This months Daring Bakers challenge was Dorie’s perfect party cake. I had mixed feelings about this challenge. On the one hand, I had never baked a cake before and I was really looking forward to trying. On the other hand, the last time that I tried making a butter cream it did not work out…
The cake recipe seemed pretty straight forward and easy but for some reason the cake did not rise at all. Luckily I had enough ingredients to try making the cake again. I figured that I would either be able to use the second cake if it came out right or in the worst case I would be able to use both the first cake and the second cake to get the required 4 layers if it did not rise. The second time I paid even closer attention to the directions, but it did not rise either… I am not sure what went wrong but in the end I had enough cake to continue.
I was not looking forward to making the butter cream as I had not been able to get it right the last time. Before starting I made sure that everything was ready and at hand and fully at room temperature. I pulled out my bowl and trusty pair of forks and got to beating. For the final step of beating the eggs and butter the recipe called for 6-10 minutes of beating time using a machine. I figured that doing it by hand would take longer but at the 10 minute mark the eggs and butter were still liquid and did not seem to be getting any thicker. I decided that if by 20 minutes of beating nothing had changed I would throw in the towel. Then at the 15 minute mark all of a sudden the eggs and butter went from a liquid to perfectly thick and smooth cream. The butter cream was really amazing! It tasted great and it had a really nice texture. I had a hard time keeping my finger out of the bowl while I assembled the cake.
I decided to decorate my cake with fresh strawberries as there were some really nice looking ones at the store. By going with a strawberry theme I also got the chance to use some of the strawberry jam that I made last year. Assembling and frosting the cake was pretty easy and kind of fun.
In the end the cake turned out pretty good! It looked nice and tasted great. The cake park of the cake was a little denser than I would have liked but it tasted good and that is what matters most. I am still not sure why the cake did not rise properly but things worked out so it was not a big problem. I was really pleased with the buttercream. I came into this recipe not really even liking the concept of a buttercream and I came out really enjoying it. I look forward to using buttercream again in the future.
Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
- 1 jar strawberry jam
- buttercream (see below)
- * fresh strawberries
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- Mix the milk and eggs in a large bowl.
- Mix the lemon zest and sugar together in a large bowl. Rub them together with your fingers.
- Beat the butter into the sugar until they are light.
- Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture until incorporated.
- Beat in 1/2 of the milk mixture until incorporated.
- Beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture until incorporated.
- Beat in the the remaining milk mixture until incorporated.
- Beat in the remaining flour mixture until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into 2 greased and lined 9×2 inch round baking pans.
- Bake in the middle of a preheated 350F/180C oven until a tooth pick comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes.
- Let the cakes cool.
- Cut the cakes in half.
- Spread a layer of jam onto the top of one slice of cake.
- Spread a layer of the butter cream onto the bottom of another layer of cake and place it on top the the first layer.
- Continue in this fashion until all layers of cake have a layer of jam and butter cream between them but do not place jam on the top layer.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream and decorate with strawberries.
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Whisk the sugar into the egg whites in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until the mixture is hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. (The sugar should be dissolved and the mixture should look like shiny marshmallow cream.)
- Remove the bowl from the heat and beat until the cream is cool, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in the butter one stick at a time.
- Beat the mixture until it thickens and becomes smooth, about 10-20 minutes.
- Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla extract a bit at a time until they are incorporated.
Chocolate Stout Cake with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting
Guinness Chocolate Pudding
Azuki (Red Bean) Ice Cream
Black Sesame Ice Cream
What a great cake! Baking cakes is not difficult at all, right? And I see you also picked strawberries, I thought that was the best way to go.
Congratulations for a great challenge.
Good job, kiddo 😉
Geez-Louise! you actually beat everything by hand? That’s perseverance! that might have been why your cake layers were denser. the batter might not have been aerated enough. it’s tougher to achieve the right texture doing it by hand. well, the cake looks fantastic and I’m sure it tastes great too! you must have arms of steel!
