Daring Bakers – Ispahan Perfect Party Cake

Daring Baker time! This month Morven of Food Art and Random Thoughts was our hostess and she put Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake on the menu. The original recipe is for a lemon flavoured white cake that is filled with vanilla lemon buttercream and raspberry preserves, and decorated with sweetened shredded coconut. But Morven allowed us a lot of freedom in flavour and looks.

I had to thoroughly plan making this cake because of two exams, one I did last week and one I’ll do in 4 days. So no waiting till the last minute for this one 😉 I was planning on making it the 14th and 15th but I became ill on the night I wanted to start. So I had to postpone making it. I did make the cake part a few days afterwards but the rest had to wait until the Easter weekend. A’s family was visiting for Easter and this was the cake they got.

When I was reading the original recipe the idea of using raspberries sounded so delicious that they became my starting point for brainstorming about the flavour and look of the cake. The idea of trying to recreate the flavours Pierre Hermé uses for his signature Ispahan was born very soon after reading the original recipe. Not that I ever had Ispahan before but the combination of flavours was sort of stuck in my mind for a long time. The basis is rose macaron filled with rose petal buttercream, litchee and raspberries.

The hardest part about making the Perfect Party Cake into Ispahan Perfect Party Cake was to decide where to put which flavour. My initial idea was to do a rose syrup flavoured buttercream but I was afraid it would be too overwhelming. Second idea was to flavour the cakes with rosewater and flavour the buttercream with raspberry puree. I fell in love with the thought of a beautiful raspberry pink buttercream. Only how to incorporate the litchee? Cutting them and adding them to the buttercream too was a possibility but I thought it just wouldn’t look pretty. Raspberries would look pretty, litchee’s wouldn’t.

Wasn’t too sure I would get the amount of rosewater right in the cake batter so I changed this idea to using rose syrup to brush the cake layers with. That way there would be a good rose flavour in at least part of the cake but not a taste that would overwhelm the entire cake.

Since I fell in love with the thought of having a pink buttercream I had to choose between a naturally coloured raspberry buttercream with ugly pieces of litchee or an artificially pink coloured litchee buttercream without ugly pieces of litchee. The decision was simple, appearances are everything 😉 and I went with the litchee buttercream. The raspberries got to be their pretty selves on top of the cake. To cover up the (somewhat messy) buttercream layer I threw some chopped pistachio’s on the sides of the cakes, and also because I love the colour combination with the pink raspberries.

And how did it taste? It tasted very good, a bit on the sweet side but very good. Hermé sure nows how to combine flavours, they were very good together. The only two things I’d do differently is to add a layer of raspberries to the filling of the middle layer to compensate for the sweetness a bit (also because it will look prettier). And I’d only brush the cut sides of the cakes with the rose syrup, now I brushed every layer on one side (so this included a top of a cake as well).

The only thing I wasn’t too excited about was the white cake, I thought it tasted quite heavy and was a bit dense. Maybe it tasted heavier because I didn’t add the zest, and the denseness could have been due to my baking. Next time I would use a genoise.

In case your wondering why my layers are so uneven yet straight….it’s the fault of my cake cutter, not mine 😀 It just cut higher than it was supposed to. But at least it was straight 😉

Things I changed in the recipe:

1. I omitted the lemon zest and lemon extract from the cake and used vanilla instead;

2. I omitted the preserves and brushed the layers with store bought rose syrup (the very pink kind);

3. I omitted the lemon juice and vanilla from the buttercream and added litchee puree (I used 3 tbs for half the buttercream recipe);

4. I used used meringue powder instead of egg whites to make the buttercream because my son and A’s grandmother were to eat the cake too and the egg white is not heated high enough to get rid of for example salmonella. I think the meringue powder was the reason that the buttercream wasn’t completely smooth, it had a slight powdered sugar feel to it;

5. I omitted the coconut and decorated with raspberries and chopped pistachio’s instead.

Oh, and maybe you already noticed but I made a mini cake. I used 6 inch cake pans and just halved the recipe. It was enough for 8 people, no seconds.

