Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake

This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was, as usual, a challenge. Morven of Food Art and Random Thoughts chose Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake from Baking: From my Home to Yours. And let me tell you, it is perfect for a party. I’ve never made a layer cake. I decided to make mini-cakes. You might think this is cheating, but I think it was harder than just frosting 1 layer cake. I had 9 little cakes to frost! I was going to be taking the cake to a friend’s house and didn’t want everyone to think I was weird snapping photos of the cake once the first piece was cut. And this way, hubby could have some for himself.

I followed the directions almost exactly. I know some other DBers got daring in their flavor combinations, but I love lemon and raspberry so I stuck with it.

Here are my ingredients ready to be beaten, stirred, and shaken into a wonderful cake. I forgot to get the buttermilk out of the fridge prior to the photo shoot. Don’t worry, I did use the buttermilk in the cake!

This is what happened when I added the 2nd part of the dry ingredients. I wasn’t careful enough and flour flew everywhere. I know this picture is not the best, but it was funny. I have always been a messy baker and probably always will be.

As you can see, my cakes didn’t rise very much during their time in the oven. They were definitely done since the sides were pulling away from the pan. Based on what other DBers have said throughout the month, it seems like a lot of other people’s cakes didn’t rise much either.

To make my mini-cakes, I baked the cake as directed in two 9″ cake pans. I then used a 3″ round cookie cutter (biscuit cutter would also work here) to cut 7 three-inch rounds out of each 9″ pan. So I had 14 mini-cakes.

Then I cut each one in half horizontally with a serrated knife. I didn’t want to have 4 layers for my mini-cakes because they would have been out of proportion. And I wouldn’t have had enough for hubby to have one! So I decided to make them with 3 layers each. Thus, I got 9 mini-layer-cakes with one layer leftover to taste-test. I also got to taste-test all the scraps from cutting out the rounds. This cake is amazing. I love the texture of this cake.

I’ve recently fallen in love with Swiss buttercream. The DB Yule Log that we made in December was the first time I had ever made it and I’m in love! Don’t be intimidated by the eggs. The frosting is worth the extra effort.

As I mentioned, I used the lemon buttercream and raspberry preserves for my filling.

I definitely underestimated the amount of time it would take to decorate my mini-cakes. I found that the buttercream and preserves were very slippery and the layers slid around when I tried to frost the sides. So I decided to apply a crumb-coat of frosting first and throw them into the freezer for about 5 minutes. Then it was easier to apply the final layer of frosting. I didn’t worry about making it pretty because I knew I wanted to put coconut on the outside.

Everyone at the get together I went to loved these little guys. The texture of the cake was AMAZING. So soft and smooth. I will definitely be making this cake again.

Thanks to Morven for hosting this month. Click here for the entire recipe.

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13 Responses to “Pumpkin Cranberry Pecan Upside Down Cake”

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    1
    Sarah — November 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    This is the perfect recipe for all of the leftover ingredients I have! Hubby made me buy a 3-pound bag of cranberries because he loves them, but you only use 12 ounces for cranberry sauce so I’ve got about 2 pounds of cranberries left to use, plus lots of pumpkins and pecans. This is definitely being made this weekend!

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    Megan — November 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Oh man. That does sound good. And I know it must be if you’re repeating it because I am the same way. I’m going to make a cranberry maple pecan cake on Friday… but this is really tempting too.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    3
    Stephanie — November 24, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Oh, man! If I only had more time for Thanksgiving dessert table – this is certainly one I would try.

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    We Are Not Martha — November 24, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Oooh this cake looks so ooey gooey and delicious! I wish there weren’t already so many desserts coming to my Thanksgiving table because I’d totally make this!

    Sues

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    Fun and Fearless in Beantown — November 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    This looks super delicious and your photos look great too! Happy Thanksgiving to you and hubby!

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    Shannon — November 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    ooooh, my, i must try this 🙂 happy thanksgiving!!

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    Nutmeg Nanny — November 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    What a fabulous recipe! All the flavors sound delicious to me.

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    Shandra — November 29, 2010 at 4:45 am

    This looks amazing! It looks so moisty yum, I should try to make this sometime, Love your blog! this is my first comment for you so I thought I’d show some appreciation for your blog, because I’ve been drooling over all your recipes for a while
    Shandra-http://shandrita.tumblr.com/

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    "pup" — November 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Your photos are beautiful! The pictures I took of the actual cake didn’t look to appealing, the photos I took of the bite sized cake bites looked pretty though lol
    Good job!!

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    freefoodboston — December 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    What a great recipe! You totally had me at caramel/pecan/cranberry topping.

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    Sophie — January 1, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Just finally made this cake and it is astoundingly good! Truly the best dessert I’ve had in…oh, a very long time. Thank you for your post!

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    Nancy Blume-Watson — November 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I tried to be good, I really did! This cake was so delicious, I not only had seconds, I had a piece for breakfast the next day and for a snack later that day. This one goes on my Christmas menu!

    • beantownbaker — December 1st, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

      I doubled the recipe this time and you’ll remember the middle didn’t quite bake through. It also spilled over a bit, so next time, I’ll put a pan under the cake in the oven.

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