Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dorie's Perfect Party Cake



My track record with party cakes has never been the greatest, but hey, I'm always ready to give another one a try. This month for the daring bakers we were challenged to a cake. Easter dinner with family was the perfect occasion. The recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours.

What I loved about this cake is that following Dorie's basic recipe, using her suggestions with the lemon in the cake, the fruit preserves, and the butter cream, there's a lovely flavor balance. It felt like there was a gauzy light fairy bridge of flavor suspended between each element, tied all together with a nice little bow. I particularly loved the effect of applying coconut to the outside, which gave it a festive and feminine look, a touch of grace after my not so great job of spreading the buttercream.

I have to admit I was feeling rather sorry for myself until the coconut came in. I had trouble getting the cake to rise so I did bake this cake several times and ended up using three flat layers instead of two layers cut in half. The butter cream was quite easy coming together and tasted great. I have never put fruit preserves in cake before, and it was something I will do again. When you are in a rush to finish this cake with guests coming, having a vacuum cleaner within arm's reach at the application of coconut stage is very helpful.

The book itself is a work of art, and having made the trip to the book shop in London when I was there was something I am really thankful I did. It is a gorgeous enormous cookbook containing only baked desserts. 500+ of my fellow daring bakers all did excellent jobs with their cakes - and I salute you!

Thank you, fellow daring bakers, for your kind support in helping me stretch my wings and step outside of my comfort zone. And thank you Dorie, for creating such a beautiful book. I add it lovingly to my small collection of English language baking books.

Labels: ,

75 Comments:

Anonymous Foodie Froggy said...

A truly beautiful cake !

1:19 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger *fanny* said...

Lucy, your cake looks lovely. I just adore the petits oeufs you sprinkled on its top.
xxx

2:34 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Maryann said...

Very nice, Lucy :)

2:45 PM, March 30, 2008  
Anonymous Ann said...

Love your cake with the little easter eggs on top!

3:21 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger zorra said...

Looks great and I love the easter egg decoration. Great idea!

3:35 PM, March 30, 2008  
Anonymous Melinda said...

Yes, I had planned to do this cake for Easter too but kept putting it off. Not even a good excuse except laziness. Your cake looks yummy!
Did you have any problems not being able to find cake flour? I had a box stashed away. There is a terrific method for making your own cake flour and really gives the results that cake flour cakes give. If you are interested I am happy to tell you how it is done. I bake with a lot of American cake recipes and have done my nut trying to find cake flour to no avail. This method has been a fantastic find to me.

4:08 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger slush said...

Its beautiful! Fab job!

4:19 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Ben said...

That is a beautiful cake, Lucy. If I can give you a piece of advice in spreading the icing, just submerge the knife, or whatever you are using to spread, in water before spreading and the icing will stick to the cake and not the knife. That is something my mom taught me a couple of years ago and it works great.

Congratulations on your challenge!

4:33 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger glamah16 said...

I think you did a great job. I love this cake as you can build it up and adapt it so monay ways. Keep trying with the buttercream spreading. With practice it all comes together the way we want it to.

4:35 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Passionate baker...& beyond said...

What a pretty cake Lucy...the flavours are so fresh & so Spring. I love the read through too...vacuum cleaner & all. The Easter eggs sprinkled randomly on top give it a magical look...very nice!

5:12 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Carrie said...

just lovely! The eggs are so cute and your commentary is great! I had to buy the book too! I think your cake it beautiful!!

5:28 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Kitt said...

The last several blogs in my lineup have featured this cake and they all look fabulous! It seems most are experiencing the same difficulties with insufficient rising, but everyone has just rolled with it. I love to see how everyone has frosted and decorated theirs. What a treat.

5:37 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Deborah said...

Your cake looks gorgeous!! Wonderful job!

5:37 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Suzana said...

Lucy, your cake looks lovely, in spite of the not rising issues. Great job on the challenge!

5:58 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Katy said...

looks so perfect for easter! just gorgeous.

6:01 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Jerry said...

The cake is beautiful! Lovely decorated!

6:14 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Meryl said...

