I was very excited to receive the recipe for March 2008 Daring Bakers Challenge - a cake!!! That is definitely something I can do. This month’s challenge is hosted by Morven at Food, Art and Random Thoughts and the original recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. So thanks Morven for such a nice recipe. I was so excited about this recipe that I actually tried it twice – the first time I made it with whole wheat pastry flour and the second time I tried it with spelt flour. As you’ll see, spelt yielded better results overall. What I loved most about this challenge was that Morven gave us the flexibility to change ingredients and presentation as long as we followed the basic recipe components – the cake, the frosting and the fruit preserves. The rest, was up to us, the creative daring bakers…
I was faced with 2 other challenges for this recipe… First, I do not own any round cake pans – as I mentioned in my last DBC post, I am not a “baker” per se, so I have never attempted to do any layered cakes before and second, I could not find lemon extract anywhere. My solutions to these dilemmas… to use my cupcake/muffin pans and to double on the lemon zest and add the juice of the lemons to get the lemony taste.
So here’s the Karma-Free version of Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake…
For the Cake: 2 ½ cups spelt flour 1 tbs baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 ¼ cups buttermilk 6 tsp egg replacer diluted into 8tbs water 1 ½ cups brown sugar Zest of 2 lemons (about 4 tsp) 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature The juice of 1 lemon For the Sweetened Whipped Cream frosting: 1 pint heavy cream 1 cup brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla powder For Finishing: 2/3 cup seedless raspberry or strawberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
- Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour your pans – I used 2 cupcake/muffin pans. I also used cupcake liners and worked great too.
To Make the Cake
2. Sift together the spelt flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Whisk together the egg substitute and buttermilk. Set aside.
4. Whisk together 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.
5. 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.
6. Beat in the lemon juice, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
7. Beat in half of the milk-egg sub mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
8. Add the rest of the milk/egg sub mixture beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
9. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
10. Divide the batter in your muffin/cupcake pans.
11. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
12. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then take them out of the pans to fully cool.
To decorate the Cake
I made a Sweetened Whipped Cream Frosting just because I do not particularly like the taste of buttercream. So, to make the frosting:
Using both a chilled bowl and chilled beaters, beat the cream until frothy.
Add the brown sugar and vanilla gradually while beating.
Whip until light and a thick enough consistency to spread as an icing.
- Use immediately.
Here are my renditions of these lovely cupcakes…
This first picture is the whole wheat version. As you can see, the tops cracked and the color was a bit paler. The picture on the right, are the spelt version, with much nicer color, top texture and flavor too.
As you can see, I still have a lot of ways to go in terms of decorating techniques… but the flavors were spot on.
This recipe is super easy to make. After you’ve done it once, the following tries are much, much easier… and everyone who had the chance to taste them were impressed by the lemony taste and the crispiness that the bundt muffin pan imparted to the outside… aren’t they cute?
My favorite way to eat them was to leave them plain, without any decorations, and just spread some of the preserves to a morsel of cupcake and pop it in my mouth. Delectable!!
The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving.