03/28/11

A Show Stopping Birthday Cake

Much like last year, I baked my birthday cake for the party this year. I only wish that it had been bigger, because nobody got to have a very big cake. Perhaps next year, twin cakes will be called for, but I suppose we’ll see.

This cake wasn’t an unambiguously Dana-esque cake. Normally, I would describe myself as an intense-chocolate-explosion cake type of person, as can be seen with the last birthday cake, or any of the chocolate wonders in the recipe index. This one did have chocolate, but this cake was not an intense chocolate explosion. This lovely, tasty cake that disappeared too quickly was far from intense, it was delicate. Raspberry, lemon curd, and white chocolate came together in a way that was deliberately non-explosive.

I never thought that I would like something pale pink this much, but when I saw the recipe I knew I needed to make it. The recipe kicked around in my recipe box for a while, and this weekend, when the proper opportunity arose, I plucked it from the recipe pile and off we went. There were a lot of changes made, it was weirdly written; there was some guess work, the recipe didn’t say what temperature to bake the cake at. All in all though, such a show stopping cake.

I split the cake making into two days (well, actually three because I made the lemon curd the day before, but that doesn’t count): I made filling Friday and the cake Saturday. I would suggest this methodology to anyone else contemplating baking this cake, the raspberry and lemon flavor of the filling deepens over time.

Lemon Raspberry White Chocolate Cake

(adapted quite a lot from Ciao! magazine)
Ingredients
 
For the Filling (Day 1)

3 Cups whipping cream

1 Cup half-and-half

1/2 Cup icing sugar

3/4 Cup lemon curd

3/4 Cup raspberries

For the Cake (Day 2)

9 ounces white chocolate

1/2 Cup warm water

5 egg yolks

12 egg whites

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions
 
 
For the Filling
  • Start to whip the combined creams, and slowly add in the icing sugar.
  • Once the icing sugar is completely added, continue to whip this combination until it forms slouchy peaks.
  • Mash the raspberries, using a fork or a mortar and pestle, until they have come apart but have not completely liquefied.
  • Add the lemon curd and raspberries to the whipping cream and continue to whip until the peaks are fairly stiff.
  • Cover the filling with cling film and refrigerate until the cakes are ready. Overnight really helps to develop the flavor.
For the Cake
  • In a bain-marie, melt the white chocolate into the warm water.
  • Fold in the egg yolks ever so slowly, or temper first if you are worried about curdling.
  • Whisk until the mixture is thickened and then remove the chocolate mixture from heat.
  • Begin to whip the egg whites, adding the sugar in slowly as if you were making a meringue. When they reach the stiff peak stage, stop whipping them.
  • In this time, the chocolate-yolk mixture should have cooled considerably. Combine the flour and baking soda, and slowly sift them into the chocolate-yolk mixture. Keep mixing until there are no clumps, clumps would be bad in this situation.
  • Carefully fold in the cloudy egg whites, you don’t want to lose any of the leavening air bubbles you spent all of that time whipping into them.
  • Divide the batter into two greased 10-inch spring form pans and pop those ladies into a 350° oven for a tan (~45 minutes). You can tell when they are done if you shake the pan and there is no jiggle left to them.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool, they will most likely fall a little bit.
Assembly
  • Cut a few ounces (3-4) of white chocolate into curls. I used a vegetable peeler, it wasn’t a fantastic method, but it got the job done.
  • Cut both of the cakes into two layers, this will leave you with 4 layers of cake.
  • Stack the cake up, spreading the filling between each of the layers.
  • Because there was so much filling left over, I iced the cake with the filling as well. Remember, top first, then the sides.
  • Last but not least, cover the sides with the chocolate curls, and if you’re feeling arty, plop a couple of raspberries on top.

Majestic. Just plain majestic.

Like I said before, I wish there was more cake so we could have had more. It was a birthday cake to remember for a birthday to remember.

And now, for Mister’s say: This cake was fluffy and light with subtle flavors. Where the chocolate Guinness cake was sinful, this cake was heavenly. Just the right way to absolve it of its sins.