We recently celebrated Aaron’s birthday and as he’s a good friend of ours, I had the honour of making his birthday cake.
He didn’t have any idea what sort of cake he wanted, but was quite quick to say that he didn’t want chocolate. I asked him what his favourite fruits were, and he came up with peach, orange and pear. In that order. I was stumped at first… peaches aren’t in season, and using canned ones in birthday cake just doesn’t sit right with me somehow. Oranges are pretty hard to get right in-terms of flavour for curds, at least, I haven’t been able to conquer them yet… and pears… well, lets just say that I have one really good recipe for pear cake, but it’s not really the sort of cake you think of when you say ‘birthday cake’.
So after a few days worth of searching the web furiously for ideas, I came across a combination that I’d been wanting to try for a while now – White cake with orange cream filling and a good vanilla bean buttercream frosting. Unfortunately, when I tried to make the cake, a few things went wrong and I got pretty frazzled.
I made the cake the night before, to get it out of the way, with the help of two sous chefs… =) JD and my sister RM. It came out well… But when I tried to make the orange curd for the orange cream filling, something went wrong. I have no clue what, but even though the texture looked fine, on the tongue, though the flavour was kind of there, it was powdery and just… bad. I was a bit put out, all that whisking for nothing! (making curd requires constant whisking for about 6-10 mins, depending on how long your curd takes to set up)… RM’s poor arm muscles…
Cue Substitution 1: Lemon curd and cream instead of Orange.
So I made the lemon curd, emulsified the butter into it, heaved a sigh of relief and we shuffled off to our respective beds.
The next morning, I made the buttercream. The recipe I was using was one that I’ve been using for all my usual cupcakes and cakes that I’ve made in the past few years. However, just as I added the last chunk of butter, I saw all my efforts (and 8 egg whites) go to waste as it became a yellow soup instead of the beautiful white cream it was supposed to be! By this point I was feeling pretty annoyed – first the curd, now the frosting!
Murphy’s law I suppose.
Cue Substitution 2: Seven Minute Frosting. A marshmellow-y tasting frosting that, as the name suggests, is pretty much done in seven minutes! (plus point: it only used up 4 egg whites)
Once the frosting was done, I started to put the cake together, I had planned three layers, with filling in between and the frosting to go all around it. It worked pretty well until I discovered that my precious lemon cream was getting squished out of the cake by none other than the cake layers themselves! At this point, I was about ready to throw in the towel and tell the cake to stuff itself, but I couldn’t do that because it was 6.30pm and the birthday boy was coming over in about 15 minutes for dinner! I said a quick prayer, smothered the cake in the frosting and stuffed it into the fridge to (hopefully) set.
Ten minutes later, I checked on it and to my dismay, the filling was still oozing out slightly through the bottom of the cake between the cake and the frosting layer! I threw out all hope of piping anything and decided that ladyfinger biscuits would be the cake-saver of the day.
At least everyone really enjoyed it! Happy birthday Aaron! We love you heaps, you’re AWESOME!
Though I must say, because of the chapter of accidents and mishaps, I probably won’t be attempting this cake again any time soon. 🙂