Friday, May 21, 2010

Perfect Party Cake

Perfect Party Cake

This cake is light and fluffy, though not at all dry, and is delicately sweet and lightly scented with vanilla. It is frosted with a beautiful meringue buttercream that, despite being airy and light on the tongue, is wonderfully rich and buttery and sweet. Between each layer of the cake there is a thin smear of strawberry preserves, which gives the cake just the right amount of luscious berry flavor. Add to all of this a generous sprinkling of a sweetened shredded coconut, and you have about the best cake ever.

This recipe is adapted from the perfect party cake recipe found in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours:

Perfect Party Cake

Cake:
2 1/4 c (293 g) cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c buttermilk
4 egg whites (room temperature)
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter (room temperature)
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Extras:
1 recipe meringue buttercream frosting
2/3 c strawberry preserves
1 1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat your oven to 350°.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites until well combined. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

5. In three additions, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture, beating well between each addition. (i.e. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat well, add 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture, beat well, etc.) After you add the last of the buttermilk, beat the batter for an additional 2 minutes to make sure that everything is well combined.

6. Pour the batter into two well-greased 9" round cake pans, diving the batter among the two pans as evenly as possible. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean.

7. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Using a gentle sawing motion, carefully cut each of the two cakes in half horizontally to create four layers of cake.

9. Place the first layer of cake on a cake stand. Spread 1/3rd of the strawberry preserves on top of this cake layer and then top the preserves with 1/4th of the frosting. Repeat this step for the next two layers.

10. Place the final layer of cake on top of the first three layers and use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Gently press the coconut into the sides and top of the cake.
Notes:
  • This cake will keep fresh for four or five days if you store it wrapped in the fridge.

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