Kevin, I wouldn’t worry about it. I don’t think this cake is meant to rise by a whole lot. But creaming butter and sugar by hand will take a long time! I think you are definitely over your cake-initiation, as your creation looks lovely 🙂
I can’t believe you beat it by hand!! I’m impressed!
noble pig says
Oh save me, that looks amazing!
Kevin, this looks so spectacular. I love the clean look without the coconut!
This is a stunning cake Kevin and I what a great idea to use strawberries – mmmm….
Beautiful! I think I want that for my birthday! My husband’s going to have to make it for me. 😉
Your hard work paid off, Kevin–that’s is one gorgeous cake.
Wow. Looks luscious! Definitely a success, no matter how you slice it.
Love the blog entry. How did you do the table of pics for the cake assembly? I also use blogspot and would appreciate the tip.
Bellini Valli says
Great job Kevin…the strawberries are a nice touch and would go really well with the lemon flavourings:D
Nice Job Kevin! With all of the wonderful things you make, it’s hard to believe that you’ve never baked a cake!! It’s funny though, I loved the cake part and disliked the buttercream!
Beautiful cake Kevin! It is hard to believe you never baked one before! Great job!
L Vanel says
That is a really nice looking cake!
Que maravilla tu torta!!!, me encantó tu paso a paso y el resultado final, super apetitosa!!!
This doesn’t happen to me too often – I’m totally speechless.
Peter M says
Good show…I would buy this cake.
Gretchen Noelle says
Great job and the cake looks wonderful!
Holy Moly. I keep seeing these strawberry cakes everywhere!!!! I’m starting to daydream about them. This looks delicious! Excellent work!
– The Peanut Butter Boy
Looks to me like your cake turned out perfectly. Your presentation is gorgeous as always.
I’ve made a few cakes over the years and I always combine everything by hand. I suppose I am a bit of a purist, though I could save myself a sore arm by pulling out an electric mixer 🙂
Kevin, I LOVE your cake! Marvelous job. That’s the way I wanted my cake to look (it certainly didn’t turn out as pretty as yours).
javagirlkt's cookin' says
wow, beautiful job!!! 🙂
Looks great Kevin! I like how you set up the pictures. Great job.
Great job on your cake! Love the photos!
Kevin, Im without words, belle, belle,nice, wonderful!!oh boy you are a Master!!! really!!! xxxxxxGloria
A. Grace says
good googa-mooga. i’ve got to give you kudos for this cake, it’s stunning!
Great job! You can bake a cake all on your own. And decorate it at that!
Beth G. says
What STUNNING photos- your cake looks fantastic!
Proud Italian Cook says
Great job, I love the step by step photo”s. Good for you, you are now officially a “cake maker”. We were on the same wave length with the fresh strawberries!
Kevin, my dear. You need to get yourself an electric mixer. Please put it on your Xmas list. You are going to injure your rotator cuffs!
Aside from that, your cake looks beautiful! A lovely fresh Springtime cake. Great job!
Kate / Kajal says
This series of the daring bakers is really nice. Love looking at these gorgeous layered cakes. Your is also so good.
robin (caviar and codfish) says
Love your pictures! Such a great way to explain the cake.
Great job on the challenge!
Your cake looks wonderful! And beating the buttercream by hand? Wow!
that is gorgeous, kevin. you are an amazing cook-you can make anything.
i agree about the buttercream. it was hard work to stop myself spooning globs of it into my mouth.
Looks like spring yumminess! I like your sequential photos. Nice layout.
I read a couple of emails regarding the “rise’ of this cake. I dont think you were the only one. check out Creams puffs in Venice. She has a very nice explanation.
Well, you certainly are a perfectionist! Your cake is gorgeous, and I’m wishing I were a Daring Baker so I could taste such a cake!
Great result! I like the photos of the process too!
Kevin, you are a great example of what passion and dedication is all about. You are a total pro.
Your cake looks beautiful – even more so for your first attempt! I see we used the same ingredients to fill the cake, wasn’t it lovely?
