Saturday, April 28, 2012

Celebrating with Cake and a CONTEST!

Happy April 28th!  This is a super special day to me because today is my baby girl's first birthday!!  Yes, I can't believe that an entire year has passed us by already.  It has gone by with incredible speed and looking back, yes, there have been some bad days, some tired days, and a lot of messy days but I wouldn't trade one day for anything in the world.  The amazing thing when you have children is that you almost get to re-experience the wonders of life; you discover what ice cream tastes like for the first time, feel grass in between your toes again, and believe in magic.  I love my kids so much and they bring so much joy into my life. 

Kate, I know you can't read this, but mommy loves you so very much.  You make my life so full of happiness and excitement.  I look forward to the many many years to come, being at your side, cheering you on.  I love you - happy first birthday, my sweet little girl!
We did already have Kate's big birthday party last weekend, however, we can't let her real birthday go by without doing a little something special.  So today we are having a small BBQ in her honor! 
We didn't actually have a birthday cake for her last weekend either (just a cupcake) so today I made her a very special cake from my all time favorite baking recipe book  - Baking From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

White Celebration Cake!

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves, stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

2.For the Cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3.Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

4.Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.

5.Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one-third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.

6.Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.

7.Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

8.Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)

9.For the Buttercream: Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or other large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat.

10.Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.

11.Once all the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. During this time, the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again. On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

12.To Assemble the Cake: Using a sharp, serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Spread it with one third of the preserves. Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream. Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with the third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream left over). Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top. Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

**STORING: The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to 2 days.
And there you have it, AMAZINGLY delicious cake that you can use for any important celebration!  I know the girls are going to love this cake and I hope to make it more often for our special occasions so that when they are older, they can look back at this recipe and want to recreate it themselves (maybe when they are celebrating their little one's first birthday! :)
LOL - do you think she liked it?!

NOW - don't go just yet!!  I have one more thing to cover!  I noticed this morning that I have hit a small milestone on my little blog.  I am happy to have 200 followers now!! 
In honour of this I want to have my very first give-away!!  When thinking about what I wanted to pass forward as a token of my appreciation I knew instantly what would go perfectly in co-ordination with today's post!

SO, I am giving away a brand new copy of the fabulous Ms. Dorie Greenspan's cookbook,
"Paris Sweets"!!!
 Here is a link to the amazon listing for the cookbook, if you want to check out reviews or details on it.  Today is April 28th, so I'll leave the contest open until 9am (mountain time) on May 6th - so about one week. 

To enter the contest, please just leave a comment in the comment section below.  If you pin this posting to one of your pinterest boards, you'll get two entries (PLEASE say in the comment section if you've pinned it AND a way that I can get a hold of you, should you win).
If you want to learn more about the amazing Ms. Dorie Greenspan and her recipe books, here is a link to her website.  Below are a few pics I found from other blogs who have made recipes out of this book (just to your senses tingling!!)


  1. Happy 1st Birthday, Kate! The recipe sounds great! I'd love to see a photo of the finished product! :)

  2. This looks great- I love baking! twobeescreations at gmail dot com

  3. How adorable your daughter is and I love the banner on the front of her highchair! Happy birthday Kate! Yes this cake really sounds yummy! Also pinned post on my pinterest page

  4. Thank you for the generous giveaway opportunity! Happy Birthday to Kate!

    info (at) 1337 art . com

    Pinterest isn't working right now for me.

  5. Happy Birthday to Kate! That cookbook looks fabulous! jellyndesigns (at) yahoo .com

  6. I don't normally enter contests but since this one closes on my birthday (May 6th) I thought I'd give it a try. : )

    The cookbook looks really amazing!

    I pinned this on my page

    mayawade (at)

    Thanks and Happy Birthday to Kate! What a cutie! : )

  7. Oh, I found you through the CANADACanadians Etsy team. : )

  8. Well, you know I pinned your pin! :) Yay me, and what a DELICIOUS looking cake!!! Well done, my friend! :)

  9. MMmmm, that cake sounds delish! I'd love to win the book. :)
    ennadoolf [at] gmail [dot] com

  10. thanks for the giveaway! I love dessert cookbooks!

  11. Aww! Happy birthday to your little sweet pea! Thank you for the giveaway!
    Halochanel at gmail dot com

  12. Sue Bunting pinned this post on Pinterest

  13. I love dessert recipes! I've also pinned one of the pics here:)

  14. I am a desert making fanatic! My poor family will have some fast thrown together dinner, often microwaved, but an elaborate rich dessert that I worked all day on!
    GFC:Mechele Johnson

  15. I pinned the giveaway here....

  16. I think I'd be licking the plate too... yum!! Thank you for having this wonderful giveaway, I have such a sweet tooth that this would be the ultimate gift for myself for mother's day.
    asmithonline at yahoo dot ca

  17. Cute cake and love the bunting on it - I just pinned it! @REMAKINGMEMORIES

  18. Your little Kate is adorable. I have a granddaughter, Katie. The cookbook looks fantastic! I pinned this
    @Mary Avlos-Dailey

  19. This cake looks delicious. Wishing Kate a Happy Birthday

    I pinned this on Pinterest.

  20. I forgot. Autumn Kelly -

    Thanks for this opportunity.

  21. What an endorsement for cake: your little one covered in crumbs! LOL Thanks for this delicious giveaway!

  22. The cake looks incredible! What a lucky 1 year old!!

  23. Oh my goodness, what adorable pastries!

    kcindyloo at gmail dot com

  24. great giveawqay-happy birthday to the little one!

  25. pinned the giveaway
    under Frugalwahms

  26. Happy birthday little one...what an awesome cake for your 1st birthday!!

  27. Happy belated birthday little one :) My youngest turned 1 in November :)

  28. THe chicken soup sounds AMAZING!!!

  29. That cake sounds amazing!!!!! Love me some raspberry.
    I pinned the post here:
    Thanks for the giveaway; I love making sweets, but usually anything "Parisian" is so intimidating for me!

  30. Love the pic of Kate with the cake!

  31. Oh, this cookbook looks fabulous. I love Paris and I love sweets :)

  32. The cake looks amazing! :)

  33. Kate and the cake are both darling!

    scrappin_sis02 at yahoo dot com