Sunday, March 30, 2008

Daring Bakers - Perfect Party Cake



It's Daring Baker time and I have to say I am a bit disappointed with my effort for this month. I was so excited when I saw we were making Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake. I was all set to create a stunningly beautiful delectable cake. I plotted and planned my little heart out.

Two things let me down:

1) I totally forgot how much I suck at cake decorating. I actually did a course a few years back. At the end of every class I would present myself to the instructor covered head to toe in buttercream clutching a complete mess. The instructor was very kind and would always praise my effort. Think toddler and fingerpainting. It was when, in obvious desparation, she complimented me on my 'lovely touch with sprinkles' that I knew I was a lost cause.

2) I made it during the weekend from hell. It was the only opportunity I had. But really it got to the point where I could not have cared if this cake lived or died.

I have already related the events of Friday night, when my car died a horrible death. The rest of the weekend went something like this.

Saturday - I hike over to the mechanics to sort everything out with the car. I hike back in a foul mood, thoroughly depressed about the state of my finances. It's a stiflingly hot day, about 35C. I'm in a kitchen with a hot oven just wanting it to be over. As soon as the cakes are out of the oven, I throw in the towel. The rest will have to wait.

Sunday - I discover I'm out of butter. I hike over to the shops. I hike back in the blistering heat and decide to take a shortcut through a vacant block to the side fence. I fail to see a pointy rock in the long grass and fall over twisting my ankle.

I limp into the kitchen. The last thing I feel like doing is standing over steaming pot making butter cream. But it's now or never. So I swathe myself in an apron and tea towels, sit myself up on the kitchen bench by the stove and start beating.

I slap all the filling onto the layers. I swipe the buttercream over the outside. I couldn't find the proper little cake decorating spatula thingy so I used the little ice scraper thingy for defrosting the freezer. It works. I realise I didn't add vanilla or any flavouring to the buttercream. I don't care. I sit and throw handfuls of coconut at the cake - literally. What sticks, sticks.

I decide I should make some effort at decorating it. I hapharzadly squirt some lemon curd around. Bad decision. It looks terrible. Again, I don't care.

I randomly snap some photos and decide it's done. With huge relief, I hobble to the coolest spot in the house with a bunch of ice packs and icy cold drinks.



And how did the cake taste after all that. Well, not bad. I had made up some lemon curd a few days beforehand which gave a lovely tang.



I also sprinkled some whole raspberries into the layers which gave a lovely contrast. The buttercream was bland and really needed some flavour - my fault (see above).

As for the cake itself. Well, I'm not totally sold. But then, it is probably all down to my rather careless effort. It seemed light and fluffy, but was actually a little bit gluggy and gluey when you cut it and chewed on it. It was also a bit too sweet for my taste.

And it was very, very sticky. But the time I came to ice it the whole outside layer would peel off at the touch. From my understanding, this is because the sugar has not been beaten into the batter properly. But given that I had beaten it forever I'm not sure what else I should have done.

You may have noticed that there are only three layers. That's because one cake had stuck in the tin and broken around the edges when I dumped them out of their tins. So I trimmed both cakes down. Then I realised that the cake would now be too narrow to support the height of four layers. So I only used three. Oh well.



So there you have it. I hope to try making this cake again, in better circumstances. There are hundreds of far more beautiful creations scattered over the blogosphere from my fellow Daring Bakers. I encourage you to check them out.

Thanks to Morven, this month's host, for a great challenge. I only wish I had done it justice. You can find the recipe on her blog - Food Art and Random Thoughts. If it is not there yet it soon will be.

41 Comments:

At 9:29 am, Blogger Dharm said...

Aww KJ! Sorry to hear about your rotten weekend. But..that cake still looks darn good to me! Good on ya!

 
At 10:28 am, Blogger Courtney said...

that weekend does not sound like fun. your cakes looks beautiful though and i am sure you are a great decorator!

 
At 11:11 am, Blogger slush said...

I am so sorry KJ! The cake looks fabulous though. Sorry it disappointed. xo

 
At 1:25 pm, Blogger Deborah said...

Kudos for even trying!! It does look great - I wish I could make things look that great without trying!!

 
At 6:10 pm, Blogger Baking Soda said...

I was thinking I needed a cake-decorating class... having identical toddler/fingerpaint issues..oh well, we can't have it all.
It looks way better than mine!

 
At 6:40 pm, Blogger kellypea said...

It's such a drag to have a string of rotten events happen! And I'm not a hot weather person, either. But the colors of your cake are so cheerful, and they remind me of how much I loved this cake. Definitely give it another try. I'm going to, and that's unheard of from me!

 
At 7:44 pm, Blogger Kelly-Jane said...

I'm sorry too KJ, but it still looks great!

 
At 10:12 pm, Anonymous Foodie Froggy said...

Sorry for you, but congrats on your cake : And with lemon curd, it must be to die for !! Don't worry, mine too had only three layers...

 
At 10:24 pm, Blogger Anne said...

I'm still glad you did the challenge and I salute your effort in completing it...you did great!

 
At 10:56 pm, Blogger Meeta said...

kudos to you for making this and let me tell you this looks simply gorgeous!

 
At 11:39 pm, Blogger L Vanel said...

