This is one of my most popular posts- Happy Birthday Brennan!
This cake is amazing. This cake is beautiful. It’s like eating sorbet, but light and fluffy, like a cloud. This cake will move people to sing your praises. People will talk about this cake for weeks afterward. This cake completely kicked my a**(as a teacher I have to bleep).
My best friend’s birthday was coming up and I happily volunteered to throw her a dinner party. As we were discussing the menu while flipping through magazines I came across this cake in Martha Stewart Living. “It’s perfect!” I exclaimed. A five layer, multicolored, meringue masterpiece. I skimmed the recipe, taking note of the ingredients and tools required. I was up to the challenge!
Here is the magazine picture from August MSL:
The cake requires 5 different fruit purees which can be made up to two days in advance. Each of the purees is then whisked in to meringue and frozen. The whole frozen concoction is then slathered in Seven Minute Frosting, a marshmallowy, glossy, meringue frosting.
The cake was to be served on Sunday so I decided to make the purees on Friday, the frozen meringue layers on Saturday, and frost the cake on Sunday morning. I was glad I took this approach considering this G** d**m thing took me the entire three days to create.
Friday. Puree number one: blueberries and blackberries. Puree two: papaya. Three: apricot. Four: strawberries and raspberries. Five: kiwi. Each puree is blended in the Cuisinart with lemon juice and then strained. Translation: you have to wash the d*** Cusinart in between every one, not to mention get all the seeds and c**p out of the strainer each time. Puree making time: two hours.
Saturday: You would think that you could make one giant batch of meringue and then divide it into 5 bowls. No. That would be too easy. Martha felt that the texture just wouldn’t be right unless you made a separate meringue for each of the 5 layers. I have heard people say that they think some of Martha’s recipes are purposely too complicated. As though she wants to somehow make us feel just the tiniest bit inferior. I never believed this until I attempted this cake. Needless to say I made 5 different d**n meringues. You have to beat the egg whites to frothy while heating sugar and water to 250 degrees, then add the sugar syrup to the egg whites in a slow, steady stream down the side of the mixing bowl. Then you have to beat the whole thing on high until it becomes thick and glossy. If you boil that sugar even two degrees too hot you end up with a hard, rock candy coating on the sides of the bowl that has to be chipped away before you can start all over. Once the meringue is made you can whisk in the fruit puree and pour it into the 8 inch springform pans that you have lined with parchment paper. Then it goes into the freezer for two hours. Of course you can’t really start on the next layer right away because you have to wait until the first layer is frozen before you can pour the next one on to it. I started drinking adult beverages pretty early on this day. Total active time: 3-4 hours.
Sunday: The layers are frozen, one pan has three layers, the other pan has two. Now I have to ease the pans off, peel off the parchment, and stack the two together to make one 5 layer stack. This part was the part I was most dreading. I imagined the whole thing sliding onto the floor and splattering the kitchen with kiwi meringue. Surprisingly this was one of the easiest parts of the process. The frozen layers released easily from the pan, the parchment peeled right off, and I was able to stack the cake onto its serving platter with ease.
The whole thing went into the freezer while I made the frosting. Seven minute frosting gets its name from the seven minutes it takes to beat the mixture to the correct glossy, stiff consistency. You start out the same as the other meringues: sugar/water/corn syrup heat to 23o degrees this time. Beat into a bowl of frothy egg whites with a little more sugar. The end product is not unlike marshmallow fluff. With the frosting made I got the cake out and began to slather it on. Wait a second….is this wrong? There are bits of the strawberry layer coming off into the frosting and marring the glossy-white perfection! And, hold on…this isn’t working…it’s not going to cover it. Are you kidding? This isn’t enough G** d**n f-ing seven minute frosting to cover the cake?! The recipe says it makes 4 cups, enough to frost a 5-layer, 8 inch cake. Well, it’s wrong. I had to put the cake back into the freezer, and go back and make a second batch of frosting. Once that was done, I quickly finished frosting the cake and stored it in the freezer for the party that night. Active time on day three: 2 hours
I brought the cake out – the requisite “oohs” and “ahhs” were uttered. I cut the cake, and there was that rainbow slice of perfection I had been fantasizing about. Everyone loved the cake. It looked great (I thought it looked better than it tasted) and a good time was had by all. The birthday girl loved it, and that’s what mattered. Although I will never, ever, EVER, make this cake again, I will never ever forget it. Here is a link to the actual recipe should you choose to ignore my warnings and try to make it yourself. If you do make one, take a picture and send it to me, and I will send you a surprise!