Monday, April 25, 2011

The Perfect Party Cake

Oy, this cake.  It did not like to be photographed.  It mocked me all throughout the 2 days it took to make it.  I found a few decent ones to post, but guys, I took close to 100.  Ridiculous I know, my family thought so too.  Such is the life of a blogger.  Either I really suck at photography, or this cake was camera shy.  I will choose to blame it on the cake if you don't mind.  Every picture was either too dark, too bright, too blurry or just not right.  No pretty pictures of sifted cake flour, or lemon infused sugar, or 6 sticks of buttery goodness buttercream frosting could be kept in focus or be exposed to enough light.  Oh!  And then half the cake faded during the 45 minute ride to Corona!  Never had that happen before.  But this cake took me too darn long to make and tasted too darned good to not tell you about it.

We opted to throw Taylor a family birthday party this year instead of the 50 person monstrosity of a party we've been known to throw, and I wanted to keep it as simple and low key as possible.  The only thing I wanted to do was make her a pretty cake that tasted good.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this is the first birthday cake that I've actually ever made her, we usually just order from our local bakery. 

I tweeted Hannah from Honey and Jam and asked her for a recommendation for a good white cake recipe and she instantly responded with this recipe for the Perfect Party Cake.  The title alone had me.  Then when I read the words "not too sweet" and infused with "lemon" I knew this was the cake for me, uh, I mean Taylor.  If you've been reading for a while you know I don't like sickly sweet things, and Taylor is actually much the same. 

Hannah's pictures are pretty and beautiful, I know, so no need to rub it in.  I made a double batch of the batter and buttercream because I wanted a nice high cake, and I spread a middle layer of fresh strawberries mixed with buttercream instead of the jam in the middle, because fresh strawberry filling always seems so fancy to me.  How about you?  Just something about fresh fruit.

The best thing about this cake was the hint of lemon in both the cake and the buttercream.  You guys, this cake was a hit!  Everyone loved it and my mother in law, who can be a tough critic, said it was wonderfully refreshing.  This is the perfect Spring and Summer cake.  Light, fluffy, a little zesty mixed with just the right amount of sweetness.  Sheer perfection.  And the buttercream was surprisingly easy to work with, and tasted amazing.  Next time the only thing I'd change is to make it a 3 tier and add buttercream between all 3 tiers for extra goodness. At any rate, Taylor loved it and that's what matters the most after all right?
p.s. thanks for the Happy Anniversary wishes on Sunday :) We had a wonderful day and I hope you all did too.


  1. Well done! That looks like it took a lot more work than you are even taking credit for. I'm super impressed!

  2. i think i'm going to have to make that for myself or hopefully a friends birthday is coming up!

  3. yours is beautiful! as are the photos. so glad taylor liked it. :)

  4. WOW looks amazing! I may have to make my daughter that cake for her 9th next month! (btw, last year for her birthday was the first time i made her cake. why does buying cakes infuse us mommies with so much weird guilt??!!)

  5. I think it is beautiful and from the looks of things so does the birthday girl. This is my first visit to your site and I've spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did that. I really love the food and recipes you feature here and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary.

  6. Beautiful! Quick question--why did you make a large single layer of strawberries and cream instead of in between each layer? Is it because you didn't want to skip out on the jam? Either way, it looks outstanding. I would love to make it for Mikey's birthday, but it's pink so he won't go for it. I'd frost it with chocolate, but chocolate and lemon...shudder.

  7. honestly, I'm impressed. way to go, girlfriend!

  8. Thanks everyone for the kind words, Hannah included! So glad you stopped by :)

    Jules, to answer your question, honestly it's because I didn't anticipate how long the buttercream was going to take me to make (it was actually quite involved, not hard, just a few steps to get right). So I started to panic that I was going to run out of time since we had the party at my sister's in Corona and I just sort of threw it together at the end. If I had to do it again I would have sliced the strawberries super thin, added a bit of sugar and let them sit to get real juicy, and then mix with the buttercream, and then spread a think layer on each tier. At the end I just threw the one layer of super chunky strawberry buttercream in the middle to save time. No one seemed to mind though, they all enjoyed the big chunks of strawberry just the same :)

  9. it looks so yummy and beautiful.
    i hear you on "staging" the best blog pics.

  10. It's totally not your fault - food photography is so hard and different from taking pictures of people. Every time i try to photograph something I cook I end up with tons and tons and tons of outtakes. Usually I don't even get a photo I like. That said, this cake looks delicious!! I'd love to have this at my next birthday party.

  11. Are you kidding me?! That is beautiful & amazing & I want that cake for my "just because I want a cake" day. I love the way you did the icing on the sides. I am the world's worst froster. I can make yummy frosting. But, I can't frost.
    I LOVE fresh strawberries in the layers. Although, I am also a really bad slicer. This cake would be a mess once I cut into it. How did you get such a tidy slice. Geesh!


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