Daring Bakers: Perfect Party Cake

March 30, 2008 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Blog Event, Cake, Daring Bakers | 44 Comments

I love everything Dorie! There’s a reason why I’m one of the staff members at TWD and joined early on. But to say I wasn’t thrilled with this cake being picked for this months DB recipe is an understatement. I host Master Baker, I’m a staff member (hehe I love being able to say that) for TWD so I understand the challenges that come with hosting an event even though the two events I take part in are quite a bit smaller than DB. When I joined DB we were just over 200 members, now we’re at a whopping 800+ and to say I’m not thrilled with certain things about DB lately is an understatement. The not being able to post on the blog thing is annoying, but that’s being worked out and I can live until the new site gets up, but the rest of it …

Lets just talk about this month … I was severely disappointed on so many levels. Not to be a bitch, but our host has only participated in 2 challenges since September (November and January), which is annoying. I don’t mind if I never get to pick a recipe, but to see someone who virtually never participates get to pick is obnoxious. Add to that the fact that one of the least daring recipes ever was picked and we could changed whatever we wanted and I was left saying, does she even know what daring bakers are about? The whole point is for everyone to make the same recipe and compare, if you can change anything about the cake, doesn’t that run in direct contrast to what DB is? Also, as stated in the description of what a daring baker is … “What matters is we opened up and baked outside of our comfort zone just once a month.” If this recipe made you bake outside your comfort zone please let me know. Unless slicing cakes in half is outside your comfort zone this just doesn’t meet that criteria. And, my final vent, our host is so not into it that she didn’t even bother to get the recipe right. There were MULTIPLE errors noticed at the beginning and it wasn’t until one of my CB saw tons of people with cakes not rising that she (not the host) pulled out her cookbook and noticed that the amount of flour was wrong too. Come on, could this month have been more of a clusterfuck? Ok, my rant is over, maybe it’s just a bad month for me. Hopefully, next month I’ll go right back to where I was loving the ever living poop out of DB instead of feeling frustrated by it.

Now on to the cake … Easy peasy. I just took out the lemon because I’m not a huge lemon baked good fan and had zero problems. As is the case with all things Dorie, it tasted fabulous and I, of course would make it again.

I’m not posting the recipe for fear that there are still more errors, so go buy Dorie’s book, it’s worth every penny and then some!



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  1. You said everything I wish I had said, but didn’t have the guts to. And your cake looks perfect! Glad you liked it, because you will make it again. Sometime in the next 4 years. 😉

  2. whoa. Have I told you lately that I love you? Straitjacket rants and all? IWMNB. I can’t believe you said clusterfuck. oh no you didn’t! ::snapping fingers:: ps. your raspberries look so dainty. Great job! 😉

  3. CB- You said dainty. hahah

  4. I would like to give a big sloppy wet kiss. And the fact that you said clusterfuck makes me love you oh so much more!

  5. mmmm hmmm, 4 snaps in the shape of a z…oooo kaaaay?

  6. SLUSH – If you need the big bad bitch to come out for TWD you just let me know

    CB – Clusterfuck is the best word ever … people should use it more often

    CHELLE – ohh sloppy kisses yum 😛

  7. May I just say (even though I’m brandy-dandy new to DB) DITTO. Ditto to all of it, and especially the cluster part of it…

  8. I have to agree with the comment about the lack of daring baker challenges accomplished. It doesn’t seem fair does it? esp to the ones that do every DB challenge each month. Whats the point of the rules if everyone doesn’t agree to follow through…? Food 4 thought, no? JMO.

  9. *warms up to sing*

    DId you ever knooooooow that you’re my heeeeeeeroooooooo…

  10. Okay, that rant just put a smile on my face…this was a surprisingly easy challenge with a lot of flexibility. Sounds like I need to go buy Dorie’s book.

