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 was 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!