The family and even A loved the cake btw. My son didn’t too much but that was maybe due to the fact that he just ate 6 chocolate Easter eggs for breakfast 😉

Check out how Morven herself did. You’ll also find the recipe there.

And to see how all of the ‘millions’ of Daring Bakers did, check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll.

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56 Responses to Daring Bakers – Ispahan Perfect Party Cake

  1. Julia says:

    Okay, seriously, your cake is the most beatiful I’ve seen so far in this month’s DB challenge – and I’ve looked at at least 50 blogs already. I loved how you used rose syrup too. Bravo!!!

  2. Rosa says:

    Wow, I LOVE your version! This cake must taste wonderful with all those delightful additions! Very well done…



  3. Emilia says:

    That looks beautiful, and the picture really does it justice. The light is great in that, the way it captures those raspberries.

    Beautiful 🙂

  4. kj says:

    Using rosewater is a great idea. It would go fantastically with pistachio. Just lovely.

  5. Aran says:

    Linda, this turned out beautiful!!! Well done!!

  6. Ginny says:

    It looks amazing! I’ve made this cake before but your variations take it to another level! I can’t wait to have a reason to try it!

  7. courtney(aka glamah16) says:

    Hahaha. Great minds think alike. But you took it even further with the Lychee. Im in love with my rose peatls and syrup. I will make this a sisnature dessert for me!As always your work is outstanding!Thanks for the merigunge poweder tip so I know not to use in this!

  8. Lucy V says:

    I actually love the variations on the thickness of the layers, it gives it a contemporary look. Your cake looks really amazing! I bet it was delicious. I loved reading about all of your ideas and how they played out.

  9. Deborah says:

    I am so loving the colors of this cake! I’ve never tried lychee before, but now I want to seek it out!

  10. dhanggit says:

    oh linda your cake is beautiful!! specially the last shot shows how the layers of cake blend perfectly with your raspberries and chopped nuts!!

  11. Jerry says:

    Love the cake! I love the pink with the raspberries.

  12. Cakespy says:

    It’s just perfect!! The pistachio is an inspired alteration, sounds lovely!

  13. courtney says:

    wow this looks wonderful, i love the food combination

  14. Christine says:

    Oh this cake looks wonderful. I am so excited I just bought the book today and can’t wait to dive into it!

  15. April says:

    Beautiful cake!

  16. Ivonne says:

    An absolutely beautiful idea, Linda! It’s lovely.

  17. Linda this is a totally beautiful cake and very adventurous of you going with the Ispahan flavor!!

  18. marye says:

    Wow your cake is gorgeous! I love the pink buttercream with the raspberry and pistaschio decoration. There are so many different ways to play with this cake!

  19. lipi…stvarno je to fantastična torta…pusu mama i tata…i momcima…

  20. Ann says:

    Really wonderful flavor alternatives… and your cake is a treat for the eyes, too.

  21. Amy says:

    Oh my goodness, your cake is absolutely gorgeous! What a really unique idea for flavoring…lovely! –Amy

  22. jessy says:

    Wow that cake looks amazing!

  23. Nikki says:

    I love the pink buttercream!

  24. Farhan says:

    Perfect! What skill!

  25. Miss Ifi says:

    Wow that cake is BEAUTIFUL!!! I love the pink with the green of the pistachios.. I think I should start adding more pistachios to what I bakes *nods*

    *giggles* I also made a mini cake… anyway.. CONGRATULATIONS your cakes looks sooo delicious and great combo of flavours!

  26. mimi says:

    this cake looks so beautiful! i love the crushed pistachios on the sides, really delish looking!

  27. Dayna says:

    Stunning cake. Your thoughtfulness and research into the flavour combination is amazing. I sure it was as wonderful as it looks.

  28. Meeta says:

    Lychee! what a unique idea. This looks spectacular!