  11. ::stand up to applaud:: By the way, the cake is beautiful too. 🙂

  12. I love you, Nikki. You always tell it like it is!

  13. Wow Nikki, thanks for keeping it real. 🙂

  14. Your cake looks wonderful and delicious!

  15. Well alrighty then, LOL.
    Beautiful cake for being so upset about the challenge.

  16. amen to that sista! i’m not a DB but i can certainly see where your frustrations come from! great job on your cake though. 🙂

  17. I noticed the lack of posting by this month’s host as well, it annoyed me too! I think DB will get better though. This is my third month and I’ve definitely seen some drama from the french bread debacle to this month, but I think it’ll get better now! Hopefully!

    Your cake is lovely!

  18. Amen to that! Thanks for speaking up! You said everything I was thinking. The whole time I was making the cake I was trying to think about what the challenging part was supposed to be. It was a lovely cake and I enjoyed making it, but it was not a good recipe for DB. I also love that you said clusterfuck. I think that might be my new favorite word!
    Anyway, your cake looks beautiful!

  19. I agree that this was not out of my comfort zone at all, but this being only my second challenge I didn’t want to say anything. I agree with all your points about this challenge. Thanks!

  20. damnnnnn guuuuurrrl!! Speak it!

    Oh, and your cake looks fabu!

  21. Hi Nikki,

    I have to say I’m quite surprised with your take on the challenge considering that most of the DBers I’ve visited were happy with the leeway they were given. And while many did have problems with the cakes rising (myself included), it seems most really liked the final product.

    I guess the point of having some leeway is that it allows the more experienced bakers, such as yourself, the opportunity to be creative.

    As for your comments about the host, I guess your entitled to your opinion.

    Your cake looks pretty by the way!

  22. Wow, who peed in your cornflakes? The Daring Bakers are all about having fun, learning and supporting each other. It seems to me that pretty much all the recipes have allowed for some sort of modification, whether it be shape, size, flavor, whatever. Singling out for Morven allowing modifications is incorrect. As for errors in the recipe, I guess you’ve never made a mistake before. If the Daring Bakers upset you so much in so many ways, maybe you shouldn’t be one. They maybe you’ll be happier!

  23. IVONNE – I think my main problem is that when you combine the ease of the cake with other factors it becomes a problem for me. Had this been chosen my someone who participated and made sure the recipe was correct (after it was pointed out that some errors existed) I wouldn’t have said a word
    SARA – Well, the death fairy did pee in my corn flakes this weekend, but that’s beside the point. While most recipes do allow some modifications … this recipe allowed any and all modifications, like I said with Ivonne I wouldn’t have had a problem if other things were done correctly. Yes, I have made mistakes, but before I posted something of this nature with 800+ people baking it I would proofread again and again. Then when mistakes were pointed out I would check yet again and probably have someone else double check because frankly I value the time of 800 other people and I wouldn’t want them screwing up their recipes because I couldn’t take an extra 20 mins out of my day when hosting an event this large.

  24. I too have some points on what you wrote. When we are as many as 800 it’s obvious that there will be different levels of baking dexterity among us, this just means that it is up to those of us who are more experienced to make it more challenging. Then I have to say that I am not surprised that Morven choose something easier this month considering all the bitching and complaining that went on last month because people thought Mary’s bread was TOO DIFFICULT. So it is obvious that whatever you do, someone won’t be satisfied no? So why don’t we just take what we see as less good with the good things and look at the whole experience instead, DB is above all about baking and fun, a way to connect with other bakers around the world. When I joined the DBs we were 15 and it was obviously easier to satifiy each member but I’m still here and that mean something, I have so far made several challenges that wasn’t really my cup of tea but that is part of the game, I can’t have it all my way and neither can you when we are part of such a huge group.

  25. One of the reasons I thought that DB was so interesting is because of the rigid “follow the recipe” rule. In fact, one of the things I had read about DB was how inexperienced bakers could join in with pastry chefs because the more experienced people weren’t getting to use their own tricks and methods. They had to stick exactlly to the directions, giving those of us who aren’t pros a chance to hang. When it’s all optional and changeable, the less experienced get left behind while the pros and more experienced get great results. That may not bother to pros much, but it’s way more intimidating for those who ain’t.

