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help! lackluster layer cake-- can I transform it??

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I tried Nigella's butterscotch layer cake today and I'm feeling rather crestfallen. While this looks attractive, it tastes -- well, just lackluster. It reminds me of a glorified pound cake with some sweet cream cheese slapped on top. This comes from Domestic Goddess (page 20) and while it looks pretty, I'm grumpy about the BLAH flavor.

Here's my quandary: This entire cake (minus the two slices we managed to get down) is sitting in my kitchen, and I don't know what to do with it. We will not eat it as is. Might there be any way to salvage it -- turn it into something else? (a la Hogwarts School of Culinary Arts???) I don't want to give it away because, honestly, it's rather dry and unimaginative, and I wouldn't feel happy presenting it to a friend or even a neighbor. It is iced with caramel that I made and cooled, then swirled into cream cheese per her instructions-- the icing tastes off too. I should have gone for buttercream.

I have it in my head that I can soak this in something (can't be liquor or anything alcoholic, though) to try salvaging it. But probably not, because it's iced already. Hmmm. Help!

 
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  1. I am not sure I understand what the taste of the frosting is, but thinking about cream cheese and caramel, it makes me think of apples, pomegranate or maybe even caradamom or orange blossom. To soak it, cut your slice, place it on the plate on its side and carefully put on the soaking liquid - a simple syrup infused with the above.

    Or you can always try using one of those flavor injectors or a syringe : ).

    6 Replies
    1. re: jsaimd

      Turn it into trifle--cut it up and add fruit and some good slugs of liqour and let it sit and meld.

      1. re: dct

        I always do this with my failed caked. Maybe a pumpkin mousse trifle? poached pear trifle?

      2. re: jsaimd

        :) Who was always brandishing those flavor injectors on Top Chef? I think it was someone filling the frogs' legs, right? Sandee?

        I might take you up on the orange blossom syrup - as I just bought some orange blossom water two days ago! I have the rose water too. Now, how would I go about doing that syrup -- just simple syrup with a few drops of the orange blossom water?

        1. re: foxy fairy

          Yes - a simple syrup with some orange blossom water to taste. You can also add fresh orange juice if you want.

          1. re: jsaimd

            When would the orange go in? After the sugar is dissolved? Or when would I add the syrup? I have both oranges (five of them, juicy ones) and the orange blossom water. Hmm. I guess I'll have to choose the oranges or the blossom water, right? thanks for your help!

            1. re: foxy fairy

              No - you can use both. Use about 1 - 1 1/2 parts water to 1/2 - 1 part orange juice to 2 parts water for your simple syrup. Then you can add the orange blossom water at the end.

              However, i usually just use simply syrup with just orange blossom water because I prefer the floral flavor to the orange flavor.

      3. 2 things come to mind:

        1. warm it and put a glop of vanilla, or whatever else you like, ice cream on top, and let that melt into the cake, or

        2. Chop it up and make a pudding type thing out of it. Like a bread pudding almost. I have no idea how to do this, but it might work. You could add some toasted coconut to it, or chocolate syrup . . . ?

        1. I would turn it into shortcake with fresh whipped cream and frozen berries (defrosted). The berries will give enough juice to moisten the cake, the whipped cream will lighten the texture, and the frosting from the cake should just meld with everything else and, hopefully, just add a background note.

          If you really don't like the frosting, though, could you scrape it off the top and side, cut the remaining cake into cubes and then fold in whipped cream or pudding to make a trifle?

          1. What about making it like a tres leches cake? You could either turn it upside down and pour the milk over, or transfer the cake (this is the time those cake lifters come in handy) into a deep dish pan filled with the milk mixture. Let it sit overnight to absorb the milk. If you don't like the frosting, you could just scrape it off.

            1. Kind of a crazy idea, but perhaps you could cut the cake into cubes and freeze it. Then fold the frozen cubes into a softened ice cream-maybe coffee flavored.

              1 Reply
              1. re: VTtoMAtoCAfoodie

                Actually, that sounds good! I think I'm going to use big chunks of the cake to try several of the ideas here -- some warm with ice cream, some soaked in the orange blossom simple syrup, some in the freezer, etc. Thanks to all for such excellent ideas. :) My landlord stopped by to fix something yesterday, and I caught him eyeing the cake. "Not a single slice until I've fixed it!" I told him! :)