Tuesday, June 30, 2009
TWD: Perfect Party Cake
This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie treat was Perfect Party Cake!!! Yes, it deserves at least three exclamation points. Dorie recommends sticking a bright Post-it on this page so you know where to turn “for a just-right cake for any celebration.” There has been a sticky on this page – it’s my very favorite photo in the book – ever since I bought the book in August, but I still had yet to make the cake; I joined the group a couple months after I bought the book and for some reason in never occurs to me to “bake ahead.” Needless to say that after nearly eight months of Tuesdays with Dorie, I was elated that this gorgeous cake was finally chosen. Eloise was excited too, she even put on her party collar to celebrate. Actually, she finds the party collar a little humiliating, but she was mesmerized by this cake, particularly the buttercream.
While I don’t condone feeding my dog things like cake batter (and I’m fairly certain the organization we adopted her from wouldn’t either), when Mr. Penpen does it I can’t help but grab the camera. That is, if I’m not laughing too uncontrollably.
Okay, cake! Since I had such high expectations for this cake, I made sure to read the recipe carefully and follow it exactly as written. I figured that a recipe that Dorie wrote up an entire set of auxiliary instructions for was probably not one to experiment with too much if I wanted magnificent results. The one change I made was substituting vanilla extract for lemon extract. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy lemon desserts, but there was already lemon zest in the batter and I was afraid with the extract the lemon flavor may be too aggressive for what is essentially a white cake. The cake baked up beautifully, and per Dorie’s suggestion, I froze the cake after it cooled, which I had never done before, but certainly will from now on because it made it much easier to cut the layers. I had never made a meringue-style buttercream and that came together nicely, too. The only problem was that I didn’t make enough of it – or perhaps I was too generous with it between each layer. I made two-thirds of a buttercream recipe for a half recipe of cake and ran out as I was frosting the sides. I considered throwing in the towel, taking a photo, and saying that Eloise licked the frosting off (which she totally would have if left unsupervised with this cake for single minute), but Mr. Penpen helped me regroup and make the last third of the buttercream. And since he was so helpful, I didn’t cover the cake in coconut.
And the sticky-tab is staying on, because we loved this cake! I can’t wait to think of an excuse to make it again. It gets a 10 for Deliciousness and a 4 for Effort, giving it an EDR of 2.5. Many thanks to Carol of mix, mix…stir, stir for selecting this phenomenal cake. You can find the recipe on Carol’s great site and see what the other bakers thought via the Tuesdays With Dorie site.