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Friday, April 16, 2010

Perfect Party Cake

This recipe is super long so I'll keep my comments short. It's a little intense, but it's totally worth making (for a special occasion.) Slightly lemony white cake, four layers, meringue buttercream and raspberry jam in between, a little coconut on the outside. Really outstanding.

I worried because the cake and buttercream weren't very sweet, but since the jam is, the final product is perfecto. I am still kind of blown away by the meringue buttercream. I'd never made anything like it; I was suspicious. But Little Miss Famous Baker Dorie Greenspan really came through and I am a believer. However, I DO NOT know how her photographer got perfect pictures in the cookbook because after slicing through four layers, it's going to be smeary. They probably used styrofoam and glue, but MY pictures are real!
Perfect Party Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or whole milk)
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons; reserve for juicing)
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (I know!) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves, stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350. Center rack. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line bottom of each with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet (mine wouldn't fit so I didn't.)

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

3. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl and rub together with fingers until sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, 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 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.

4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cakes are well risen and springy to the touch. Transfer to cooling racks and cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold 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 2 months.)

5. To make the buttercream, put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or other large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a pan 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.

6. Working with the whisk attachment, 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 the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6 to 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 an set aside briefly.

7. To assemble the cake - using a sharp serrated knife and a gently sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or cake plate protected by strips of wax paper. Spread it with one third of preserves. Cover the jam evenly with (just less than) one quarter of the buttercream. Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with the third layer (you will have used all the preserves but still have buttercream.) 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. Voila!!!
Recipe from :


Suzanne said...

This looks fabulous. Seriously, my diet is in jeopardy!

kat said...

i'm still in shock over the buttercream - 1 cup of sugar, 1.5 cups of butter. craziness!

Leslie said...

mmmm..finally a diet cake! lol lol lol

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