  29. Suzana says:

    Your cake looks stunning! I love the flavour combo. I’ll have to try that next time. Well done!

  30. kellypea says:

    Wow! I love the pink frosting. And the addition of rosewater is so interesting. The most fun aspect of this cake has been enjoying all the possibilities people have come up with. Yours is so lovely!

  31. maria~ says:

    Linda, the Ispahan cake is absolutely fabuolus! I was just in Paris and was fortunate enough to have a taste of PH’s genius. The flavor combo was to die for! Your cake looks delicious; now I absolutely have to try your creative adjustments to this recipe! Good luck with the exam, by the way 😉

  32. SaraLynn says:

    Oh my goodness….this cake is absolutely gorgeous!

  33. Stella says:

    ohmygosh, this cake looks seriously good. I love the way you perfectly ranged your raspberries! And your right, litchee tastes nice but not it’s appearance:)

  34. kitten says:

    that is the most incredible combination of flavors i have ever heard. what a beautiful and i bet scrumptious cake.

  35. Lesley says:

    When I saw this I thought “Ispahan” and well there you go! It’s fabulous, congratulations!

  36. kk says:

    what a beautiful cake. i especially love the fresh raspberry decorations on top! great job!

  37. Butta Buns says:

    So stunning! Those raspberries look so plump and delicious, plus they probably complimented the rose water perfectly.

  38. jasmine says:

    the pink base with the green nuts (and those gorgeous, gorgeous berries) contribute to the stunningness of this cake. Very well done :)`


  39. Sheltie Girl says:

    Linda – You did a simply marvelous job on your cake. I love all your flavor combinations, they sound delicious. Did you also make the cake gluten free?

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  40. ovenhaven says:

    Absolutely stunning! I love the variations you’ve made, particularly the chopped pistachios. I lurrrve pistachios. Great job, Linda!

  41. Mari says:

    Very creative and so beautiful! My mouth was watering from the moment I laid eyes on picture!

  42. linda says:

    I made the regular cake, not gluten-free. I saw you even made 2 different versions!

  43. Nina says:

    I love your version of the cake – the different colors are just beautiful.

  44. Hannah says:

    How is it that I’ve never heard of this flavor combination before- It sounds incredible! Not to mention, you cake looks absolutely gorgeous.

  45. Shel says:

    Your cake is so amazing looking – it’s stunning, really.


  46. Treeske says:

    it looks very nice! especially with those layers! very colourful!

  47. Tartelette says:

    Linda, you know that I am all over that one!! PH being my sugar daddy that makes you my sugar mommy!! ABsolutely per-fect!

  48. zabaione says:

    i’m also the one that fall in love with isaphan , so i would love this cake of your too! , the layer very clear and nice colour , i would like one!!!

  49. Bev says:

    your cake is so unsual and lovely looking! great job on the task!

  50. Miri says:

    Linda, what a perfect looking cake, and it looks delicious too!

  51. Niels Groot says:

    Ik wil ook een grote taart als extraatje bij mijn speciale creatie bij het bezoek aan mijn residentie. Want immers als je mijn koopkunsten niet vertrouwt, dan verwacht ik wel een goede voorbereiding!

  52. I love the changes you made to the cake! Delicious!

  53. This looks truly impressive! i bet it tastes like that, too!

    btw, I look forward to finding out what’s your perfect ingredient! 🙂 Hope your exam went well!

  54. Abbas says:

    Hi. I really like you site a lot and I really wanted to exchange links! My website is http://www.mychocolateheaven.blogspot.com I love the pics, design and layout of your site. I hope you like my site as much as I do yours! haha. I have already added your website to mine and I hope you can return the favor. If you do get a chance, please inform me at my website. Thanks!!!

  55. A masterpiece, Linda. I’m hypnotized by so much beauty!

  56. MariannaF says:

    Linda, this looks SO delicious! So tempting! Rose + litchi + raspberries has become one of my fave flavour combinations, and in this cake it just looks terribly good!

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