Sunday, March 30, 2008

Perfect Party Cake...Do I Dare?

title
A funny thing happened on the way to the Perfect Party Cake.

I waited until the last minute.

I had no time to make buttercream.

My batter was suspiciously liquid-y.

My cakes were as thin as my checkbook...and as dense as that high school prom date you want to forget.

Since the Daring Baker challenges are given at the beginning of the month, and posted at the end, I tend to take my sweet time, thinking I have all month to do it. Before I know it, posting date is tapping at my shoulder and no baked challenge in sight! Gasp! Thank goodness Morven, this month's host, gave us a lot of leeway when in came to her challenge. And what a wonderful challenge it was -- Perfect Party Cake by Dorie Greenspan! A lovely layer cake by none other than that goddess of baking who has gifted multitudes of home bakers with delicious creations, attempt after successful attempt. Now it was my turn!

But as I said, something funny happened on the way to the Perfect Party Cake.

title
Because I waited until the last minute, I didn't make the buttercream. Although substituting this with whipped cream was allowed, I still felt cheater-y. Don't take away my badge please!

I read and re-read the recipe, but I knew something was going terribly wrong as my runny batter listlessly pooled at the bottom of my cake tins. As feared, the cakes came out flat and dense (and not the good kind of dense you get from a flourless chocolate cake but the bad kind of dense you get from an old rubber tire)...not light and sponge-y as I dreamed they would. They were so thin I couldn't even split the layers (unless I wanted to end up with a crepe cake). So I ended up with a 2-layer cake instead of a 4-layer one.

And we all know that Dorie's recipes are fabulous! And pretty much all the Daring Bakers turned out beautiful cakes (see them here!). So guess who futzed out on her watch? You got it.

Sigh...so I did what I often do when life's inevitable problems appear. I covered it up in sweetened whipped cream (tinted a light pink with mashed strawberries)! Have you ever tried covering your problems/too-tight jeans/mountain of laundry/irritating politicians in pink, sweetened whipped cream? I highly recommend it!

Don't think I have given up on the dream of a layer cake though. I fully intend to make a successful one no matter how many layer cakes get harmed in the process. Because really, when it comes to baking, what I think matters most in the final tally, is not how many disasters you endured, nor how many triumphs you enjoyed, but the fact that you dared to do it at all :)

72 comments:

*fanny* said...

and it looks absolutely stunning
xxx

Manggy said...

Hi Joey! Well, it's very pretty! And I love mashed strawberries in cream :) I agree, when it comes to baking there's no growth if you don't at least attempt something.

I read the recipe on other sites and I'm a bit skeptical about the addition of eggs to the buttermilk instead of beating it into the creamed butter-- it doesn't seem foolproof. I also do not agree with the last step of beating the batter for that long-- it seems like a good way of overdeveloping the gluten, resulting in a tough cake. When I add the flour, I always switch to a spatula (childhood trauma of a tough cake, you see... Natuwa sa hand mixer). However, the other cakes seemed to have turned out without problem.

I think the main cause of your problem is the temperature. When you said the batter was liquid-y, it's likely that the butter has melted into the batter, taking all the precious air cells with it. Sobrang init kasi, unless you have centralized airconditioning, in which case I envy you, haha :) Try to keep the butter between 60-70F throughout, which means working in a cool room and not the sauna we are in.

Good luck Joey! Keep on daring! :)

L Vanel said...

Still a very pretty cake, you did a nice job.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Wonderful dare! Too bad the layers were not as light and fluffy as you might have liked, but I adore the pink tinted frost no matter what! Great job and hope it comes out to your liking on another round!

Suzana said...

What a good looking cake! Great job. I'll keep the advice of covering annoying things with pinkie cream!! :)

Maryann said...

"cheater-y"..haha :)

~Amber~ said...

Even though you ran into some problems I think your cake looks beautiful! To the next challenge we go.

Sarah said...

It looks tasty! I used a whipped cream/cream cheese frosting as well. Sorry it didn't turn out like you had hoped!

katrina said...

"My cakes were as thin as my checkbook...and as dense as that high school prom date you want to forget."

Hahaha! You really are too funny, Joey. :-)

Once again the dream of baking something light and airy has eluded you. But I admire you for always trying! I'm positive you'll get it right soon.

Kristen said...

I like the strawberrie whipped cream, yummy. My first attempt didn't rise as much as I hoped either. The cake looks delicious though!

Anne said...

Sorry about the cake... the frosting looks really good though :)

katrina said...

