said...

Your cake looks awesome! Nice job. I love the toasted coconut!

Amy J. said...

Creative take on the cake! Lovely!

coco said...

I'm sure those you had your cake must've thought you bought it from a bakery. It looks beautiful!

Andrea said...

I think your rectangular cake looks quite spectacular! Nicely done!

Candace said...

It looks so moist and yummy!

sunita said...

That's a gorgeous cake :-)

Jennifer said...

I couldn't agree more, this is truly a Perfect Party Cake! :)

SaraLynn said...

Oh! I love yours! So pretty!

Cheryl said...

I love the square cake. Very innovative to think of that. I often run into the problem of not having the right sized pans. It came out great.

myriam said...

i will have to bake a square one the next time, too. looks very classy!

Miss Ifi said...

Your cake just looks sooo much fun!! It was totally meant to be a square cake!! It looks beautiful too.
Congratulations on your awesome cake!

Elle said...

Very smart to make the rectangle...love the extra zap of lemon and that you toasted the coconut...really pretty cake Katie!

Poonam said...

Toasted coconut looks great on it!

Lunch Buckets said...

Nice job! I really like that shape.

Big Boys Oven said...

this is so perfectly done! a true party cake like me! lol!

KayKat said...

Mmm ... lemon curd ... *so* good! Your layers look perfect :)

I'll bet that toasted coconut went really well with the lemon flavours!