Perfect Party Cake: Daring Bakers March Challenge


Ha! I bet you thought I missed it!

Between the flood and then one of my horses getting sick with colic, and various other things, I put my back out last week and was pretty much on bedrest until we left Friday afternoon. I will update about our weekend later…but we watched food network and hgtv…which we do not get at the was wonderful and relaxing but my back required me to hit the bed as soon as I got home. So I have been popping advil all day waiting for my back to get in the mood to stand up long enough to finish the Daring Bakers Challenge.

Finally I gave up on my back and did it anyway..which should tell you how fantastically easy the impressive cake is.

lime raspberry cake

The cake lends itself to alot of different flavor variations…and is quite simple. But the buttercream….

Let me say that I have never created a buttercream I have been happy with….until today, bad back and all.

I flavored the buttercream with lime and vanilla bean (which I had recieved in my blog exchange stuff) and it is so light that you feel the silkiness before you actually taste the frosting. Exquisite.

I used the buttermilk rather than the milk.

I flavored the cake with almond and lime, filled with raspberry, and finished with lime-vanilla bean flavored buttercream…again, so silky that it melts in your mouth. Now I want to try some variations on it!

buttercream frosting recipe

This is from Dorie Greenspan, by the way…Really, try it! And if you want to see more of the Daring Bakers Challenges for this month check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll.

For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put 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.
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.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves.
Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.
Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.

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. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.

Share This Post:
    • Amy J

      Sounds luscious! Can’t wait to see pictures!

    • Marye

      Thanks Amy..:)

    • Lucy V

      Your cake looks beautiful. Lime and vanilla bean sounds like a really nice combination.

    • MyKitchenInHalfCups

      Marye I love the idea of almond and the lime! I often do the almond in angel food cakes.
      Your cake looks wonderful. Light and fluffy. Just right for a party.
      Hope you can celebrate your back doing better soon!!

    • Suzana

      Marye, your cake looks so lovely. I love the little hearts on top, matching colours with the jam! Well done.

    • Dharm

      Oh Yummm! That cake looks and sounds delicious. Great Job as always my dear friend

    • Tiffany

      How pretty!!! I sure do hope your back feels better soon!!!

    • SaraLynn

      Your cake is beautiful!
      Thanks for stopping by my place too!

    • Amber

      Beautiful cake, I love the decoration on top.

    • Jessica

      What a beautiful cake! Great job!

    • aamena

      wow you cake looks so soft and moist! fantastic! all this with your back acting up! superman!

    • megan

      Oh Marye, When it rains it pours. Your back, your husband’s pain, flood, horse, how much can a lady take? I’m glad you were able to make the challange. And I quite agree about the frosting. Exquisite.

    • Pixie

      It looks great Marye, you’re such an expert with cakes! Perhaps, you can direct me to your personal favourite recipe, that you believe is fairly easy for a beginner!

    • Marye

      lucy- thelime and vanilla bean were very ..hmm…delicately exotic? Really good
      MKiHC- thanks it really was a great combo..very delicate..
      Suzana-the hearts were a desperate attempt to say farewell to Valentine’s Day leftovers..LOL!
      Tiffany-thanks! It is getting better..I just have to be careful not to push it.
      Saralynn- thank you! I realy enjoyed your blog.
      Jessica- thanks!
      aamena-superman? not by a long shot..but really really stubborn.
      megan./.All things work together for good…. I know that this stuff is all going to culminate in a giant blessing just around the corner.
      Pixie- Try the gold cake here:
      it takes a horrid number of egg yolks but I have not made a more tender, moist cake ever. That way, if you have issues with it you can email me and I can talk you through it..LOL!

    • courtney

      I love your take on this. Wonderful.

    • Marye

      thanks courtney!

    • Bellini Valli

      DEeicious is all I can say Marye and there isn’t even any chipotle within a hundred miles of this dish…wink…wink…

    • Kevin

      Your cake looks really good. I like the pool of jam on the top. The vanilla bean buttercream also sounds really good.

    • Marye

      HA! Valli..I am planning on figuring out a way to make a chipotle buttercream…just you wait, my friend!
      Kevin..thanks! it was !

    • HoneyB

      What a great looking cake. The picture makes me want to take a big ole bite!

    • JennyBakes

      I just love how the cake looks with the jam on top. Looks lovely!

    • Astra Libris

      I am in awe of your cake! I love your addition of the lime – what a phenomenal flavor to combine with the vanilla! Your decorations are beautiful beyond compare…

      I’m so sorry to hear about your horse’s bout with colic and your injured back! I’ve definitely spent several long nights up walking a colicky horse, so I deeply sympathize… It’s not a fun way to spend a night… I hope you’re both feeling better!

    • coco

      I absolutely love your decoration! It looks too cute!

    • Donald

      Wow Marye! That looks so good, I’m pitching the recipe to the baker in my house. Well done.

    • Marye

      Honey- it is hard to look and not taste all these cakes, isn’t it?
      Astra- I am doing better, as is he. He is around 20 so I worry about him a little more.
      coco- thanks!
      Donald-it really is a great recipe!

    • Webkinz

      that is a beautiful cake. I would feel guilty eating it for sure.

    • Marye

      Why? All things in moderation, you know!

    • Paula

      your cake is so pretty! I love the little hearts. Your flavor combo is to die for! Way to be a true db’r and finish the challenge despite all your recent trouble:)

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    • Marye

      LOL thanks Paula!

    • Claire

      Looks great! I love the center. Hope your back feels better soon.

    • Marye

      Thanks Claire! It does. :)

    • laurie

      Beautifully done Marye! :)
      Hope you’ll be feeling well soon.

    • Lisa

      Love the way you decorated the top – very happy looking!

    • Big Boys Oven

      Wow so so nice andlovely done!

    • Marye

      Laurie, Lisa, and BBO- thanks! THis sure was a fun challenge..and I am even looking MORE forward to APril’s!!

    • Marie

      FAbulous as always Marye! I bet the flavours were simply wonderful with the lime and vanilla> I admire that despite your bad back, flooding and a sick horse you rose to the challenge anyways and did it so beautifully! I am in awe of you!!

    • Marye

      Hey, Marie..don’t be in awe… I am always in awe of your pictures and beautiful writing.

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