|As ya'll know by now I'm sure, this month's hostess is the very lovely Morven, and she chose Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake which is featured in Dorie's BAKING: From My Home to Yours. (My baking bible) All I can say is that this was a great cake. Not very challenging but that's okay.. I need a breather once in a while.|
Light and fluffy! Betchas didn't know how great a dog kennel doubles for a cooling rack, did you? :P
Morv allowed our imaginations to run wild in the flavor department. (Thanks sweetie!) So after much debate, I finally ended up staying with the lemon cake as written by Dorie and for the filling I decided to change it up a bit and went in search of something that tripped my trigger.
The West Side Market - you just have to love it. I found quite a little treasure trove of imported jams, preserves and jellies. I couldn't decide between Pineapple, Bitter Orange or Pear, so I bought them all. Hey!! I LIKE toast! Sheesh.. so judgemental. :P I also found a jar of imported Dulce de Leche.. so yeah, that went up to the cashier as well. :D
I decided on the pear preserves but kicked it up a notch (ugh.. sorry Emeril) by dicing up 4 Bosc pears, and caramelizing them in butter and brown sugar until they were goldeny and well.. caramel-y. Delish!! I could have ate them piping hot, right there standing over the stove. As for the buttercream, I knew immediately what I wanted to do and that was salted caramel. *swoon*
Wonderin' why there's no shots of the whole cake? Remember back in grade school when you were taught to "stop, drop and roll" if you were to catch on fire? What the hell was wrong with those people?? Tellin' kids they could catch on fire! No damn wonder I'm not right. :P Anyhoo.. I froze, frosted and sliced. :D
So a lemon cake, filled with caramelized pears and pear preserves topped off with salted caramel buttercream. Does that squick anyone out? I couldn't decide if I had a great flavor combo that many people would like.. or if I was just weird because it appealed to me. har!
And if you were starting to feel a little despair at the thought of a challenge going perfectly well for me just because it wasn't exactly "challenging" well fear not, my lovelies.. I did manage a screw up - and a royal one at that! :D
*blush* I didn't read the recipe for the buttercream and just assumed it was the Italian meringue kind.. I know! Who the hell do I think I am just assuming, eh?
Well, in ignorant bliss, I carried on making it the Italian meringue way, but instead of drizzling in the molten hot sugar syrup, I decide it'd be awesome if I were to cook that sugar until it was dark amber - hell yes! Can you imagine how caramel-y it would make the buttercream?? Yeah, well it doesn't. And for the love of Christ, don't try this at home. The instant the dark amber sugar syrup hit those cold whipped egg whites.. Mmmm... hmmmm.. *clunkedy* *clackedy* went my stand mixer. It sounded like there was GRAVEL in there. hahahaha!
I quickly threw that batch out. And then started my usual panic. :P
I decided that this would be an opportune time to actually read the recipe.. lo and behold it's the Swiss meringue variety. Go figger. Well, all I had to do was google caramel Swiss meringue buttercream recipe and there it was! I found an excellent recipe that was written exactly like Dorie's, except you make a caramel by cooking the sugar to that dark amber point, and then add heavy cream. You let that cool a bit, and then whip it into the buttercream after you've whipped in the last of the butter. What the recipe didn't tell me is that it would thin out my beautifully thick and creamy buttercream almost instantly. $#!*%
At this juncture, it was late and my sis was over for a visit so I had kind of passed the point of caring. So I pretty much just poured my buttercream over the caramelized pears on three layers, topped it off with the final layer of cake and popped it into the fridge to sit while I finished dinner. Oh yeah, and I threw my bowl of buttercream in the freezer too.
Twenty minutes later I was rewarded with a set cake and gorgeously thick and creamy buttercream! *Snap!* (Did I just say Snap!? WTF?) I frosted that baby and sliced her up toot sweet! The cake was delish - although a little sweet for my tastes, believe it or not. I should have made my caramel a lil more saltier and I could have left the imported pear preserves off and just used the caramelized pears that I made - it would have been less sweet and that would have made this a truly perfect cake. :D
Thank you, Morv my love! And thank you, Dorie Greenspan! I will definitely make this cake again.. and I can't wait to play with more flavors!
The new Daring Bakers are calling.. looks like we've got about another 100 some members joining in April - soon we will hit that 1,000 mark! Then.. world domination! :D
Do ya'll need me to remind you to visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll so you can drool over hundreds and hundreds of amazing cakes? Yeah.. I didn't think so. ;)