Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TWD: Perfect Party Cake

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I was so excited for this cake because last summer, this was the recipe I used to bake my first ever layer cake. Thanks to the DBers who raved about this enough that I had to give it a try. It was the first time I realized that cakes could be made from scratch! Since many of the experienced DBers had problems with flat layers, I decided to make a triple layer cake with 3 8 inch pans (I needed all the help I could get).

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One year later I wanted to try it with 9 inch pans, since Dorie posted helpful tips to fix the height issues and because my 8 inch ones aren't the greatest in quality. I used all purpose flour and 2% milk. I omitted the 2 minute beating at the end because I didn't want to risk overbeating. 2 minutes of beating with all purpose flour... I don't even want to imagine what would happen to the cake! The layers aren't as tall as Dorie's, but I was really happy with the overall result.

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The way I frost layer cakes hasn't really changed. I like to keep the outside bare because I'm not a huge frosting lover, but if there's one butter based frosting to make, it's definitely Cassie's SMBC. I can't say enough about it because it's that good! Creamy and perfectly sweetened without tasting like a stick of butter unlike most meringue based buttercreams. I used her SMBC instead of Dorie's and added some blueberry puree. I couldn't really taste the blueberry and will use jam next time for a more concentrated flavour. Even though SMBC is my favourite kind of buttercream, 4 layers of it can be hard to stomach. Instead, I made a lightened version of CI's pastry cream by omitting the butter and using milk instead of cream. I love how soft this cake was even with all purpose flour. I really liked it, although I can't really say the same for for the rest of my family. It can be so frustrating to bake for them because everything is either too buttery, too sweet, too rich, too moist (?!). I'm starting to get the feeling that what they really want is sandwich bread (and it better be Wonder bread since it's like biting into air) lightly sweetened with sugar.

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Thanks so much to Carol of mix, mix... stir, stir for choosing this recipe! You can find the recipe on her blog or in Dorie's book. Don't forget to check out the TWD blogroll!

Pastry Cream, adapted from CI
1 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
2.5 egg yolks
1.5 tbsp cornstarch

Whisk sugar, eggs and cornstarch together until incorporated
On medium high heat, heat milk.
Pour milk in egg mixture to temper the eggs
Pour mixture back into pot, whisking until thickened and bubbles appear on the side.
Remove from heat and pour into another bowl to stop cooking.
Place plastic wrap on surface and refrigerate until cool and ready to use.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Cassie's How to eat a Cupcake

Ingredients
2 large egg whites
1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 blueberry puree

Directions
Put egg whites and sugar into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).
Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add blueberry puree and raise speed to medium and beat until incorporated.

64 comments:

  1. wow! that cake looks too perfect to eat!

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  2. Oh, Steph, you should do this for a living (although I have a feeling that would take all the fun out of it!) I think it's amazing that you getting such a solid, classic pastry-chef repertoire. Your cake is so beautiful, too! I never volunteer to make celebration cakes because I can make them delicious but I can't make them pretty...I'm just gawping again at that rose cupcake, too!

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  3. I love your modifications! I was really nervous about mixing mine for 2 minutes when I made it last year... I think I went for about 90 seconds and then got really paranoid! I definitely want to try out that buttercream!

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  4. Your cake looks perfect! I love the frosting and the way you decorated it. Great job!

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  5. Your cake is so pretty! I love the changes you made. The blueberry in the frosting is a great idea. Well done!

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  6. I love frosting, but I also really like the look of cakes with naked sides, and your cakes are beautiful! The color of the icing with the pureed fruit in it is great and it looks so cool piped in such a nice even spiral. I remember the first time I realized cakes could be made from scratch too! What a great realization.

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  7. Oooh, what a pretty cake!! I'm sure I would have loved a slice. Nice job!

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  8. Beautiful cake and thanks for the lightened up frosting recipes!!

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  9. I love layered cakes - the blueberry frosting sounds amazing!

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  10. You're *not* a huge frosting lover?! *faints* :) You made a stunning cake even without the side frou-frou, bravo! :)

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  11. WOW! You got me! I've never seen any cake decorated as such! Beautiful, creative... and I looooove the colours! Lavender type of blue, yellow and white makes it look like a modern twist on a victorian basic!

    I love, I love, I love... but they're is no way in heaven, I can ever achieve such great and even pipping!

    BRAVO!

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  12. WOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW! Impressive cake photos there!

    YOU ARE AWESOME!

    Thanks so much for sharing the frosting recipes. I am def going to try these on my future cakes!

    Woo hoo!

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  13. That looks so nice I would almost feel bad eating it. Almost. ;)

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  14. Looks great! I love that you keep the sides bare- I don't like overfrosted cakes either

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  15. Your cakes look so pretty! Great job!

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  16. I love the versatility of this cake. I actually used this recipe for Psychgrad and R's graduation cake and filled it with raspberry - deeee-licious. Love the fat swirls on the top - makes me want to make a cake that looks like a maze with flags and pitstops.

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  17. Oh my! The cake looks divine!

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  18. OMG this cake looks amazing! I love that you used purple frosting. 3 layers of pastry cream: yum!

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  19. Okay thanks for taking my all-time favorite cake recipe and making it even more AWESOME by adding blueberry and pastry cream! I BET IT TASTED LIKE HEAVEN!?!? (Excuse my CAPS. Cake gets me going!) ;D

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  20. Steph that looks fantastic and sounds heavenly!! I love how you decorated the top,too!