You did an amazing job for never having baked a cake before!!! I can’t believe that…congratulations!
Your cake turned out picture perfect!!!
AMAZING job! Stunning cake!
Your cake looks quite lovely. You said it never rose much though. Was your baking powder fresh? and was it double action? Also, did you use buttermilk or whole milk? I usually find that you get a softer, more tender crumb using buttermilk.
Great job and congrats on baking your first cake! The strawberries give it a lovely and cheerful touch.
looks like it worked this time for sure!
Nice collage about the assembly 😀
Rosa's Yummy Yums says
Your cake looks wonderful! Very well done!
That looks perfect!
oh kevin, the kitchen is definitely your territory!! i love your cake!!lovely lovely!! great job for this month’s challenge
hey amazing job kevin…the cake looks wonderful!
Cooking and the City says
Kevin your cake looks great, I love the strawberries on top 🙂
Wow that cake looks simply delicious. Great job on the decorating and photo!
Beautiful and fresh¡¡¡ Lovely¡¡¡¡
Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says
I love your step-by-step photo’s. Cake looks lovely.
That cake looks really good. Can I have a piece? haha. I noticed the fresh strawberries, I have been having trouble finding good ones this time of year 🙁
I wish I could have a piece, too:) Your cake looks awesome! and the step by step pics are cool. Good job!
wow, your cakes looks awesome! great job with the frosting – like i said i totally botched it. i can’t believe you beat it by hand. my arms ache just thinking about it… you should invest in a hand mixer at least.. they’re not that expensive and make baking much simpler. great job!
You are a Daring Baker! Beating it by hand gets you the prize! Job very well done!!!
woah, look at this buttercream. perfect cake i’d say…!
Kevin, the cake looks wonderful…your perseverance has really paid off 🙂
Great job! I am absolutely amazed that you beat the buttercream by hand. Way to go! Your cake looks beautiful, and I love the pictures of the entire process. Great photos!
Jessy and her dog Winnie says
Love the assembly collage!
Gorgeous job! I love the use of fresh strawberries! Well done Kevin!
My cakes did not rise much either. Your cake still looks lovely. Great job!
Your cake looks great!
How do people find out at Daring bakers???? I would have totally shot my hand in this one if I knew! Ack! Anyway, for a first time baker, gosh your cake looks better than mine the first time around, even after I took classes! BRAVO!
Wow, this is pretty exceptional!! So many people had trouble with the cake not rising… luckily that didn’t come up with me but your finished result is stunning. Love the strawberries, too!
I don’t think anyone would believe you hadn’t made a cake before. Great job on this challenge.
Jen Yu says
Kevin, you cannot possibly tell me you haven’t baked a cake before! Wow and wow. I’m so impressed. Your cake turned out perfectly – you’re such a wringer! 🙂 Good on ya, sweetie.
Nicely done, Kevin! I’ll take some cake, some apple butter, some coffee cake and some chops, please. And not necessarily in that order …
That’s a great looking cake! I’m amazed you beat the buttercream by hand…it must have taken some serious elbow grease!
Big Boys Oven says
a perfect celebration cake! what more do we want? Just this ONE!
Love love love it! Great caption of the step-by-step process too!
great looking cake, kevin! i love strawberries 🙂
Your cake didn't rise if you used buttermilk, because buttermilk is more acid than sweet milk and you will need to add about 1/2 tsp. baking soda or you will not get a good rise. Also, if you overbeat the cake, it will not rise very well. Annette
Buttermilk is more acid than sweet milk and you will need to add about 1/2 tsp. baking soda or you will not get a good rise. If you use sweet milk or buttermilk you do need to be sure you don't overbeat after you add the dry ingredients, or the rising chemical action will be all over by the time you get it in the oven. namahana
namahana: Thanks so much for the tips!
[email protected] says
This is definitely a mouth-watering cake!! Baking is really fun and having those recipes of your would definitely be great in doing that! Hope to make it soon. 🙂