Frosting a cake is hard! Especially when you are a left-handed and have a serious lack of imagination. I know how that feels like, when I tried to decorate the banana cake with caramel espresso frosting. I am contemplating of enrolling myself for the Wilton Cake Decorating classes once I move to Atlanta. I guess I need some help in the decorating department.
Meanwhile, I have found some pretty simple ways to go about the dreadful decorating task when the "I need to bring a presentable dessert to a dinner party" situation arises. Here's what works for me:
1. Keep it Simple. Use one piping tip that can do the job of simple decoration. In my case, it's the Wilton decorating tip #199.
2. Use lots of fruits to disguise the uneven frosting. Berries are natural beauty, sprinkle them however you like, they will turn out pretty. I used blueberries here because they were on sale in the market. As you may already know, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are suitable candidates too.
Voila, 2 simple steps to a dinner party worthy dessert! I hope you find the simple tips useful. :) So, what is your decorating secret?
Vanilla Bean Chiffon Cake
adapted from The Cake Book
2.5 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 plump vanilla bean, split lengthwise in half
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggwhites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Cut a round of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and cut out a hole in the middle to fit the center tube of the pan. This cake is baked in an ungreased pan because greasing the pan would keep the batter from rising and gripping the sides of the pan as the cake bakes.
Using a spoon, scrape the small seeds out of the vanilla bean in to a large measuring cup or bowl.Mix in the water, lemon zest, oil and eggyolks. Whisk until well combined.
Over a large piece of parchment paper or bowl sift together the flour and baking powder. Add 1 1/4 cups of sugar and salt and stir together.
Make a well in the center of the mixture by pushing the dry ingredients towards the side of the bowl. Add the water + oil + egg yolk + lemon zest mixture. Using a rubber spatula, stir together until thoroughly combined.
Place the egg whites in the grease free bowl of an electric mixer or in a large grease free bowl. Using the wire whip attachment or a hand held mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Slowly sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue whipping until the egg whites hold glossy and firm but not stiff, peaks, about 5 minutes.
Fold the egg whites into the cake batter in 3 to 4 stages, blending thoroughly after each addition. Transfer the batter to the tube pan. Use the rubber spatula to smooth and even the top.
Bake for 1 hour, or until the cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (Mine took 45-50 minutes).
Remove the pan from the oven and invert it over a cooling rack onto its feet or over a funnel or a thin necked bottle. Let the cake hang to cool completely. Don't set the pan on a cooling rack on its base. This will cause the cake to collapse onto itself.
Don't shake the cake out of the pan before it is cool. Once the cake is cool. use a thin blade knife or flexible blade spatula to run across the outer edge and the inside tube to help release the cake from the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack, then reinvert onto a serving plate.
Place the cake on a rack over a lined baking sheet.Decorate with any buttercream you like.
How to decorate a Chocolate Cake for dinner party
Hungry for more chiffon cake recipes?
Espresso Chiffon Cake with Caramel/Chocolate Glaze
Grand Marnier Chiffon Cake
Banana Chiffon Cake