This is my first challenge with the Daring Bakers and I had been pondering for many months to join this elite group of bakers. My only wish is that I should have joined them a long time ago! Why did I feel so nervous to take the plunge in the first place, I now ask myself? I wouldn’t class myself as a novice baker having been baking now for well over thirty years since an early age, but there is always something new to learn be it technique or a new ingredient etc.
This month’s challenge is hosted by Morven of Food Art and Random Thoughts
Morven allowed with this challenge to “play” around a little with colours and flavours, which gives one a clean palate to create a master piece of your own. This month I admit being my first challenge I stuck to the general recipe at hand and didn’t deviate from it very much. However, when a recipe calls for cake flour I have always been unsuccessful to find this in England and had to make adjustments, for every cup of plain flour required by this recipe, I removed 1 tablespoon of flour and added 1 tablespoon of cornflour. In my personnel opinion, different flours can tip the balance from a sponge being a success to an ultimate failure. Not being able to source the correct flour, I found the sponge mixture required more liquid and in this case it was buttermilk to ensure a light soft sponge. I would also like to state that I prefer to add flour by hand to my sponges, folding in gently with a large metal spoon, this makes for a much lighter sponge as the glutens in the flour are not over mixed, which if they are, can lead to a very heavy sponge. Having followed my instincts with Dorie’s recipe I was able to make two light airy sponges without any problems. Having let the sponges cool until completely cold I was able then to cut them both into two, making four sponges for the filling without any problems. I always use a breadknife when cutting any sponge in half and I find this method to be the best way for this task.
The next step was very delicate layering up with raspberry jam and buttercream, due to the sponges being very light and delicate. The buttercream I found very greasy, but again that is my personnel preference and nothing wrong with the recipe. On a positive note, had there been any gaps in the sponge the buttercream would have covered a multitude of sins. I placed a few strips of thick sweetened coconut on the top for decoration not feeling quite up to piping swirls of cream due my recent illness.
The outcome of Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake, having let the cake stand for the required time for setting, was a most wonderful light and airy cake, and I can fully understand why Dorie choose this for a “Perfect Party Cake”. The flavours mingled perfectly together and the family thought this was a stunning sponge cake and would be a great cake for serving for a dessert at any party too. The recipe can be found in Doire Greenspan’s - Baking From My Home To Yours.
Thank you Morven for hosting this month’s challenge and you can check out other DB creations on the Daring Bakers Blogroll.