Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: (Not So) Perfect Party Cake

Hmmmm. I have a real problem with recipes that include the word 'perfect' in the name. To me that is just setting it up to be a spectacular failure! Carol of mix, mix… stir, stir chose Dorie's Perfect Party Cake this week and I made it for a special occasion, N's grandparents coming up from Melbourne to meet their very first great grandchild!

I made the cakes the day before and was a little disappointed at how little they rose. I followed all Dorie's advice including using new baking powder but I do have a dodgy oven so I'm sure that was my fault. I wrapped them well and left them overnight.

The next morning was a flurry of activity as I tried to get the frosting made, cake decorated and us all ready to leave mid-morning. I've never actually made a meringue buttercream before so was really pleased that it all came together so easily, no curdling here! I had heard a few people say this buttercream recipe was a little too heavy on the butter but I decided to make it as-is because I was a newbie. Well, let me say it was WAY too heavy on the butter for my liking and I actually felt a bit sick after eating it and needed something to take the taste away.

My cake slicing and decorating skills suck too (you can see from the bottom photo just how uneven my layers were!). I put the jam on the layers first so had major problems trying to smooth the buttercream over the top. In the end I wet my hands and smoothed it over the top using my fingers, kind of like working with clay. I did the same thing around the edges, pushing the buttercream into all the gaps like wall putty. I wasn't going to use coconut on the edges as it's not my favourite thing but it worked wonders in covering up my less than perfectly smooth cake!

The taste test ...

First bite for me was great! Then it went downhill. It was just so rich. Everyone else loved it though and the combination of lemon and raspberry flavours is always fantastic. I was originally going to fill the layers with whipped lemon curd cream and in hindsight that would have been better option. So the verdict? I'm really on the fence here. While I didn't love it, it was very well received and I know people had seconds. So maybe it was just me. N only had one piece also though and considering his sweet tooth that is pretty telling.

I hope everyone else's cake was more 'perfect' than mine! Make sure you visit Carol's blog to see her version and to get the recipe.


  1. I think your cake looks pretty terrific! I've never made it with the buttercream but I can definitely see how it would be quite rich. I made the entire cake last year and used a whipped cream frosting and this week I'm making cupcakes with another whipped cream frosting.

  2. I can't believe how much yours rose! My layers were as flat as a pancake! I think it was ingenious to use your hands to smooth the frosting, and I also appreciated the coconut concealing my icing missteps.

  3. Well it looks gorgeous! I would probably go with something other than that buttercream if I made it again - yikes!

  4. It looks very pretty. I haven't tried mine yet, but I hope I like it after all of the work that went into it. Nice job, though! I'm glad it was well received.

  5. You did a great job Susan. It's not just you - I am not a huge fan of this cake either, but everyone else seemed to like it.

  6. I wasn't in love with the buttercream frosting either -- your description of molding it like putty is right on. Still, your cake looks gorgeous!

  7. It looks beautiful. I could see how a big piece could be a bit much. The lemon curd between layers sounds like it would be wonderful.

  8. Your cake looks lovely and yes adding coconut, cake crumbs, or chopped nuts is a clever way to dress up a cake and hide imperfections all at once! Sorry this one didn't wow you, but it sounds like you wowed your guests. Thanks for baking with me this week.

  9. I'm so sorry you didn't like this.

    I looooved it!

    It was absolutely perfect for a party.

    I'll be making this again and again and again.

  10. Well it looks perfect to me! I loved mine, I used sweet orange marmalade and lemon curd. YUM


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