1) Let’s talk about how much butter is used in this recipe. It is this much:
And the majority of this much butter went into the frosting.
2) No one will be surprised to learn that I did not make a three-layer cake as suggested—I made cupcakes instead. I’m sorry, but my frosting skills need Too. Much. Work. to justify practicing them on such a cake as this. Note: If you, like me, favor cupcakes over layers, be very gentle when taking the cakes out of their little pots. They’re a bit fragile.
3) Raspberry and chocolate is a favorite combination of mine, and I feel like it’s one that you just don’t find to often. Why is this? Why does everyone always go chocolate and strawberries? Viva la raspberry!
4) Though dear Christ, pushing the raspberries through a strainer is a bitch, and I do not recommend it. At any one time in the straining process, I used the back of a wooden spoon, the top of an old-school meat tenderizer, and my bare hands to push the damn berries through. After awhile I just gave up and figured whatever I’d managed to push through would have to be enough. It’s tedious work and honestly it looked as if I’d slaughtered a berry patch. Which, contrary to popular belief, is not a good look.
5) I’ve noticed that the recipes in this cake book often call for fine sea salt. I do not have fine sea salt, nor am I going to purchase it any time soon. So, sorry baking gods, but Kosher’s just going to have to suffice.
6) This recipe specifies using full-fat sour cream in the cake, and I respect that like you wouldn’t believe. None of that namby-pamby light sour cream slop. And why aren’t more goods baked with sour cream? I’m going to start a campaign. Viva la sour cream!
7) Going back to the frosting, despite all the butter (or possibly because of it) I do not care for this book’s buttercream recipe at all, and will use a different recipe if I encounter a cake recipe that calls for it again. The raspberry addition was truly its only saving grace; without it, the frosting tasted about as good as the buttercream from Cake Love, which is to say, it didn’t taste good at all and has about as much flavor as buttered paper. Also, does anyone else remember when Cake Love was actually a thing? And Warren Brown was the lobbyist-turned-baker, and it was a novelty of sorts? Is it still a thing? Ah, memories. Still doesn’t change the fact that I found his product to be dry and tasteless, but good on him for kickstarting a baking bonanza.
8) A big part of my consternation with the frosting is that for whatever reason it involves cooking the egg whites. The who in the what? And on top of that, you’re supposed to use a candy thermometer to check for the right (“really hot”) temperature.
9) Note to Self: If ever renege on my earlier statement and make this buttercream again, buy a candy thermometer.
10) Note to Self, Part II: A meat thermometer is not a good substitution.
11) Typically when I make cupcakes, I taste one once cooled, pre-frosting. QA purposes, of course. But for whatever reason, I didn’t with this recipe. People seemed to love them just fine, though, so it all worked out in the end, my faulty memory aside. However, I did taste the batter, which was reminiscent of a creamy, melted fudgesicle. So keep in mind: If your batter doesn’t taste good, your cake won’t taste good. (In a similar vein of “don’t cook with crappy wine,” you know.) But if it tastes like melted fudgesicles, then it will be delicious.
12) Unless you’re making a vanilla or other non-chocolate flavored cupcake, in which case something has gone terribly awry.