Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Four Layer Coconut, Raspberry, Lemon Cake

A few weeks ago for Collin's cousin Alison's bridal shower I made a four layer lemon cake with raspberry filling and lemon meringue buttercream with a coconut coating. I have to say, I think this was my finest work to date. Just in terms of sheer scale and impressiveness. I haven't ever attempted anything quite so large. It temporarily satisfied my desire to make a huge and ornate wedding cake that probably wouldn't have ended so well since I've never done anything close to that...until now that is. It was really fun to make and no problems occurred which was surprising and very reassuring. I got the recipe here and although it was delicious and certainly grand, I would change a thing or two next time. I didn't want to veer from the recipe too much since I didn't want to tempt fate, but I was a little disappointed that the cake wasn't coconut, nor that the frosting wasn't coconut either...I'm a little obsessed with coconut. The lemon frosting tasted great, but the meringue texture was a unsettling. Like grocery store cake frosting. Maybe this is what they use? It wasn't cloyingly sweet which was a relief because the cake itself was, so they balanced each other out nicely and with such a large slice, no one could have handled anything sweeter. 

Originally, I was going to make two of these cakes, and as it turns out, I did. But I combined them together to make one big cake. I figured why not go big or go home? I actually said this out-loud and it convinced me to just go for it. Why not right? Who wants two stubby cakes when they can have one elegantly tall cake? I was supposed to cut each of the two layers in two so you would have a total of 4, but since I doubled the recipe, I had four layers anyways and didn't have to any dividing which is always troublesome and a bit difficult. I ended up having to level them though because with a cake this tall, one uneven spot can throw the whole cake off. The pictures seem to exaggerate this but it wasn't nearly so lopsided in person. Also, the layers slide a lot with the raspberry filling when frosted and is hard to muscle them back in to place after. You have to let go of perfection...

After it was frosted, I dusted the whole thing with a fine shredded coconut that I tossed in some powdered sugar to sweeten it. There were 20 or so guests, so I had Collin mock up a circle cut in to 24 even slices and used that to figure out how to cut the towering, thin slices. They were pretty with four layers but slightly too tall. We almost needed dinner plates to put them on. Never the less, for a bridal shower it didn't seem out of place. 

What shall I strive for next? May have to trick someone in to having me make them a wedding cake. 

Photos by Collin Monda

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

My mom, her best friend Liz, and my aunt Sandi came up to visit Seattle/drink/eat a couple weekends ago and to celebrate Sandi's birthday as well as the arrival of Fall, I made a pumpkin spice cake with maple cream cheese frosting. Since there were only 5 of us celebrating, I made a small cake. A two layer, 6 inch cake. I actually really enjoy making tiny cakes. They are some how more impressive when they're small. Kind of like when you go shoe shopping and the size 6 is always cuter than the size 9 you require. Plus, when a small cake is more practical, why not? You can simply cut the recipe in half or, like I did, just make thicker layers but of a smaller diameter. Taller cakes, no matter the size always stand out more. The recipe was simple and delicious. A standard pumpkin spice cake, similar to a pumpkin pie. Here is the recipe.

The maple cream cheese frosting was a nice touch as well and added a hint of an extra flavor that usually isn't involved (maple). The maple really stood out and tasted great with the pumpkin cake. A fun way of changing up the usual pumpkin recipe.

I have also made this recipe into cupcakes and mini cupcakes and they are fantastic. Just make sure to not over bake them. This cake is best when it is really moist and soft.

To add a bit of decoration, I added some toasted, chopped pecans to the top. Normally, I detest nuts in desserts but the cake seemed to be made for them. Couldn't deny it that simple pleasure.

Photos by Collin Monda