I love the Easter egg shaped candy on top--very Spring-y!

6:21 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger CB said...

I love the picture with the slices taken out. The easter eggs for decor is simple but so whimsical. Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

6:27 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Kelly-Jane said...

You did a great job, so pretty, and love your cake stand too!

6:44 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Mindy said...

Your cake is beautiful...

And I definitely relate to cutting down the layers...

what was it with layers anyway?

6:45 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Annemarie said...

You would never tell from the picture that you struggled - the cake looks just as it ought. I liked the coconut too; something very 1950's domestic goddess about it that made me want to tie on a frilly apron to serve the cake. :)

6:46 PM, March 30, 2008  
Anonymous Dianne said...

So many people had the problem with the cake not rising. I still can't figure out why mine over rose! Oh well. Your cake looks fabulous! If I make this again I would probably make 3 layers instead of having to split the two tender cakes into halves.

6:49 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Marie said...

Your cake is beautiful! I think it's a work of art, as is your blog! My layers did not rise very much either, which was amazing considering the amount of baking powder in the recipe. I thought they would be really tall!! Nevertheless, it was a really delicious cake!

6:53 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh, yes! So glad you liked the cake. I too think it is a lovely balance of flavors.
Yes, I really loved my visit to Books for Cooks and it's a lovely book!

6:57 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Bellini Valli said...

You definitely stretched your wings and rose to the challenge...a beautiful cake:D

7:17 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Baking Soda said...

The coconut makes it so feminine and elegant! Quite a lot of us had problems with rising. Makes me want to find out why....

7:25 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger aisha said...

Great going! I love the vacuum cleaner tip!

7:40 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Bake your cake and eat it too said...

That is a beautiful cake! The decor makes it so inviting!

7:45 PM, March 30, 2008  
Anonymous linda said...

Your cake looks beautiful. I love the colours of the little eggs scattered on you cake. Love the cake stand too...

7:58 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Proud Italian Cook said...

Lucy, I love your picture and reading your description of your cake! I have to agree with having a vacumm near by, I had toasted almonds all over the place!!

8:24 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger cadavreexquis said...

What a beautiful cake (and cake stand)! Well done. The coconut is a messy one indeed.

8:44 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger kellypea said...

The small piece of coconut are lovely. I had some, but used a different type. Ahh...so many choices, right? I love the cake, and the layers are perfect -- not flat as you say. Very lovely...

9:07 PM, March 30, 2008  
Anonymous Christine said...

The cake is beautiful. I just picked up Dorie's book today and can't wait to dive into it!

9:42 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger April said...

Beautiful cake!

9:55 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Gabi said...

Love the "fairy bridge of flavour" Lucy- your cake is beautiful!
Perfect job!
xoxo
Gabi

10:01 PM, March 30, 2008  
Anonymous Karen said...

I agree, this cake is lovely in flavors that really compliment each other well. Your's looks wonderful! Nice job!

11:15 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Brilynn said...

You will love everything in this book, it's really fabulous!

1:44 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger ioyces said...

ur cake looks awesome!!!! The little eggs are so adorable!!!

2:07 AM, March 31, 2008  
OpenID culinography said...

Your cake came out beautifully! I love the little eggs!!

2:27 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Anne said...

lovely! you captured it beautifully :) the colorful cute little eggs added a nice touch :)

3:21 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Faery said...

Beautiful cake it looks yummy and I love the easter eggs

3:25 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Julius said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Your blog is beautiful, and your cake perfect! :)

Julius from Occasional Baker

3:46 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger dailydelicious said...

I really love your decoration, a little egg is so lovely.

4:48 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Rachel said...

Gorgeous colours!Very nicely done.

4:57 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Tace said...

YUMMMMMMMMMY!!! Oh that looks like such a treat, ya know I'm not sure I have ever made a layer cake in my life...how odd now that I think about it. Your pretty cake has me tempted though. I actually bought Dorie's cookbook as a present for a relative at Christmas...it was verrry hard to part with it. haha Perhaps I'll get my own copy.

5:22 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Peabody said...

Your cake turned out lovely.

6:09 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Gigi said...

