Over the course of the years since Baking From My Home to Yours has been out (I can’t believe it wasn’t published just yesterday), I’ve received a few messages from bakers who’ve had problems with the Perfect Party Cake. I haven’t been able to figure out exactly why some people have problems and others turn out fabulous cakes every time. In part, I think the culprit might have been the flour – some people were using self-rising cake flour (I tested the recipe with Swann’s Down Cake Flour, which is NOT self-rising). But just to be sure that everyone gets the perfect Perfect Party Cake, I asked Nick Malgieri, who created the cake and gave me the recipe for my book, to help me put together a tipsheet for us.
Happy Baking! As always, I look forward to seeing all your wonderful sweets.
TIPS FOR MAKING A PERFECT PERFECT PARTY CAKE
- Make sure the butter is VERY soft, the consistency of mayonnaise, before mixing
- Have the egg white and buttermilk at room temperature too
- If there is grated lemon zest in the batter, makes sure it is very finely grated as with a microplane, not a box grater – large pieces of zest can weigh down the batter and prevent full leavening from taking place
- Use buttermilk instead of milk (the acidity promotes faster setting during baking and also weakens the gluten in the batter)
- Buy a fresh can of baking powder
- Use bleached, not unbleached, all-purpose flour (If you’re using cake flour, make sure it is NOT self-rising)
- Test the layers for doneness with the point of a knife or a toothpick rather than relying on a timer to determine doneness – if the layers are over baked and a little dry, the texture could seem rubbery
- Wrap and chill or freeze the layers as soon as they cool – leaving them uncovered at room temperature for a long time could also dry them out