The New Year and Perfect Cake

real Amy’s Bread cake from wonggawei on flickr

My birthday project this year was to make the perfect cake.  When I lived in New York I often celebrated special occasions (and some random grey days) with a slice of yellow cake with pink buttercream frosting from Amy’s Bread in the Village.  It’s important to mention that I used to hate cake.  Too often it is dry with overly sweet frosting.  Why eat cake when I could be eating pie?  This simple yellow cake with pink buttercream frosting is the cake that made me like cake.  It is a perfect cake.  Luckily, James Beard has the recipe online, and I attempted to make it for my birthday.

The frosting calls for fondant, and I had intentions of buying some from a friendly neighborhood bakery.  However, I found that bakeries like to take their Christmas holidays with everyone else, so instead I forgot the fondant and altered the ingredient amounts as suggested.  I woke up and made the frosting before heading to a morning birthday yoga class, and with just one drop of red food coloring it turned out rosy, sweet, and perfect.

Since I spent the day being outside in the beautiful winter sun and doing indulgent birthday things, the cake preparation was put off until late afternoon.  And since I had only one 9” cake pan, I had to bake one layer, remove it, bake another layer, remove it.  (Carey recommended this trick for creating perfectly sized parchment paper rounds.)  This means I was rushing around getting dressed and frosting the cake five minutes before I was expected at an Indian restaurant ready to ring in the new year.   The cake looked divine, and my fabulous roommate helped me rig a genius transportation container involving a metal mixing bowl and plastic wrap.  When I opened the cake just before the midnight countdown, well, let’s just say, the cake could’ve cooled longer.  I had expected rosy, beautiful cake perfection, but the second layer had slid off the first revealing a lopsided mess.

my lopsided cake

NONETHELESS, the cake was delicious, and people ate it.  Plus, by that time I was full of enough wine to not care.  It wasn’t until the next day that I lamented even bothering with so much butter and sugar and time.   And then I heard this obit of Eva Zeisel on All things Considered:

Happy 2012, people!

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2 thoughts on “The New Year and Perfect Cake

  1. Aaaaahhh. It still looks delicious, despite the seismic cake activity!

    I finally got around to making those rosemary gin cocktails earlier this evening. 3 oz. gin, 2 oz. rosemary simple syrup, 1 oz. lemon juice, plus club soda in a 12 oz. glass filled with ice…YES. Way too easy to drink. I think I’d like to try a variation with lime juice, tonic, and a few dashes of bitters.

  2. I’m still nibbling on buttercream frosting in my fridge and testing it on a variety of things such as toast. Also, I had those cocktails last night, and they were phenomenal. Thanks for the recommendation!

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