However, in Dorie's infinite wisdom, she offered some suggestions for modifications, which we took her up on. Our son/nephew loves strawberries. He is, as we call him, a strawberry-atarian and so we thought that a strawberry short cake would be perfect. We modified Dorie's cake so that it was a lot like a strawberry short cake but with the moist, lemon-y cake of the Perfect Party Cake.
As you can see from the picture above, we made one large cake and one small cake. We made 1.25 times the recipe, which was insane with the measuring, but worked out well for making one small cake in a ramekin. He loved his tiny cake and both the large and small cakes were delicious, enjoyed by grownups and kids alike. Go Dorie! The recipe for the cake is below.
Here are the modifications that we made:
1. In putting the cake together, we used lightly sweetened whipped cream instead of butter cream for the filling and frosting
2. We used strawberry jam, then a layer of whipped cream on each layer
3. After the whipped cream, we put a layer of thinly sliced strawberries in each layer
4. We decorated the top with strawberries instead of coconut
5. If you use whipped cream, you have to store it in the fridge. We took it out about 20 minutes before we served it.
And now, the recipe:
Perfect Party CakeGetting Ready: Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
From Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”
Makes 12 to 14 servings
For the Cake
For the Buttercream
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves, stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
- About 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
To Make The Cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the tough – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)
To Make the Buttercream: Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or other large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. During this time, the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again. On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. You should have a shiny, smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.
To Assemble the Cake: Using a sharp, serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Spread it with one third of the preserves. Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream. Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with the third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream left over). Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top. Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.
Serving: The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but it’s best to let it set for a couple of hours in a cool room. Serve it at room temperature with anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.
Storing: The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to 2 days.