It started out pretty rough- An absent minded retelling of how I inexplicably failed to separate my eggs during my souffles last week lead to more INEXPLICABLE yolk in my eggs whites... This might be the first cooking technique I actually mastered, and here I am making modern art instead.
Jumping ahead a bit- I baked the cakes in smaller cake pans (it's all I got folks) so they were done in about 15 minutes. You can see the perfect little bottom side of the first cake. I might also add at this junction, as many of the other Daring Bakers have said before, that my cakes didn't really rise either, but my little cake tins made for 3 cakes and not 2. So I just made mine a 3 layer cake without the hassled of horizontal slicing... please forgive :P You might also note that the raspberry preserves which were not so seedless... so a good sifting was in order.
I'll come out and tell you right now that the butter cream frosting was frightening. Sugar, 4 eggs whites, lemon juice, vanilla extract and about 18 pounds of butter.
Now the directions say to whisk the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl (and no, i didn't use this purple plastic salad bowl...) over simmering water until the mixture is hot to the touch. Then you remove the bowl and beat the mixture until cool. Then you add the butter and mix the butter cream for another 6-10 minutes just to make sure everything is nice and combined (and yes, this is exactly when my boyfriend's mom called- poor thing). You want your buttercream to be thick and shinny. Now, a weird thing happens about half way through beating the buttercream- it suddenly thickens and seriously turns into butter. Can you tell from the above pictures just how much the mixture beats down? I thought i'd done something wrong... But once you add your lemon lemon and vanilla extract you're good to go.
The real tricky but rewarding part of this cake is the assembly- I mean look at that monster! Maybe, just maybe I put too much raspberry preserves on each layer..... But i just can't help myself when I'm working with something so delicious. I would like to know from other bakers how the heck they managed to frost their cakes without turning it pink from the jam. Again, this might just have to do with the ridiculous amount of jam I layered on...
Or maybe the buttercream was *gasp* too thick! I mean, the piece i just ate right this very second as I write this, did have maybe 1/2 inch of frosting on the top.... I'm just saying...
In the end, the cake turned out wonderfully. I will definitely make it again, but only for a real special occasion because the sweet and thick butter cream frosting was beeeeeegging to be eaten with a glass of champagne.
Words from Dorie
Stick a bright-coloured Post-it to this page, so you’ll always know where to turn for a just-right cake for any celebration. The original recipe was given to me by my great dear friend Nick Malgieri, of baking fame, and since getting it, I’ve found endless opportunities to make it – you will too. The cake is snow white, with an elegant tight crumb and an easygoing nature: it always bakes up perfectly; it is delicate on the tongue but sturdy in the kitchen – no fussing when it comes to slicing the layers in half or cutting tall, beautiful wedges for serving; and, it tastes just as you’d want a party cake to taste – special. The base recipe is for a cake flavoured with lemon, layered with a little raspberry jam and filled and frosted with a classic (and so simple) pure white lemony hot-meringue buttercream but, because the elements are so fundamental, they lend themselves to variation (see Playing Around), making the cake not just perfect, but also versatile.