Sunday, March 30, 2008
Perfect Party Cake...Do I Dare?
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.
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 :)