You did a great job on your cake! I just love all the Easter decorations on it. Beautiful.

6:10 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Cakelaw said...

Lucy, your cake is gorgeous! The layers didn't rise much at all for anyone, which made them very tricky to slice into layers. I agree that it was a delicate tasting cake.

7:54 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your cake looks great! I really like the Easter egg decoration! Very well done!

Cheers,

Rosa

8:29 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Dhanggit said...

oh my oh my..this is one lovely lovely entry for this month's challenge !!!im impressed!!!

9:15 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger coco said...

Love your beautiful tiny eggs.. they look so so adorable!

11:50 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger KJ said...

What a great job. Just gorgeous.

12:29 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

WOW great job on the cake and I think it looks super yummy! I love the decorations on top!

2:51 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Sheltie Girl said...

Lucy -- You did a lovely job on your cake. I love the candies on top. They are a very whimsical touch to your beautiful cake.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

3:21 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Molly Loves Paris said...

That's a wonderful Easter cake. I wish I'd thought of putting Easter egg candies on the cake. I had them. And my cake was so plain. As usual, I love your photographs.

4:27 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Andrea said...

What a beautiful cake! I would have never guessed about the troubles with the cakes rising (I had the same problems). The coconut flakes look so delicate and fine. Just lovely.

4:32 PM, March 31, 2008  
Anonymous KN said...

Wow! That looks great!!

4:43 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Kevin said...

Your cake looks great! I had trouble getting the cake to rise as well.

4:51 PM, March 31, 2008  
Anonymous chaumama said...

I think there is a mistake in the directions for this cake. If you beat the egg whites stiff and fold them into the batter, having added the milk to the butter/sugar/flour mixture, the cake should rise beautifully.

7:14 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Tartelette said...

Beautiful job on the challenge! Your layers are the perfect height!

11:13 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Yenping said...

What a pretty cake you made, and a very warm homely picture you took of it too.

1:32 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Fran Z said...

Lovely cake! I agree, the book is wonderful, so many beautiful recipes.

1:35 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Elle said...

Such a pretty cake, especially with those sweet little pastel eggs on top. The coconut did cover some mistakes with the buttercream...an my dog decided that the flakes that fell to the floor as I did the sides were his treat for the day :)Dorie does it again...and you did a lovely job!

6:22 AM, April 01, 2008  
OpenID bombshellwithin said...

Your cake looks so elegant. Truly wonderful job.

2:30 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Jenny said...

Your cake looks so tall and lovely! What are you using to decorate the top, btw?

3:38 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Tiney said...

Hey! Your blog is great! I really enjoy all of your pictures. I recently started my own blog: http://iheardyoubakecakes.blogspot.com Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

4:25 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Snug said...

I love your blog....and your cake looks wonderful as well :).

5:20 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Katie said...

Your cake looks delicious. I like how you decorated it. Looks perfect for Easter.

9:05 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Half Baked said...

Your cake looks like the perfect Easter cake! Love the little eggs on top. So pretty:)

11:46 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger KayKat said...

Wow! That totally rocks. I love the topping.

Seems like a lot of folks were plagued with the rising issue. Oh well, seems like you totally got past that and worked wonders!

4:59 PM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger Laura Rebecca said...

What a pretty cake!

11:37 PM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger creampuff said...

Lucy,

It's a thing of beauty! Considering the difficulty so many of us had with it I think we deserve a huge round of applause for turning out such gorgeous cakes. Well done!

3:14 AM, April 04, 2008  
Anonymous Dana McCauley said...

You may have been out of your comfort zone but it would never be obvious without you saying so.

: )

3:44 AM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Jaime said...

great job w/the cake! esp stepping out of your comfort zone :) when i baked my cakes, i thought i couldn't possibly cut them in half to make 4 layers but i gave it a go and the cake layers did not end up too thin, i think. i'm pretty new to layer cakes myself as well, so i understand how you felt approaching this challenge :)

10:38 AM, April 07, 2008  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Thanks so much for all of your nice comments! I look forward to the next challenge! L

9:43 AM, April 10, 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home