Recipe 89 from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
WW Note: This cake is 21 points a slice! Have a nice day 😍
This recipe can be found in Deb Perelman’s “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” on page 262 or from the following site:
I guess I’m kind of embarrassed to make these pictures public but the cake tasted way too good for me to be too bashful. I think my lopsided cake and repulsive cake decorating skills should be ignored and a deep sense of trust should be established so that I can tell you it’s worth it to make this cake.
I’ve said it before but I wasn’t kidding when I said I was dreading this chapter. This was another one of the cakes that I wasn’t looking forward to, though, anything was better than the crepe cake 🤦🏻♀️. I figured a layer cake should, quite literally, be a “piece of cake”.
In a lot of ways I think that’s actually true. I’ve made cakes before and I’ve made layer cakes before and while the decorating is always my least favorite part it’s a familiar thing for the most part. The thing that got me this time was the frosting. It was a meringue frosting and I have never done a meringue before.
Overall I think I did a pretty good job but I think what was missing was swiftness in assembly. I was able to get the first layer of meringue on the outside of the cake and put the cake in the refrigerator before the meringue started weakening on me. So there’s that.
However when I started to put the remaining meringue in a pastry bag to pipe the top it started to get goopy. I ended up putting my whisk attachment back on my KitchenAid and adding a little more cream of tartar to the frosting and whipping it until it got back into shape. I listened to my gut this time and I’m glad that I did because it made the piping, while very messy, a little more doable in the end.
I probably wouldn’t dread cake decorating or cupcake decorating so much if it wasn’t for my inability to use a piping bag. I would benefit greatly from a cake decorating class as I’m bound to pick up some tips and tricks. I know it shouldn’t be as difficult as I make it to be and yet here I am. Did you see this cake? Case closed.
I need to steam something that went well, I would say I was probably most proud of the ganache. I was surprised how easy it came together and that the cooling method that she suggested worked beautifully.
Assembling the cake was an event all its own. In the past I’ve seen cake decorators suggest that you flip the cake going on the top layer so that the flat bottom part is actually the top which makes it easier to ice and gives you that squared off cake look if you’re going for it. But what I forgot to do was level off the dome before I flipped it over…. so it was a wobbly cake. I ended up putting some toothpicks in to act as dowels and it held the cake together a lot better. The final cake you can still tell is a little lopsided but thats way better than how it looked before… that should give you an idea of how bad it was.
Okay, my favorite tasting part of the cake was the actual cake. I was so impressed with the batter flavor with that graham cracker dust acting as a flour. And with a little bit of cinnamon 😍. It remindes me of a cinnamon graham cracker. Deb Perelman absolutely nailed the flavor in the cake.
It got me thinking after I was done that this would be way easier in cupcake form and while searching for links to the recipe I found that Deb had already had the same thought and literally made the cupcakes I was envisioning trying out myself. You can get the link to those cupcakes up above.
If we’re going by pictures, this is where everything started to go south. The frosting smoothed on easily so I’m grateful for that. But it started to take a funky melted consistency after some time which I attributed to a temperature change. It was still easy to spread but definitely wasn’t frosting.
I’m writing this blog post a few days after making it and I can say that it never really firms up like frosting does on a cake. It’s a little more bubbly then what I was expecting, even a few days later. I would probably most definitely advocate for trying something else to cover the cake that’s not too sweet but compliments a graham cracker and chocolate. I’m thinking a marshmallow frosting but I’m not exactly sure how to make that….hmmm.
This picture makes me laugh. When I saw that I was going to need a kitchen torch for this recipe I was excited because I have one that I haven’t used. But when I pulled it out I realize that it was empty and I went to look for a butane canister to fill it up. My go-to place to look for everything is Amazon because it’s easy and it means I don’t have to drive all over town trying to find out who sells what I’m looking for. However they’re not really happy about sending you butane in the mail so I was stuck when Amazon said that was a no-go
Then I planned to go to my parent’s house where my dad has a plethora of canisters of butane that he uses in his lighters to light his cigars. However, by the time I got around to making the recipe I realized I hadn’t stopped by and I wasn’t about to go run and do it now since I was stuck at home with no car.
So this was my second choice…looking around the house to find my candle lighter and using that instead. It was a pathetic attempt at a torch and honestly I think I killed it trying to give it even a little bit of a toasted marshmallow look on the top of the cake…said nobody ever. It’s seriously lacking and I blame it on my janky work around.
But you know what… all the decorating I could have done on the cake wouldn’t have made much of a difference on the taste. And the taste, was good and is still good a few days later. It’s not too sweet which is a big deal for me because that’s usually why I don’t like cake. So, as much as I think a marshmallow frosting would be better I also worry about it making it too sweet to eat. I see why she chose to go with the lighter frosting.
Bless this little lopsided guy. I think he’s the best one so far! I encourage you to give this one a try and please tell me if you have better success with the frosting then I did!