Allow me to present the five stages of weeknight baking.
1. Perfection 2. Concern 3. Disaster 4. Compromise 5. I’m gonna finish this thing right but oh my god I don’t care anymore can I please go to sleep now
My workplace had a bake sale to support a breast cancer charity. I have some feelings about the pinkification of October. But I’m only mortal. When someone says CAKE, I say, HOW MANY AND CAN I PLEASE MAKE THEM TINY.
The reasonable response to baking something pink on a Tuesday night is to go to the friendly neighborhood grocery store, get a box of Funfetti, and pour in some food coloring. Or even to make a bigass red velvet cake and call it a day. But I didn’t want funfetti, and I didn’t want red velvet. I wanted raspberries and cream cheese frosting and the perfection of Smitten Kitchen’s birthday cake recipe. Plus, I had just bought the world’s most adorable four inch springform.
I only have myself to blame for what followed.
Pancake Cake: Part One
Your pastry cream is set. Your kitchen is prepared. Or you just skipped part one. Whatever. Get ready for the easiest layer cake ever. The layers of the Pancake Cake are rich, rustic blueberry buttermilk cake that is the simplest from-scratch cake recipe I’ve ever found. Don’t worry: I still managed to fuck it up.
Fun fact about me: I have no patience for details. In my process pictures, my stove top is always a mess and I haven’t brushed my hair for three days. I still really love all the tiny fussy steps involved in making dessert. It’s like my whole personality takes a vacation for a few hours. But once the oven turns off and it’s time to decorate the damn things, I am full force Myself again. And Myself is not any good at decorating.
That’s how I ended up camouflaging apple spice cake, chai pastry cream, and caramel glaze as a giant pile of pancakes last autumn.
Yes, it was fucking delicious.
Recently one of my coworkers decided that nothing would do but that I make another pancake cake. This time, I played up the pancake aspect with blueberry buttermilk layers and lemon pastry cream filling, generating this beautiful disaster:
Not quite as pancake-looking, but just as delicious.
There are two parts to this recipe: the pastry cream, and then the layers/glaze/assembly. Part 1. the pastry cream, is included below. If you’d rather skip all the process pictures and commentary, I’ll have a bare bones version up soon.