Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lemon Blackberry Wedding Cake (Page 736)

  • Date: Saturday, June 23, 2007 -- 4pm
  • Location: Southborough, MA
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Chris, Richard, Anita, Richard H, Renato, Ephraim, Jack, Emilee, Teri, Terry, Marco, Mike, Tim, John, and many, many others...
  • Recipe Rating: B-

Several months before she died Michael asked me if I would take care of the food for her memorial service. I had most of it catered, but Ephraim requested that I make a cake. I went back and forth about making the big wedding cake from The Book for this event, but finally decided that Michael was always so supportive of my culinary experimentation that she would certainly have endorsed the idea. As you can see in the pictures, I chose not to tier the cake, as that seemed inappropriate for the occasion. As I was serving more people that this cake was intended for, I multiplied the cake batter by 4/3 and the frosting by 3/2 (so I would have plenty to decorate with).

The cake(s) came out really beautiful, but I wasn't happy at all with the way they tasted. This recipe was written to be as simple as possible to make. To that end, the cake is a pound cake, the layers of which hold up very well to being split, and don't crumb much. It's a joy to work with. But, really, it's a bad choice of cake for a huge layered creation like this. Pound cake is heavy, and really dense. It's also pretty dry, which is something I am very sensitive to. To the credit of whoever wrote this recipe, there is a lemon soaking syrup as part of the recipe to combat this dryness. But the cake was so dense that it wouldn't absorb much syrup. This was a problem not only because the cake was left dry but also because the syrup left a pool of liquid on top of the layers, which mixed with the blackberry jam and dripped off the sides of the unfrosted cake, making a huge, berry-colored mess. Fortunately, frosting covers a multitude of sins, but it was more than a little annoying. All the lemon flavor for the cake was also in that syrup, which mainly ran off the cake rather than absorbing, so the cake came out a little bland in addition to being dry.

Conceptually this cake was a good idea, but by dumbing-down the recipe with pound cake layers, it really ruined the cake. All that said, it was beautiful, and most people at least claimed to enjoy it. The decoration was not part of the recipe.

Here is the recipe, but if I were you I wouldn't try it.


vero said...

I give the decorating an A+!

Anonymous said...

That's too bad, because it looks like it was beautifully executed. I have a friend who's a professional patisserie in NYC, and this looks like it's up to her standards.


Well, at least you know it wasn't your fault it didn't taste as good as it looks.

Teena said...


Anonymous said...

Hi. I understand your dilemma with dry pound cake, as I've had the same experience. However, this week I baked a couple pound cakes following the recipe from the book Cake Love by Warren Brown, who once hosted a show called Sugar Rush on the Food Network.

Warren's recipe calls for sour cream, some heavy cream, and potato starch. I shared these cakes with co-workers, friends, and family, and each one of them loved how moist they were. They also had just the right crumb, but still manageable for layering and slicing without crumbling apart.

The recipe is the LCD Pound Cake in his book. He even goes one to compare, ingredient by ingredient, his recipe to the traditional pound cake recipes.

Also, the cupcake cake recipe in the Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri, had similar results, though I prefer Warren's recipe. When I do my next layer cake with pastry cream and preserves, I am going to do my layers following this recipe.

Good luck.

Teena said...

Thanks for the recommendations!