    Without the help of your family (how can they not like that cake?) you should have quite a bit leftover send me a slice!
    ~ingrid

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  21. That cake looks gorgeous! I absolutely love the way that you piped the blackberry frosting onto the top. I really want to make a "note to self" to remember your trick. I'm much more of a cake person than a frosting person, so I love your idea to leave the sides unfrosted.

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  22. That cake is gorgeous! I love the contrast of colors.

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  23. I love how the purple swirled buttercream looks. Awesome! I wouldn't complain. ;)

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  24. I love how you frosted this cake! It is beautiful.

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  25. Wow, what a striking cake! I'm loving the blueberry SMBC. It always makes such a smooth, reliable frosting.

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  26. Yum!! This looks amazing! I wanna try that frosting!

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  27. I love all your "playing around ideas with cake. Its so beautiful. Love you piping. It creates interest and texture. Very nice. I'll tell Corbin. Actually he looks somthime.'
    Amyuth

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  28. Love how you were so detailed in executing this cake. It looks absolutely perfect, and your adaptations are wonderful

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  29. Your cakes are beautiful! Love the way you frosted the top and left the sides bare. All of those raspberries look so plump and delicious. I wish I had some here to enjoy :)

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  30. Amazing piping!! I've attempted that and it's MUCH harder than it looks.

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  31. I love the sounds of that blueberry buttercream and your GORGEOUS presentation!

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  32. Looks wonderful! Love the purple frosting and the pastry cream: yummy!

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  33. blueberry pastry cream? oh my!!! YUM!!! Great work!

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  34. O Steph, this is gorgeous!! I'ld love to try a piece :)

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  35. If the complaints you're getting are "buttery, rich, sweet, and moist," well you must be doing everything right! This cake looks lovely.

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  36. Outstandingly beautiful! Many thanks for those two recipes. I'm going to use them next time to lighten the overall cake.

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  37. That decoration is AMAZING!!! Absolutely amazing amazing amazing! I am so impressed!

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  38. I love how you frosted this cake. It looks incredible.

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  39. Both of your Perfect Party Cakes look beautiful! Mixing in the blueberries with the frosting is so creative and gives it such a standout color! It looks really spring-y with the cream filling.

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  40. What a beautiful cake. I love the blueberry frosting piped on top. Great job!

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  41. I LOVE the naked sides. I am not a big icing fan, either (unless we are discussing cream cheese frosting, then that is a different story.

    Beautiful.

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  42. You know, I couldn't figure out why your frosting looked so weird until I read you put blueberries in it. I thought it was chocolate and the lighting was off hahaha Nice cake :)

    p.s. I picked you for the Kreativ Blogger award.

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  43. Your frosting looks delicious! Great job. I really like this recipe and think it is great that you made it again too!

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  44. Steph, that cake is simply stunning! I'm sorry and surprised to learn that you don't have a bunch of appreciative dessert takers at home. It really looks spectacular.

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  45. I love the way you decorated this, it's perfect and beautiful!

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  46. I remember this cake recipe very well and loved it. Love the way you frosted it!

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  47. What gorgeous cakes, nicely done.

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  48. Wow this looks really good. Well done!!

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  49. What a pretty cake! And I'm not even crazy about blueberries. You reminded me with your pretty piping that I really need to buy a pastry bag and tips.

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  50. This looks incredible, Steph. And you have me dying to try Cassies SMBC. The only buttercream I've ever made was Dorie's, and it was a little bit too buttery for my taste. OH, and you can adopt me any day - I have no doubt that I'll rave about all of your desserts!

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  51. Wow!! How did you pipe such perfect circles?? I am in awe! Oooo that blueberry cream looks divine!

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  52. Hi Steph,
    Thanks for visiting Get Off Your Butt and Bake!
    Your cake looks amazing, I think I will try that soon.
    You asked the question about the Marshmallow frosting on the S'more cupcakes. I did not use Marthas recipe, but if you look down the recipe, you will find a LINK for the Marshmallow recipe we use all the time. It's never failed me yet! Good luck...I will be back to visit your marvelous blog.
    Jonna (Get Off Your Butt and Bake)

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  53. Woah - that is one impressive looking cake - well done :)

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  54. Mmm love how you decorated the cake on top! And filled it with pastry cream yum yum.

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  55. Oooh, look at that. The frosting on the top looks so delicious. Nicely done.

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  56. simply drooling good looking cake you've baked there....
    lovely ~

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  57. Your family doesn't know how good they have it! Love the changes with the blueberry buttercream and the pastry cream.

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  58. Your cake looks soo good! Lovve the colors, and changes you've made!!

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  59. I think this cake looks delicious and I would totally let you bring me one anytime you want. Okay, okay, I would even drive to wherever you are for a slice of this! Just recently I added pureed fresh raspberries to buttercream and not only was the result a delightful (and all-natural) pink, but you actually could taste the raspberries. They sang through. Not sure how you feel about raspberries (and pink), but it worked for me!

    Best,
    Casey
    Editor
    www.tastestopping.wordpress.com

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  60. That is a really REALLY awesome looking cake. I love your decorating style!

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  61. love the lavender buttercream!

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