Saturday, August 8, 2009

My First Real Party Cake

So I've mentioned on a previous post that I got a job to make a birthday cake for a three-year old's birthday party. Well, I did it. And I'm finally getting around to posting about it.

So the parameters for the cake was this:
plain chiffon cake
whipped cream frosting
fresh fruit
princess themed

Having never done something like this before, I had to do a lot of research and experimenting. But I found some great recipes and experience to boot.

For the cake, I used Rose Levy Beranbaum's Orange Chiffon Cake recipe. I some how found a pdf version of the recipe, but I cannot seem to open one again. But you can go here to watch videos of her making it. I'll also include the recipe at the bottom of the post.

For the frosting, I just whipped up some slightly sweetened whipped cream to stiff peaks and tried my best to make it as smooth as possible.

I learned that putting fresh fruit in the cake is a breeze: I layered some in between the layers with some pastry cream. However, decorating with fresh fruit should only be done right before serving. It looked okay when I did it, but after driving and some wait time, the strawberries were juicing so bad...I was disappointed.

And for the other decorations, I used chocolate and outlined some Disney Princesses. These were quite the hit with the little girls, for they were fighting over which princess they got.

So without further ado, here's the cake.

I was a little rushed for time, so I didn't get to take as many pictures as I would have liked, but here are some of the sides and a different angle.I made little flowers out of blueberries, and I read somewhere in my researching that whipped cream does not hold decorations well, except for maybe sprinkles, so I used sprinkles. I wished afterwords that I hadn't, but it looked okay, I suppose.
These are the strawberries that caused me so much grief on the ride over.And another angle.

The princess decorations were the things I was most proud of, so here are some close ups of them.
Princess Jasmine. The air bubbles happened when the chocolate cooled before I had time to fill it in. It was really important that I worked quickly and with warm chocolate.

Ariel's hair looks red in this picture, but really, it turned out a little more purply. It was really hard getting a red. I just started with white candy melts for all of these and then colored them accordingly with gel food colors. The most difficult part was getting the right color before the candy seized up on me....I didn't always win.

Princess Belle. She was my favorite princess when I was a girl. I could watch that movie over and over again.
Cinderella. The most annoying thing about making these figures was the Disney music that popped into my head inevitably every stinkin' time I worked on them. I don't know how many times I sung "Cinderelly, cinderelly..." And I don't even know many of those words. And neither does Jacob. (Yeah, he was singing, too.)

Vanilla Chiffon Cake
adapted from All-American Orange Chiffon Cake

(I used weight measurements, but I'll include the volume measurements, too.)

225 grams (2 1/4 cups) sifted cake flour (I actually used all-purpose and it worked out fine.)
300 grams (1 1/2 cups) superfine sugar (I used regular sugar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
7 large eggs separated plus 3 extra whites
grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup water (I used whey from making yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoonss cream of tartar

I used a quarter sheet pan and greased and parchment papered the bottom only.

In a large mixer bowl combine the flour, all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder and salt and beat for 1 minute to mix them well. (I did this by hand.) Make a well in the center and add the oil, egg yolks, water, lemon zest and extract and beat 1 minute or until smooth. (Again, I did this by hand.)

In another large mixer bowl, preferably with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites unitl frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form, when the beater is raised. Beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a large balloon wire whisk, slotted skimmer or large rubber spatula until just blended. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for40-55 minutes (I don't remember the exact time...sorry.) or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out cleam and the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center.