Trial run #2 of mission find-a-good-recipe-for-a-bridal-shower-cake was much more successful than cake wreck trial #1.
And it was easier! It turns out, this oven really IS a lot different than the last, and takes some adjusting. Like... Use the bottom rack, the top rack burns things. And there is no indicator for when it is preheated, I just have a little thermometer inside the oven to help me figure it out (New Oven is high on our need-to-buy list). I also discovered it cooks faster than my previous oven. So while this recipe said 30-34 minutes, 26-28 would have been sufficient.
I also learned that lining pans with parchment paper really does make a huge difference. I've always discounted that step before. Never again.
Anyway, cake number 2 is strawberry with cream cheese buttercream. It was excellent! I used a recipe for Pink Lady Cake from Smitten Kitchen. This recipe was very moist, but not super soggy. I used frozen strawberries and found it was best to defrost in the microwave for a bit before pureeing them. Next time I'll leave the bag out over night or something.
The cake felt very sturdy. I didn't have trouble stacking and it was easy to cut and shape. I've never encountered that before, so that was nice. It did, however, called for eight egg whites and as I don't yet own an egg separator, that was a bit of a pain.
The frosting tastes strawberry, but actually isn't. It's just cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. I added several drops of red food coloring to make it pink. I also added food coloring to the batter to punch up the pink color of the cake - the strawberries didn't quite do that on their own.
Unlike last time, I gave myself some more time on this cake. I baked the three layers Thursday night and let them cool over night. Friday I put a thin "crumb" layer and then let it set for an hour or two. THEN I went back and iced the whole cake, which made it a lot easier for the icing to go on smoothly. The whole process took longer start to finish, but was much less frustrating and yielded better results.
Glad again for the test run. I know that it's a good recipe now and I think I'll increase the amounts a little and do a fourth layer, just for some added height. I'll let you know how it goes.
Oh! And I bought a new cake stand. Yay for Macy's One Day Sale. Pictures to come.