OMG, Joey, did you see the entry with bacon??? I have to admit, the flavor combination intrigues me! Hmm...would a bacon and peanut butter sandwich work? It doesn't sound farfetched. :-D

Meeta said...

this is no cheat-y cake my dear. this is the perfect party cake. cut me a slice!

ChichaJo said...

Thank you Fanny! :)

Hi Manggy! Wow! Your very detailed assessment is really appreciated! You must have very lucky patients :) Thanks for taking the time :) Believe me, I am taking all this down for my next attempt! Gosh but you are so right about the heat…I am seriously melting so I can just imagine how the cake batter must have felt!

Hi Ivanel! Thanks :)

Hi Gretchen Noelle! I like the pink frosting too…it made me feel a lot better ;)

Hi Suzana! There is not much pink frosting can’t improve :)

Hi Maryann! The English language cannot always properly describe some of my emotions :)

Hi Amber! Onwards and upwards! :)

Hi Sarah! I’ll check out that frosting you used…cream cheese…yum!

Hi Katrina! Or explode trying! Heehee :) Gosh, I am certain many (many!) have experience the “dense prom date”…

Hi Kristen! Thanks :) Well, there is always next time…and I have lots of frosting leftover to cheer me up :)

Thanks Anne! Thank goodness for pink cover-ups :)

Hi Katrina! Saw it briefly but will explore it in more detail shortly of course! Anything with bacon is right up my alley! If a tripe and peanut butter stew can work, then I think a bacon and peanut butter sandwich definitely has a chance ;)

Hi Meeta! Thanks! Oh I wish it really was…but I think I still need a little work…then you can have as much slices as you want :)

Baking Soda said...

Seems like your cake turned out to be twins with my cake! Hey..if we knew before, we could have done a LAT-cake, bringing ours together in a 4-layer denseness. I would have loved to bring the buttercream, haha!

Jerry said...

You didn't cheat! You made it ultra special especially with the stawberry whipped cream!

Kelly-Jane said...

You did a fine job :) and the whipped strawberry cream sounds gorgeous!

SaraLynn said...

I think it looks tasty! I would love a slice please!

leafy bombshell said...

Oh! You are just the funniest! And no worries, you were not the only one who ended up with pancakes instead of towering layers of yumminess. Unless you wish to feel abused and misunderstood by the "perfect"ness of everyone else's party cakes... then by all means.

Still, the whipped cream looks wonderful. The pinkness makes it look very cheerful.

Mary said...

I really like the strawberry whipped cream you decided to use for your cake. Very spring and very pretty.

linda said...

It looks delicious without the buttercream, or maybe because of it? Sorry your cakes were so flat. Good thing the cream does it's job well ;)

Tartelette said...

It looks wonderful! I absolutely love your idea of the pink whipped cream with strawberries! Yum!

Claire said...

I mean, I still think it looks good even if it didn't rise properly! Who knows what happened? I think you should try again some time! Great job!

Joy said...

Sorry your sponge didn't work out, but it looks delicious and I love your cake plate.

creampuff said...

I think it's gorgeous, Joey! Considering the difficulties so many of us had, the cakes turned out lovely. I love the idea of tinting your cream with mashed strawberries ... can't wait for strawberry season!

Amy J. said...

Amen! I like your philosophy, and I'm absolutely going to try covering any future problems with whipped cream! :)~

Love the pale pink of your icing!

Chris said...

Look at it, it looks okay! :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Well it was good to eat Joey! Daring to try goes a very long way in my book and I'm always surprised at the things I learn along the way that make the next challenge better. Beautiful job.

Peabody said...

I waited till the last minute too. Sorry that your layer cake wasn't all that you wanted.

maybahay said...

pretty in pink!
mine was a bit of a dud, too but hey, there's always next month :-)

maybahay said...

pretty in pink!
mine was a bit of a dud, too but hey, there's always next month :-)

Namratha said...

The pink frosting is very nice..its done well.

Lesley said...

I love your story, so funny. I think whipped cream is the way to go with this cake anyway!

Barbara said...

Lovely Joey. I love mashed strawberries in cream.

glamah16 said...

I love the idea of starwberries and whiped cream. Looks great to me.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Karen! Haha! You bet…if I’d have known I would have flown over there…heehee! :) We could have joined forces! Hmmm…since you experienced the liquid batter over there too then it’s gotta be more than my climate that affected this cake…

Aw! Thanks Jerry! I think strawberry whipped cream is special too :)

Thank you Kelly-jane! I can eat it by itself :)

Hi Saralynn! Thank you…I would love to send you a slice :)

Hello Leafy Bombshell! Haha! Really? I have to make my DBers rounds and see...I must figure this cake out! :)

Hi Mary! I like it too…simple, yummy, and a pretty color that I love!

