Perfect Party Cake

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yesterday was my birthday and although I love the ice cream cake Justin and the boys get me each year this year I wanted to try something a little different. I wanted to bake my own cake and I knew exactly what cake!! Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake, from her outstanding cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours. This cake is legendary amongst baking bloggers and I’ve been dying to try it for awhile now! I am so glad I made it. I had a blast, especially getting to use all the new kitchen gadgets Justin got me for my Birthday! The cake is delicious although too tart to eat very much. I will definitely, let me repeat… I will DEFINETLY make this cake again, but I am going to play around with the flavors. The swiss buttercream frosting has the same texture as our favorite Swiss Confiserie, Andre’s in Kansas City. So I can't wait to make it again and I will try substituting chocolate for the lemon!

Ingredients For Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
For Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Assembly
1 cup raspberry preserves, stirred until spreadable
1 1/2 cups shredded white chocolate flakes

Prepare the cake layers: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and place a rack in the center. Butter two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Wisk together buttermilk and eggs and set aside.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Use an electric mixer to mix in the sugar and the lemon zest until well-combined and fragrant. Beat in the butter and extract. While mixing gradually pour in the buttermilk mixture and mix for a good 2 minutes. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center emerges clean.
Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them onto the rack, and peel off the parchment. Cool completely.

Prepare the buttercream: Place the sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer or another large heatproof bowl. Fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat.
Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed until it has cooled, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all of the butter has been added, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 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 and then add the vanilla. The buttercream will be smooth and velvety. You will know it’s done when it stiffens up. You will notice the mixer beaters going through the icing and the icing will stay in the stiff peaks and not fall. Just keep mixing it, it will eventually stiffen up!
Assemble the cake: Using a sharp serrated knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer, cut side up, on a cardboard cake round or cake plate. Spread it with 1/3 of the raspberry preserves. Cover the jam evenly with 1/4 of the buttercream. Top with another layer, spread with the preserves and the buttercream, and do the same with a third layer. Place the last layer, cut side down, on top of the cake. Use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and the top. Press the white chocolate flakes into the frosting, patting it gently on the sides and the top. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 days or in freezer for up to 2 months.


The Food Librarian said...

Happy Happy Birthday! What a lovely cake for your birthday!

lvmysn said...

Nice looking cake! Glad to hear you had fun making it as well.

Jen H said...

Happy Belated Birthday! This is a pretty fabulous looking cake!