Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Midweek Roundup: The Princess Rules!

Photo by Joan
Alpha Baker Joan

This cake seemed to make us all a little giddy.  We were all so taken with the idea of a royal cake that we played it for all it was worth.

Take Vicki, for example--she named her cake, crowned her with the sweetest little tiara, swore at her, and ultimately found her "delectable."  Vicki also pointed out that her relationship with Princess Ava Wilder-Zahn the Delectable was going to force her to walk all the way to Utah with her Fitbit on her wrist.

Orin also made a crown for the princess--a chocolate tiara that she shaped out of melted chocolate on a crown-shaped stencil and chocolate hearts thrown in for good measure.  She also sang the princess's praises:  "Oh my, oh my ... what a cake!!!  The perfect dessert after a heavy meal, or any meal, how about the perfect cake as the meal itself!  It's very light and moist; no single flavor overpowers another.  It has just the right amount of vodka to make it interesting, but not intoxicating."

And although Catherine didn't make a crown, she topped her princess with a festive sparkler, although she did note that "the princess is a lush" who "soaked up a phenomenal amount of vodka-spiked tea."  Even if Catherine  seemed to criticize the hard-drinking royal gal, she would have liked to make the princess even lushier--"the custard cream layers could benefit from some alcohol," she believed.

Others were surprised at how easy it was to assemble this complicated-looking cake with 5 pages of instructions.

Faithy did a lot of work ahead of time--reading the recipe at least three times to get everything straight in her mind and starting the cake at 7:30 p.m.--this woman is fearless!  She started with the pastry cream and baked the cake next, watching Korean TV dramas between steps.  Her verdict on the buttercream?  "Sinfully good," tasting a little like ice cream and hard to resist eating all by itself.

Michele too thought it was "a simple project, despite the multiple pages of instructions."  She fed the cake to the three painters who were working in her house (lucky painters!), all of whom "declared the Polish Princess to be wonderful."  Michele was one of several people who observed that, despite all the butter in the buttercream, the cake was "light and the buttercream layers are surprisingly light and fluffy."  She was surprised to discover that although the cake "looks impressive, it's really not filling."

Anna didn't agree that making the cake was a simple project.  She thought the process "was long, but the end result was well worth it."  In her house, "everyone who has tasted this cake has loved it!" Anna also got some interesting information on Polish vodka from the person who sold her the vodka.  She discovered that what makes the recommended Ultimat Polish Vodka special is that it's made from "a blend of rye, wheat and potato - the wheat for smoothness, rye for complexity, and potato for richness."  One reason it's fun to read all the blogs is that we end up getting so many tidbits of information!

There were not as many changes in ingredients as is usual for the group, but Milagritos made a few.  She changed vodka to whiskey, black tea to chai, and omitted raisins (she also added pinches of salt here and there).  But the results were still great:  "I just shared it last night with my in-laws and everyone loved it.  The cake was moist, the flavour was balanced and ... it wasn't too sweet."  Her family, she added, "all made very happy noises during its consumption."

Kristina's tasters had mixed reactions:  her husband hated the raisins (but he always hates raisins, and besides, she warned him!)  One guest didn't like the crunchy chocolate, and another wasn't crazy about the walnuts.  But two others thought it perfect and didn't know what the critiquers were talking about.  (Kristina must have a knack for encouraging honesty in her tasters--most of the people I know wait until they're outside my house to complain about the walnuts.

You wouldn't know it from looking at the picture of the week, but Joan's first cake didn't work out that well.  In fact, it was kind of a disaster.  In fact, she offered a prize to the first person who could figure out what went wrong with her cake, but she dusted herself off and started all over again.  The second cake looked beautiful.  (I just checked Joan's blog again, and she still hasn't given away the prize for solving the Mystery of the Exploding Cake.

In contrast to the people who trash their first attempt and start over again is Jen, who says, "I am not a throw away and redo type of person, so I soldiered on.  I am also not a perfectionist in any way, shape, or form, so I wasn't fretting about my overbaked cake."  And it turns out that she didn't need to fret--the vodka-tea syrup dousing took care of any incipient dryness.  Jen also refused to bring out the Fitbit.  In her opinion, taking "a regular ol' pastry cream and enrich[ing] it with MORE is a really really good idea."  It's always nice to be around people who are this enthusiastic about butter.

But we're not all on the same page here.  Kim has been dreading this cake.  She signed up for a weight loss program and the Alpha Bakers around the same time, and was dismayed to learn that one piece of cake equals 10 points (which apparently means that if you eat a slice of cake, you don't get much else to eat that day.  Except celery, maybe.  Still. she loved the cake and the syrup, but wasn't "thrilled with the buttercream," preferring the idea of "straight pudding" to the buttercream.  And she also got sick while in the midst of assembling the cake.  All in all, it seems that Kim and the Princess were just not meant to be a match.

While Kim was dreading this cake, Raymond has been looking forward to it ever since he got the cookbook.  And his high expectations were satisfied:  he describes it as "just a marvelous cake that everyone should  have in their repertoire," with a "complex but not overly sweet taste" that could easily serve as a fancy dessert or a homey tea cake.  Raymond also gave a free tip about making assembly easier by keeping the cake frozen--a hint that several people adopted.

It's nice that we take care of each other.  And for everyone fretting about the amount of BPS (butter per serving), see you in Utah!

Next time:  it's another cookie recipe.  (I can't help it if the cookie section is bigger than the pies, cakes or breads).  I hope the Lemon Jammies will break Monica's streak of bad luck with cookies, and I look forward to seeing how people will fill this simple lemon cookie.


  1. Great round up! I found out I missed out reading Anna's blog post. I just went to visit her. :)

  2. Marie--I loved this roundup! This was a great recipe, or at least, I thought so. It even made a buttercream believer out of my daughter and that is saying something BIG! You always do such a great job of pulling together all of our results. Thanks and I hope you are enjoying the April weather!

  3. Missed mine, which could have fallen in with the 'substitutions' section: I used pecans and dried cherries instead of walnuts and raisins.

    1. Sorry, Nancy--I don't know how I missed it. Good post. I wondered how it would be with dried cherries, but pecans didn't occur to me.

  4. Well, it has lemon, my husband loves lemon, so I'm hoping, like you said, this one will be the one to break my cookie mojo.

  5. Thanks for the round up Marie. This was a really fun week with everyone playing up the 'royal connection'.

  6. All the posts on the Polish Princess were good. Fun reading all around. Thanks Marie!

  7. ב''ה

    This week was a bit of a fail for me.

    Finally posted.

  8. Joan's picture is perfect, especially on this gorgeous plate! Fun fun write up. Boy, this cake was a lot of work but so worth it.