  26. Ilva – In all honestly I wasn’t happy with how Mary was treated to the point that I sent her an email about how bad I felt that she had to deal with this. The main difference is that Mary TRIED, she picked a daring recipe and did everything she could to help people through that recipe. Those who didn’t complete it and whined were people who really had no interest in being daring. If you’re daring you would have jumped in feet first and given it a shot. I had the flu and still made it in between naps. I don’t think I will enjoy every recipe and that’s fine. I also don’t think that every recipe has to be as daring as Mary’s was, but I do believe that when all around a host appears to not try and then, when the flour issue was pointed out in the last week says “well it was still edible” I have a right to not be thrilled and to say so. Clearly, until the people who have been around since the beginning and know Morven came by I wasn’t the only one that felt this way.

  27. And where exactly is the supporting bit in your rant? As you stated you have a right to not be thrilled and say so, but what lacks is the way you say it. I’m sure Morven must have felt awful about it all and she doesn’t need a bashing to realise it.
    French bread and comfort zone? I’ve listened in to the whining about that one, people clearly felt that that was way beyond stepping out comfort zones. Pfff, so much for that one! Furthermore it strikes me that it’s the “newer” people that dare. Whining I mean. I’m not sure whether that’s the correct attitude.
    This cake? It might not have been everyones slice but I’ve seen too many cakes coming out flat, getting this cake to rise properly clearly was a challenge, even with the correct amount of flour.

  28. Well just about everything that can be said has been said, so I won’t rehash all of it..

    I agree that you have every right to state your opinion – I agree that you have every right to be upset, it WAS a clusterfuck. But I am curious about one thing.. what exactly have you gained by writing such a slam against the hostess? I mean, you said it yourself – you didn’t like how Mary was treated last month.. yet you acted exactly like those who bothered you last month, but were much more harsh.

    Morven made a couple mistakes – the last I knew, she was human.. and being human we will ALWAYS make mistakes – but to bash her like that? What happens when she reads it? You will have successfully humiliated and belittled her. Is that what you wanted to achieve?

    Like I said, this is your blog and you have every right to “say it like it is” and to “keep it real”. I do hope that you find future challenges more challenging. Speaking of that.. did you happen to check out Anne’s post? Baking a cake like this for her, is like baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies for you and I.. but she managed to look beyond the “easy” and found a way to make it more challenging. As a matter of fact, if we weren’t given some leeway in the creativity dept. she wouldn’t have been able to do that. And if you go back and read Morven’s post – we were allowed to play with flavors only – we had to stay with the instructions on how to make the cake and the frostings. Now.. if you can’t find a way to challenge yourself with a recipe, then I think you NEED the Daring Bakers.. maybe one day you’ll be inspired to make an easier challenge more difficult for yourself instead of whining about it on your blog.

    And I agree with Ivonne, your cake is very pretty! 🙂

  29. Nikki, amen sister. I said something along the lines of not being inspired by this recipe in the slightest. I mean, seriously. And the whole getting the recipe wrong… oy! That was just wrong. (Did you see her blog? She doesn’t even have the recipe up and just urges everyone to buy the book! I mean, double oy!)

    I will admit that last month I did my fair share of bellyaching. I mean, I did the frekking recipe about 4 times and lost an entire weekend (a 3day weekend at that) of sleep. But when I finally got it right, it was fun, I had a blast and now the recipe is so engrained in my brain I can do it with my eyes closed.

    I probably could have done better on my cake but I wasn’t inspired and it showed. Sometimes with hard recipes it makes you sit forward and give it your all. Otherwise, you just smash it all together and call it a cake.

  30. I am one of those DBers that like Nikki “love the every living poop” out of the Daring Bakers. You can thank her for pushing me to join. While I don’t know Morven personally (She must be a good person to create such fervor for so many people to come to her aid) I agree that the facts are still the facts.

    -She messed up the recipe for over 800 bakers.

    -She hasn’t done a challenge in the recent months.