The cake does look wonderful. There's something to be said for the perfectly decorated cake, and something really special about the ones we make and serve to friends at home. Something of the artist's hand in it, you know? Great job. It looks like your cake rose quite well too.

 
At 1:14 am, Blogger glamah16 said...

Well im impressed you even attempted it with all the craziness going on! The making of it probally centered you a bit. Good therapy to relieve the stress and the taste is fab, I bet. Dont be hard on yourself! It lloks mighty good to me.

 
At 1:24 am, Blogger Kristen said...

Sorry about your horrible weekend. The cake still lokks great though!

 
At 2:43 am, Blogger Bellini Valli said...

It really was a challenge for you this month KJ. You did an escellent job and the lemon curd and raspberries are a nice touch!

 
At 4:38 am, Anonymous leafy bombshell said...

Oh! You poor thing! I'm so sorry to hear that your weekend was terrible. Why is it that when one wishes to bake for a special event such as DB, everything seems to go wrong?

 
At 4:54 am, Anonymous linda said...

Funny post, but at the time I'm sure it didn't feel like fun at all.
I really do like what you did with the curd on top, bet it tasted good as well! Hopefully next challenge will go smoother.

 
At 5:09 am, Anonymous Helen said...

Still looks really tasty! Well done for having a go. Hope next weekend is better for you! Hx

 
At 6:26 am, Blogger Tartelette said...

Sorry to hear about the car issues and the weekend from hell but your cake looks scrumptious!

 
At 6:34 am, Blogger Claire said...

What a weekend! I'm sorry for all your troubles...your cake still looks good and the berries just call to me!

 
At 7:04 am, Blogger Amy J. said...

Sorry about your troubles, but your cake is gorgeous!

 
At 7:39 am, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Cars are great when they run the way they're supposed too.
But KJ sometimes plain simple is beautiful too! Looks lovely and good tasting to me!

 
At 7:39 am, Blogger Nan said...

Wow, your weekend sounds perfectly horrible. Even with all that going on, you still persevered...now that's dedication!

 
At 7:41 am, Blogger Chris said...

What a bummer! But, your cake looks scrumptious nonetheless!

 
At 9:47 am, Blogger Jigginjessica said...

That was a tough weekend to bake a cake. But I think you did a great job!

 
At 12:08 pm, Blogger Cynthia said...

Oh honey, sorry about the weekend. I felt your pain through every sentence you wrote. Nevertheless, the cake looks delicious to me.

 
At 1:29 pm, Blogger Chez Denise et Laudalino said...

Despite your bad weekend - your cake looks fantastic!

 
At 2:58 pm, Blogger Miss Ifi said...

Awww I am sorry about your weekend!!!!.. still I applaud you for your efforts!
And trust me your cake doesn't look as bad as you might think.. just.. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE..
so ... Congratulations!

 
At 3:27 am, Blogger kitten said...

i'm impressed that you even attempted to make it after all that you had going on. your cake sure looked delicious !

 
At 5:17 am, Blogger Jenny said...

Haha - talented with sprinkles.... you make me laugh. You are one dedicated baker, and that will serve you well in these challenges for sure!

 
At 6:47 am, Blogger Cheryl said...

Oh wow, I am so sorry for the horrible day you had. You just can't cut a break lately, can you. I still think the cake looks delicious and I would have no problem eating that right up.

 
At 9:03 am, Blogger Jenny said...

Your right, week from hell. That just sucks! Your cake, however, does not, it looks great. The lemon curd is a nice touch.
Hope your ankle feels better!

 
At 12:24 pm, Blogger Shandy said...

Your weekend was horrible and your cake still turned out beautifully! The lemon curd looks delicious and the raspberries are perfect. What a Fresh and Springtime looking cake! =D

 
At 2:11 pm, Blogger Elle said...

First off, so sorry for you sucky weekend...and yet you still completed the challenge!! *Woot*
Also, this cake was supposed to be easy peasy, but the buttercream seemed a little skimpy...yours looks great, even if bland. Also, the raspberries are a great addition. Hope the foot feels better soon and that the weather gets cooler. Hooray for lemon curd, too.

 
At 4:58 pm, Blogger Lunch Buckets said...

'lovely touch with sprinkles'
I think I may have snorted a little when I read that

 
At 2:16 am, Blogger marias23 said...

I think your haphazard cake decorating is better than my decorating on my good days ;) But hey, as long as it tastes delicious, nothing else matters, no?

 
At 7:26 am, Blogger SweetDesigns said...

Your cake looks great!! I love it!!

 
At 1:40 am, Blogger KayKat said...

*wow*! I'm impressed that you went through this crazy weekend and still baked your cake. Yay!

 
At 1:40 pm, Blogger creampuff said...

Sounds like you had a tough weekend but kudos to you for making the cake. And you know what ... I think it looks ADORABLE!

 
At 7:26 am, Blogger Angel said...

Hope things take a turn for the better for you. Your cake looks great even if you didn't have fun making it. The layers are especially pretty, and i like the yellow swirls on top.

 
At 6:26 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Aww thanks everyone for your kind comments. I love the Daring Bakers.

 
At 4:14 pm, Blogger Sweet and Savory Eats said...

You have my admiration for even attempting and finishing the cake despite all those crazy events. I don't think it looks as bad as you made it out to be, either. Looks yummy and the colors are striking.

 

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