Sunday, March 30, 2008

Daring Bakers Party with Dorie

This month's Daring Bakers Challenge is brought to us by one of my favourite Daring Baker sisters Morven of Food Art and Random Thoughts!

To boot, Morven picked a recipe from one of my all time favourite baking cookbooks, Baking: From My Home to Yours by the esteemed Dorie Greenspan, The Perfect Party Cake.

I've been baking out of this book since I was given the opportunity to review this wonderful book in November 2006. Even back then, this cake recipe caught my eye. I've just not had a chance to make it for anyone until now. When Morven announced this was the recipe, I decided I'd be making it for a good friend at work, Courtney.

I would like to say that I loved this cake. I really and truly would because I haven't had one recipe of Dorie's that I didn't like and I own three of her cookbooks! But like all of us, even one of my favourite cookbook author can have an off day. Unfortunately, this cake just didn't work out the way the recipe described that it would.

The day before I baked the cake, I read on our Daring Baker private blog that Dorie had found out that we were doing this cake and sent Brilynn of Jumbo Empanadas giving us all some tips as others had reported to her similar problems with the cake in the past. She cautioned us to make sure we weren't using self rising cake flour (I wasn't) and Dorie even gave us the secret to her success, Swan Down Cake Flour (My preferred and the flour I used). How cool that Dorie would want to make sure we all had success!

Despite using Dorie's suggested flour and the called for buttermilk, another rising agent in cake, the thing just didn't rise to the levels that were expected, especially since we were instructed to divide the two cakes into half to make a four layer cake. I ended up only making two layers from it because I was fearful for that if I tried to cut the two cakes in half I would end up with nothing but crumbs.

Other than that I had no other issues with the cake. It just wasn't....well spectacular the way the other recipes I've made from Baking From My Home to Yours has been. In the end, it was just nice white cake with coconut and raspberries. I think I'll stick to my tried and true recipe for birthday and special occassion cakes in Baking Illustrated: A Best Recipe Classic from the folks at America's Test Kitchen.

And Dorie, I still love your cookbooks, despite my cake failure here and everyone in the office loved the cake and Courtney that it was grand that I would bake her cake.

And in the end, isn't that what a party cake is all about?

To join the party going on in the food blogosphere, go check out the hundreds and hundreds of Perfect Party Cakes out there on my fellow Daring Bakers blogs.