    -She doesn’t have the recipe in her own blog when a zillion other DBers linked her blog for the recipe.

    Personally I was fine with the Dorie cake. Thats not the point for me. I just want the hostess to acknowledge that my time and money for ingredients are valuable by making sure that her participation is equal to mine. Is that asking too much? No its not.

    I look forward to the next challenge and still consider myself a daring baker. But don’t shoot the messenger. Weed through the rant, take the facts and make DB better and evolve instead of adding to the rant.

    ps. Was it really necessary for me to read about pissing cornflakes while eating cereal for breakfast? LOL

  31. For the record; I don’t know Morven, not in person, not through the internet, not via e-mail. And that’s not important. Whatever you feel, true or not true, this is about the way you say it. C’est le ton qui fait la musique.

  32. LIS – I guess I just feel like Morven didn’t genuinely care about her month hosting and when she did screw up she seemed to have an “oh well” attitude … it was her comment about the flat cakes still being edible that sent me over the edge. You can mash that between as many sorrys as you want … that just has an “oh well” feel to it and if she has an oh well feeling about 800 bakers I don’t really feel like I need to pretend everything is all rainbows and roses. It’s the whole package of everything that got me so upset. If only a portion of the things mentioned had happened I would have been fine, but pretty much nothing went right
    I also think that sometimes it’s important to speak up for everyone who is afraid of the repercussions. A lot of people who commented here kept the peace on their own blogs, but don’t they deserve to know that they aren’t alone and that DB isn’t always like this and that just about everything that could go wrong this month did go wrong and that they’re not crazy.

  33. Sorry my french isn’t that great so forgive me, baking soda…
    Oui, le ton fait la musique mais je pense son évident de son ton qu’elle est énervée. On lui permet d’être énervé toute seule blog et l’express qu’elle sent. Juste mon opinion.

  34. Baking soda – Typically I would have had a nicer tone, but things were so bad there really was no way to sugar coat it without being dishonest

  35. Understood, Nikki – and I don’t fault you for how you feel. Honestly. My only problem is how you went about this. Wouldn’t everything you said in your post been better suited to a private email sent to Morven?

    And the rest of your commenters.. instead of jumping on the band wagon, as adults, wouldn’t it be best to take this up privately with the person you are mad at? Why does Morven have to be slammed in public? What if one of you were to be treated like this one day??

    Keeping it real and stating your mind shouldn’t have to include such nastiness. I don’t think you should have to kiss anyone’s ass – I only think there was a much better way of dealing with this instead of a virtual public stoning.

    And if you are pissed off at the Daring Bakers, then email Ivonne and I. We need to hear the bad with the good or we can’t make this group better in the future.. but for crissakes, don’t air your laundry in public.

    And that’s all I’m going to say about this on your blog. I’ve already said too much publically, and I apologize for that – lack of sleep makes Lisa a very cranky camper. 😛

    Bake on Gorgeous Daring Baker Type People! Bake on! xoxo

  36. What I don’t get is how it’s “bashing” to state why you don’t like somebody’s actions, but to come here and piss and moan at Nikki for saying how she felt on her own blog is perfectlly a-ok. It isn’t like Nikki went to the B site and started calling Morven a loser, and as far as I can see she never once said a single thing that was insulting. This sort of “omg never say anything not cheery ever” reaction is what gives women in general a bad reputation as irrational creatures who can’t handle answers to questions like “Do I look fat in this?”

  37. And the rest of your commenters.. instead of jumping on the band wagon, as adults, wouldn’t it be best to take this up privately with the person you are mad at?
    I assume that is directed to *your* commenters as well then? sigh…

  38. Thank goodness the “adult” approach is to imply that anybody who agrees with Nikki isn’t acting like an adult…

  39. It is indeed insulting to imply that because I agree with Nikki, I am not being an adult. While I didn’t take the approach she did on her blog, its HER blog. She can say whatever she wants. No one is forced to read it. No one is forced to comment either for that matter.

