Party over here!

Let me start out by saying that this is definitely going to be my go-to recipe for party cakes in the future. It was light and sweet and the lemon and raspberry were a match made in heaven. I received so many compliments from my co-workers about the light, springy cake and wonderful flavors. The only downside to this whole ordeal was the actual process of baking...

I don't know why I had such a problem. Perhaps it was because I had started baking the night before I needed the cakes after a whole weekend away from home at family events. Or maybe it was because the cakes had to be good because there was no back up plan. Either way... there were issues.

The first major issue. For some reason we no longer have 8 or 9 inch rounds in the house. I don't know what happened to them or when they disappeared but there are none here! (side note - I get to go buy some from Williams-Sonoma in a few weeks! Score!) So I had to use my rectangle cake pan instead.

Than the cake batter really didn't fill the pan so I was left with about an inch of cake. So instead of three layers I ended up with two layers. I just cut the cake in half. But the cake came out of the pan no problem and was looking great.

Until I started frosting it. Talk about a melt-down moment (literally!). My bright mind decided to heat up the preserves to thin them out (like Dorie suggested) and than pour them on the cake and top it with whipped cream *before* allowing it to cool a bit! Talk about a mess. The whipped cream frosting was melting like crazy so when I went to put the top piece on it was sliding everywhere!

I got smart somewhere in between and decided to put the cake in the freezer to stiffen up before frosting. After that all was well. The frosting went on without a hitch. The chocolate shavings were easy enough and piping the edges (even though they aren't pretty) went smoothly. All in all it was worth it but I'll definitely be giving myself some more time next go around.

Source: Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours

Perfect Party Cake

For the cake:
  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I used buttermilk as recommended by Dorie)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp. lemon extract (I used the juice from 1/2 of a small squeezed lemon)
For finishing:Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment paper (I used a 9X13 rectangular pan). Dust both pans with flour, shaking out the excess. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Mix them with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant (it really smells heavenly!). Add the butter to the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon extract.

Add one third of the flour mixture, continuing to beat on medium speed. Beat in half of the egg mixture, then half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and smooth tops with a rubber spatula (or place in a rectangular 9x13). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well-risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted in the centers should come out clean.

Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes, invert the cake pans to remove the cake, peel off the parchment paper, and invert once more so cakes are right side up on the cooling rack. Cool to room temperature.

Using a sharp, serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Place one layer on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate, cut side up (since my cake did not rise much and since I didn't use rounds I just cut the cake in half and put one half on top of the other to create only one layer). Spread the preserves on top. Cover the jam evenly with about 1/3 of the whipped cream. Place the remaining layer of the cake on top of the filling. Use the whipped cream frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake (I put the cake in the freezer for about 30 minutes to stiffen up before frosting). Top with fresh berries or white chocolate shavings.

Because of the whipped cream filling and frosting, this cake should be stored in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.

A photo from my camera phone at work of the inside:

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