I wisely chose a Lemon Blueberry cake that I found on this blog. Two reasons for this. First, it's not even summer and it's freaking hot already. Nothing says summer like the fresh taste of lemon and blueberries. Second, I have this weird "thing" about the amount of effort I put into something. Despite being proven wrong on multiple occasions, I feel like the more effort you put into any one thing, the more it says to the recipient about how you feel. Oh, and the more people should like/appreciate it. Again, doesn't always work out that way for me, but I'm working through it.
This cake has several of pain in the a*$ (PITA) elements to it but they are all very much worth it. That being said, I cheated on several of them without a decrease in the appreciation for the cake, so maybe I've had a breakthrough on some of my issues.
Baking PITA #1 - Parchment paper lining
I groan every time I read this instruction. "Butter and flour pans and line with parchment paper". Despite my interest in doing lots of work on a cake, prep isn't my thing. It's like pinning before sewing or taping before painting. I really just want to get to the fun stuff. Normally I might skip this step and my cake would stick to the bottom, then I would be mad at myself later. But my mother in law was here (here comes cheat number 1) and offered to help and I passed off this task without hesitation. Thanks Cindy!
Baking PITA #2 - Zesting
I suck. I didn't take any pictures of this. You tell me how I'm supposed to zest a lemon and take a picture of it at the same time. Had to be done.
Baking PITA #3 - Separating Eggs
WHY do recipes need to require egg whites? And 7 of them at that. I did this SEVEN times!
Except for this time, when the yolk fell through the separator and then broke into the whites when I tried to remove it. Woopsie!
Baking PITA #4 - Marbling
Maybe it's only a PITA for people like me, who can't seem to get such a simple task done well. I reserved a cup of the batter and mixed it with some blueberry jam (see Baking PITA #5) and dropped some blobs into each pan. I'm not sure why, but it's less swirled and more like blobs with a few swirls around them. Oh well, it still tastes the same, right?
Baking PITA #5 - Making your own jam/curd/etc
Lemon curd, cream filling, blueberry jam...Whatever it is, making it for cake layers is a bigger PITA than just filling them with buttercream. This one's worth it though. Cheat number 2 comes in here. I made the blueberry jam for something else a few weeks ago and saved the leftovers. It was still a PITA to make, just not today :)
Baking PITA #6 - Clean up
Worst part of baking ever. Especially since I use a ton of dishes. I swear that empty beer bottle hanging out in the back is not mine!
By no means was that a comprehensive list of ALL Baking PITA's, just the ones that occurred in this instance :)
Here's a shot of the side. I can't show the top because I'd be super embarrassed that I didn't start the piping in the right place, so the word "birthday" is all jammed into the right side. Plus, my husband probably doesn't want his name out there since his age is out in the open. The lean comes from me not following directions. I used three 9 inch pans instead of 8 inch as the recipe called for. I don't have three 8 inch pans so the layers came out a little thin. And with a little lean.
Just because he's so damn cute. He was really happy to help out with the candles. So much so that he asked us to light them after he blew them out so he could blow them out again :)
Regardless of the fact that it was blobs instead of swirls, it was a huge hit.
Note: I didn't use the lemon buttercream in the recipe. Ever since a disaster with some swiss meringue buttercream, the idea of making a frosting that calls for use of a candy thermometer is immediately dismissed. If you want to be lazy like me, here's the recipe for cheat number 3. I did have quite a bit extra so if you frost sparingly, you can probably get by with half of this.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
2 Cups room temperature butter
8 Cups powdered sugar
Juice and Zest of 2 lemons
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract