Sunday, March 30, 2008

A little slice of heaven...

Yes, it's that time again. Daring Baker post-a-thon. This month I actually completed my baking endeavor a full week before the deadline. We were making a layer cake and were given a lot of latitude in how exactly to make it. The basic recipe is for a white cake with a hint of lemon. It sounded divine, but I always crave chocolate, so I decided right away to make a devilish chocolate cake. But, realizing that I would probably be making my cake around Easter, I went for the original recipe so that I could use fresh berries. Here is a brief story-board of my attempt:

This is all the ingredients, right before mixing them in a bowl with my hand mixer. After reading a few comments about making sure everything got mixed well together, I decided to use the hand mixer instead of my Kitchen Aid. It worked really well and I got to use a new stainless steel bowl from Ikea. The only real problem I had was in separating the eggs. I have always done this very easily, using 2 methods. I either pour the egg back and forth between the two halves of the egg shell or "sift" the egg through my fingers. This time, I had 3 egg yolks break, so I went through almost a dozen eggs for the full recipe. I was going to make vanilla ice cream with the yolks, but decided that was just a little too ambitious. Some other day, though. I really liked the slight lemon flavor that the cake had. It was very light, airy and tender. But it held together well. I let the cake cool overnight, only covered by a towel instead of plastic wrap--I don't know if that was part of the ease in cutting it for the layers.

Here are the ingredients for the Buttercream:

I used the Kitchen Aid to make the Buttercream and it worked splendidly. I wasn't concerned with watching it, so I don't know if it curdled or not. I just know that if it did, it came together nicely. It could have used slightly more flavor--either more lemon or more vanilla. I juiced 2 lemons and got 1/2 cup of juice, so I made a small glass of home made lemonade with the extra quarter cup. What a nice treat!

I sliced the 2 layers in half and filled with buttercream, followed by sliced strawberries. I finished with buttercream on top and sides and whole berries on the top. I shared cake with friends at Easter dinner and then tried to finish the rest over the next few days. The cake stayed delicious, but by Thursday the berries were well past their prime and I was unable to finish the remaining 2-3 slices. Here is a photo of the cake, just prior to serving: