Cakes, Chocolate, Frosting, Fruit, Lookie at my Cookies by Whitney
comments 5

Lookie at my Cookies: Perfect Party Cake

There are a times during the year that I lovingly like to call “birthday season”. During these weeks I am usually poorer due to buying presents and dinners out, busy juggling plans, confused because I am trying to keep everyone’s birthday’s straight, and full off cake. I am also infinitely happy because I absolutely love birthdays! Especially my own, but I really like to help others celebrate too, everyone deserves an extravaganza. These few middle weeks in July are a birthday season for me. Three of my great friends celebrate their birthdays in these few weeks, two of which were on the same day, last Monday! Of course I always make cakes for my friends to make the occasion special, so last week was cake week for me. It was probably a good thing my computer was broken so I could stop procrastinating by sitting on Facebook and Tastespotting and get these cakes done!
Both Danny and Mary Helen requested the same thing for their birthday cakes, actually Danny didn’t know he was getting one so Ariel requested it for him. They wanted yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Danny also wanted an element of fruit and I know MH loves strawberries as well. I turned to Dorie Greenspan’s trusty cookbook and straight to the Celebration Cake section (my personal favorite) where I found the Perfect Party Cake. That’s actually what it’s called, which is quite fitting because it is the perfect party cake! (Almost) Perfect for my needs, this cake had white frosting which just wouldn’t do so I made it chocolate with the addition of cocoa powder for one cake, and semi-sweet chocolate for the other. The semi-sweet worked out better. I’m not going to post the recipe for the cake because 1. I’m not with my cookbook right now to type it out and 2. Y’all need to buy Dorie’s book! (or just google search for the recipe because I know it’s floating around on many sites out there, *cough it was a recent TWD challenge, cough*). I will however post my edited Chocolate Meringue Buttercream recipe because it was fabulous and a personal victory for me–as I have said I have trouble with buttercream, NOT THIS TIME! I conquered it! HA!

The cake was nothing short of amazing. I made it first for Danny’s birthday and it was so good I knew I wanted to make it again for MH’s. The cake is a white cake that’s pretty simple to make that includes lemon zest and lemon extract–I subbed out the lemon extract for vanilla though because I didn’t want to make it a lemon flavored cake. I did keep in the zest though. Now I am guilty of omitting lemon zest out of a recipe because I’m too lazy to buy fresh lemons, but I am sooo glad I didn’t from this, it really added so much flavor. Not like an overwhelming “I’m eating a lemon cake” flavor but just a flavor depth that wouldn’t have been there before. In between the layers of cake is the meringue buttercream and strawberry preserves–I think Dorie uses raspberry preserves and dried coconut, but I don’t like coconut and I wanted to use strawberry. It turned out great! Really this was some of the best cake I’ve ever had. I should probably feed myself a slice of humble pie, but the cake was real good. The chocolate buttercream was fantastic and went soooo well with the delicious cake and the strawberry preserves. The cake and preserves combo was divine. I decorated the outside with mini chocolate chips and garnished the top with strawberries to make it look special and pretty. The pictures didn’t turn out so well because the cake was devoured both times I made it, but I managed to salvage a little sliver to photograph. This cake was awesome I will for sure be making it again. It was so easy and delicious I made it twice in one week! Also in case you were wondering, the cake is great eaten for drunk munchies as well because when we returned in from celebrating MH’s 21st birthday, the cake got completely devoured by everyone. I even found it with a fork stuck straight in the top the next morning. Ahh birthdays.

Chocolate Meringue Buttercream
Makes a generous amount, definitely enough to frost one 2-3 layer cake with
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake recipe

1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz melted and cooled semi-sweet chocolate

Put the sugar and egg whites in a heat proof bowl, fir the bowl over a pot of simmering water (to create double boiler) and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it is ho to the touch. About 3 minutes (mine took way longer). The sugar should be dissolved and mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat. Working the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 6 minutes. Add a stick of butter at a time, beating until smooth. Once all butter is in beat the buttercream on medium-high until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. During the time the buttercream may curdle and separate, just keep beating and it will come together again. On medium speed, gradually add the vanilla and chocolate. You should have a shiny smooth, velvety buttercream. You can now refrigerate it to get a thicker consistency before working with it if you need to.

Enjoy!

Bon Eating,
Whitney

5 Comments

  1. anjalijane says

    Best I've ever had. And I love that you and Rel both mentioned drunk munchies in your last 2 posts!
    Also, you didn't give your cake carrier enough credit– the cake looks BEAUTIFUL, even when only a sliver is left!!

  2. Mary says

    I love Swiss meringue. The addition of chocolate brings it one step closer to culinary heaven. Very, very nice.

  3. Justin says

    yummmmm, hey I think you forgot about my b-day on july 12. (kidding!)

  4. Ingrid says

    I need to give that cake a try as I've heard nothing but rave reviews from everyone who has made it. And if twice in one week doesn't say something what does?!

    Btw, last monday the 13th was MY birthday too! :) July is an expensive MONTH for us as well. I have three aunts this month, MY b-day, the Twins (25th), and my honey, Joe's on the 19th! Of course, that was all preceeded my daughter's birthday in June as well as two of my brothers. I'm broke! :)
    ~ingrid

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