My Daring Baker Debut

I joined a little group called The Daring Bakers this month... perhaps you've heard of them?

After being accepted into the DB group back in February, I had to bide my time and worry what sort of challenge would arise for my March debut. Would I have to make some sort of yeast creation for which I have zero talent? Might it be an exotic pastry for which I have no knowledge in preparing? Or would I find that I had to bake one of those desserts that look like they belong in the window of a Parisian bakery? Though I was frightened at the thought of being handed any one of those tasks, I also found myself hoping that I'd get one of them. See, there's something about being daring that makes this an intriguing group. If it were easy, or if I already had confidence in baking the darn thing- what's the point? I find myself cheering... Bring it on Daring Bakers! I can do it! I can bake anything! Or at least I'll try...!

This month's challenge was selected by Morven at Food, Art and Random Thoughts. She chose the Perfect Party Cake from Dorie Greenspan's must-have cookbook: Baking From My Home to Yours."Wonderful!" I thought. I can bake a cake- no problem! The challenge was going to be following the directions to a T, and deciding how to decorate the cake. Since I was hosting Easter brunch, this would be the dessert.

The cakes turned out perfectly. I chose to make mine in 8-inch pans rather than 9 as I prefer a taller layer cake. They baked up just right, lemon-scented and all, and were very easy to turn out onto the racks. They were firm enough to be handled easily but delicate enough for a nice, light cake. I found myself scraping the crumbs off of the parchment paper to attempt to get a hint of what my creation would taste like.

The layers sliced apart nice and evenly without too much effort at all. I spread my layers with raspberry jam, Dorie's buttercream and halved raspberries.

So let's talk about Dorie's buttercream recipe. Maybe I don't care too much for buttercream...It was good, but I did feel that it was far too rich for a layer cake. I had planned to frost the cake with it, but after spreading it on several layers, I decided to go with whipped cream to frost the rest of the cake.

I really feel like this was the best way to go. Buttercream all the way around might have been a bit too much after a heavy Easter brunch.

Not being a cake decorator in any sense of the word, I had no avenue to go *exotic* with this cake.

Easter screamed *raspberries!* to me, so I went the safe route with a classic raspberry decor.

Pretty ok job for a non cake-decorator, eh? My 6 year old was impressed and that's all that matters to me :)

The cake was devoured by all of my Easter guests, and I was right... the whipped cream frosting was the way to go. The buttercream provided all of the richness that was needed within the cake. The actual cake base I thought was very, very good. I would repeat the cake base recipe any time. The buttercream... I might look for something that suits me a little better. I think a lemon curd might work nicely too.

So worry for naught, this challenge has been had. Dare issued: I baked, I decorated, I served, I ate and best of all... I conquered my first Daring Baker challenge. Bring on April!

This recipe can be found HERE (or in Dorie's book, of course!)

And you can see all of the Daring Baker's HERE.