Hi Linda! Thank God for whipped cream I say!

Hi Helene! Thank you! I love the color :) And the strawberries :)

Hi Claire! I’ll definitely be trying again :) I’m not done with layer cake yet!

Hi Joy! Thanks :) I love it too, it was a gift from my best friend :)

Thanks Ivonne! I love strawberries…I’m making the most of our strawberry season :)

Hi Amy J.! I wholeheartedly recommend it! And if the whipped cream doesn’t work, try Nutella! ;)

Thank you Chris! It’s the strawberry whipped cream that really saved it :)

Hi Tanna! I agree…as long as you dare there will always be wonderful surprises in store…no matter how many flat cakes you encounter on your way! :)

Hi Peabody! It’s ok…I’m glad got through it :) But next time I’m going to try doing the challenge earlier!

Hello Maybahay! Yup, onto the next challenge!

Hi Namratha! Thank you!

Hi Lesley! You think so? I don’t feel so bad then for having to pass on the buttercream…in truth, I actually like whipped cream better than buttercream…

Hi Barbara! I have extra :) I wish I could share some with you…maybe with some pound cake over a cup of tea :)

Hi Glamah16! Thanks! :)

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I still think it is a very pretty cake! These things happen to all of us.

Chez Denise et Laudalino said...

Great story! I think your cake looks wonderful!

Half Baked said...

Too bad your cake didn't come out the way you hope:( I used whipped cream as well...didn't want all that butter and eggs. Your post made me laugh! Your not cheater-y at all:)

Miss Ifi said...

I am glad you are willing to give it another try!! I am sure next time it will be amazing!!!
In any case I think it is a pretty fine looking cake.. I love the pink of the whipped cream! *licks some of that strawberry whipped cream right out of the cake* heh.. Congrats!

Dhanggit said...

beautiful and i bet definitely delicious!!!

Morven said...

What a great story. I think your cake looks great even if it's a little stunted.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your cake looks very pretty! I think we all had a hard time with it... Great job!

Cheers,

Rosa

canDIshhh said...

looks good naman... :) i love strawberries! (biased!)

i've been wanting to try and make a cake but.... i'm too scared.. might have to toughen up and make one... hahaha!!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Stickygooeycreamychewy! Thanks :)

Hello Chez Denise! Thank you!

Hi Half Baked! Heehee, actually looking back, I think I enjoyed this whipped cream more than I would a buttercream…

Hi Miss Ifi! I won’t give up on my quest for a fluffy layer cake! :) I love that pink too…made me feel not-too-bad about the flat cake :)

Thanks Dhanggit! I liked the whipped cream but the cake was too tough for me!

Thanks Morven! At least I have a story to tell :) And lots of leftover whipped cream to eat!

Hi Rosa! Yeah, now that I’m reading all the posts I realize that there are similar experiences around…

Hi Candishhh! The only thing to do is go for it! This type of sponge-y cake is my waterloo, but I will try and try until I get it! :)

Gattina said...

Joey, it still drop-dead gorgeous! With pink cream, make it the one in million, clever!

Stella (Sweet Temptations) said...

I think it just looks gorgeous that pretty perfect party cake!!!

Claire said...

This cake fulfills all my 7-year old birthday cake dreams! So pretty and pink...but I feel your pain on the stunted growth. But my new baking mantra - flour is cheap, and try try again...

Merav said...

Your cake does look beautiful regardless of any mishaps!

Jenny said...

This is possibly the first time I managed NOT to procrastinate, actually. :) I like the idea of covering all errors and problems with strawberry whipped cream. It can do no wrong.

Brilynn said...

Whipped cream will hide any flaws! If you hadn't of told us, we never would have known!

Shandy said...

Your cake still looks beautiful and what a great idea with the strawberries and whipped cream! Brilliant!

Astra Libris said...

Oh my, I'm so sorry about your cake mishap, but I absolutely loved reading your post! You turned a cake adventure into a wonderful, witty story! Your cake is also absolutely beautiful... I'm sure, with all that strawberry whipped cream, that it was scrumptious as well! Such a great idea!

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

I love whipped topping frosting and this looks absolutely scrumpdidlyumptious as willy wonka would say!