    I like what LT said too. It seems if the opinion isn’t all hearts and flowers, it shouldn’t be said? WTF is that about?? Nikki let it fly. I find it refreshing really.

    This is one of those situations where it is best to agree not to agree. There is no middle ground here. Then again, I am a DB drop out, so what the hell do I know.

  40. Not to beat on a dead horse, but I do believe there is a middle ground in everything. Maybe, just maybe , there are reasons beyond our knowledge why Morven does not post as much as she does and for a select few in the know, they are private and she should not have to explain herself. I thought that even though there were typos, she did a good job of updating as quickly as possible. There is a lot that a post does not convey and convey the wrong way. The “oh well” was not (my thought) a way to shrug it off but a way to excuse herself for being human and a way to keep it light. Depending on what one reads, it could have been misconstruded as light. I agree that you are entitled to your opinion but there is such a thing called “diplomacy”.
    And get the facts straight, the recipe is up.
    For some, making cake is just another day, for others who joined the Dbs it is truly a challenge. Not 800 members messed up and not 800 members are going to be challenged. The goal is to bring a community of different levels where we can talk and discuss and help. Some people have a gutt fear of yeast, some people are terrible froster/decorator, some people are challenged to find the ingredients where they live, regardless of their skills. Turn the challenge into your own challenge whether it is to bake, decorate, photograph, embellish, garnish,…but there is not need to be that nasty, does not need flowers or ribbons either, maybe a more diplomatic approach to things. It’s sad to read about anyone being put down this way, no matter who it is (hopefully you won’t read anything like that about yourself one day). We all raise an eyebrow at some part of a challenge, some comment,some point, during the month and hopefully this month will be up to what you are looking for in the DBs.

  41. Nikki, this is your blog, you should be able to say what ever you want to say!

  42. Nikki, I ❤ you and you can preach whatever you want on your blog, sistah.

  43. I really shouldn’t say anything else about this, but I feel it needs to said at least one more time. As far as I can see, there is no instance where Nikki put down, insulted, or otherwise bashed Morven or anybody else. The objections were not as far as I read about the recipe being too easy, they were about how the spirit and rules of Daring Bakers (as is extensivley and stridently covered in the FAQ) was not present in this challenge at all. That isn’t an insult to anybody, it’s a quite plain fact. For anybody who joined DB because of those outlined rules and regulations, having them ignored and changed is a dissapointment. There’s nothing wrong with saying so, and it isn’t some awfull attack on some poor, fragile host or hostess either.

    I’ve seen a lot of cries of “turn it into your own challenge” and “make it your own”, but honestly I think (and could be wrong) that a lot of people joined up for the challenge… if it was all about challenging yourself we’d be doing that with our own cook books. What’s sad is that other people felt the need to scream and hollar at one woman for voicing her opinion, implying a lot of ugly things that it’s a shame some of you will never own up to implying.

    Stating bald opinions may not be PC or appropirately tactfull, but it’s a lot better then some of the snide, backhanded things being thrown back at Nikki. Ew.

  44. I think the horse is officially dead now and we’re all going around and around in circles and clearly not getting anywhere because it’s my blog and you can’t really dictate what I write or what upsets me. As “insiders” of course you have a different take on things. I’m telling it like I see it from my corner of the world. I apologize if you don’t like it, but you are more than welcome to move along if you don’t … that’s why I never said a word on the DB board about this. If Morven does see this (I’m sure the “insiders” have probably mentioned to her) I’m more than happy to discuss my feelings on the situation.

    I think what it really boils down to is maybe DB is getting too big for it’s own britches … rules are made, but not enforced, recipes aren’t double checked by someone else to be sure they’re right. (I know there are a few people with Dories recipe now on their blogs incorrectly because they have old copies … not good) and frankly I hate to say it, but it seems like the general consensus from you higher ups may be that we should dumb things down as we grow. In many ways I think this all may be a refection of DB in general and Morven may have been set up for failure in some ways. Either way, I think this has been thoroughly hashed out. Great job everyone on your cakes and enjoy the rest of your day!

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