Elle said...

...that's what I was missing this week...pink whipped cream :)
Glad you completed the challenge even if it didn't turn out as expected.Pretty in pink even so.

The Baker & The Curry Maker said...

I totally agree with you - its about the truimphs! Well done, looks lovely.

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

I'm laughing at your reference to it being the consistency of a tire. =-) It still looks good.

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Gattina! Pink is my favorite color :)

Hi Stella! Thank you :) It’s could have been fluffier though…sigh…next time!

Hi Claire! Try try again is right :) Time to buy myself those industrial bags of flour!

Hi Merav! Thanks :)

Hi Jenny! I have got to get into the habit of doing these things early!

Hi Brilynn! Whipped cream…my hero :)

Hi Shandy! Thank you…the strawberries and whipped cream worked overtime hiding my flatty cake!

Hi Astra Libris! I’m happy to know you enjoyed the post :) What use is a cake disaster if you can’t turn it into entertainment eh? ;) And use it as an excuse to slather everything in strawberry whipped cream! :)

Hi Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict! Heehee…thanks :)

Thanks Elle! I’m glad I completed it too :)

Hello there Baker & Curry Maker! Thanks :)

Hi Sweet and Savory Eats! Haha! Well, that’s me, calling a poor cake names when I’m upset! Hehehe :)

JMom said...

for not having come out as perfect as you'd wished, it sure looks good!

I finally jumped in the DB fray this month after watching you have all the fun baking. I loved this recipe for my first challenge! :)

SweetDesigns said...

hehe..your post made me giggle!! It still looks great!! Good attempt and the next one will rock, though I would almost still use your strawberry whipped cream cause mm that sounds soo yummy!!

Andrea said...

You dared and did well! The cake looks very pretty, and I love the strawberries in the whipped cream. Delish!

Pamela said...

It turned out so cute, no one would ever know all the trouble you had!

Ally said...

Mmm! Strawberry whipped cream sounds divine! And your cake still looks fab!

Big Boys Oven said...

hahahah at least you got it done! lol!

christine said...

It still looks delicious! I would have never guessed anything was wrong with it. I bet you'd be satisfied at the very least with the next try. :)

Katrina, I've tried a bacon and peanut butter sandwich! haha At my friends house back in HS. Then back home I experimented with bacon and guava jelly sandwiches. (I think i had guava jelly with everything, even rice!) It's quite good! I like the sweet/salty combo.

Randi said...

it looks incredible.. the only funny thing that happened on the way to the party was that i didn't get to eat a piece of your cake :) with all the struggles i had with the buttercream, i'm wishing i made a whipped frosting. looks awesome :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jmom! Yay! I’m happy you’ve joined us! It’s a great group and a great place to practice your baking :)

Hi Sweetdesigns! Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :) I hope it behaves better next time!

Hi Andrea! Thank you :) Nothing ventured nothing gained I say ;)

Hi Pamela! Whipped cream can hide a multitude of flaws! ;)

Thanks Ally! :)

Hi Big Boys Oven! Yup! Thank god for small favors huh? :)

Hey Nens! Well, let’s hope I learn something from this try about making a cake more like a cake…and less like a pancake! Bacon and guava jelly sounds divine! I am going to try it soon :) One of my favorite sandwiches is buttered white bread/smoked cheese/bacon/stroop syrup…SO weirdly good! :)

Hi Randi! Aw! Wish you could’ve had a piece :) Then you could give me tips on my flat cake in exchange for some of my strawberry whipped cream!

Jen Tan said...

It's gorgeous joey! even if I am no cream fan....I am sure i's delish..

I remember your florless choco cake...the one you brought at our Market Man dinner at Gourdo's...ahhhh I still dream of it! You are one great daring baker! I am a fan =)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jen! Thanks! :) That flourless chocolate cake is really more the type of cake I like to make and eat -- rich and chocolate-y, not sponge-y and light. If you want the recipe just let me know! :)

Bordeaux said...

Joey, you can make a half inch thick (thin) cake and it will still look stunning, especially on that super cute cake stand. I'm jealous!

Jen Tan said...

joey..I want!!! will you share the recipe please??? that would just be fantastic...please, please email me...tanjentan@gmail.com muchas gracias!!! mwah!!!! =)

ChichaJo said...

Oh thank you Bordeaux! You are such a sweetie :) The cake stand was a gift from my best friend and I love it to bits!

Hi Jen! Of course! Recipes are for sharing (I use C&Z's recipe) :) I'll email you shortly!