Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Clever Boy is 2!

The clever boy is 2!  Hard to believe.  Babies grow so fast!  A year ago he sat wherever you put him and now he is running all over the place and talking up a storm!  This boy is my grand finale of children, so I am trying to savor every minute of little-ness before he turns big.  It seems to happen overnight!

Are you a member of Tasting Table?  It is website that sends me recipes and dining advice and such periodically, and in February they sent a recipe for Chocolate Layer Cake.  Quite frankly, I already have a chocolate cake recipe that I love, but the write-up on this one was interesting enough for me to decide to give it a try! 

The results?  I will definitely make this cake again!  The frosting, however, was a bit gushy for me.  Maybe it needed to sit a little longer and firm up a bit.  When I served leftover cake the next day (that had been refrigerated and the let sit out to room temperature) the icing was much better.  The recipe says to allow the icing to sit for 20-30 minutes, and I probably should have given it more time.  However birthday time was near and I needed to get it done!  So, it was as it was.  Regardless of the consistency though, the icing was DIVINE.  Very delicious.  The cake itself isn't really sweet,  but it is VERY chocolatey, as it uses both cocoa powder AND melted unsweetened chocolate.  It is super moist and almost velvety in texture.  Mmm.  Mmmm. 

To create the decorations on top, I drew a big number 2 on a piece of paper, traced it on to waxed paper, and cut it out.  I gently placed it on top of the iced cake and then sprinkled sprinkles (!!!) all over the top of the cake, carefully avoiding getting any on the sides.  When I reached maximum sprinkles, I gently peeled off the waxed paper 2!  Voila! 
A hit.  The clever boy kept saying "Momma, cake, yum!" and making "mmmm" sounds as he ate.  The rest of the family cleaned their plates and sat with blissful smiles for a while.  Birthday success!

Chocolate Layer Cake
adapted from Tasting Table
3/4 cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup water
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup whole milk

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

Cake:  Place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter the bottoms and sides of 2 9-inch cake pans and dust evenly with cocoa powder.

Stir the cocoa powder and water together in a small bowl to  make a paste.  Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl holding the chocolate.  Stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula until it is evenly melted and smooth, 2-3 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Sift the flour and baking soda through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.  Add the salt.  Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gently stir in the eggs, one at a time.  Once combined, add the reserved cocoa paste and melted chocolate and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.

On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, then half of the milk.  Repeat with remaining flour and milk and mix just until combined.  Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.  Even out the tops of each pan with an offset spatula.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Use a sharp paring knife to run around the edge of each cake to loosen them from the pans.  Place a plate or sheet pan on top of each cake and invert the cake onto a cooling rack.  Remove the plate/pan and allow the cakes to cool completely.

Frosting:  Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  Warm the cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves, 2-3 minutes.  Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes while the chocolate softens.  Whisk until smooth and allow to sit for another 5-7 minutes to cool a bit more.  Whisk the butter into the chocolate, 1 or 2 pieces at a time.  Make sure the pieces are all blended before adding additional butter.  Allow the frosting to sit at room temperature until it is set and spreadable, 20-30 minutes.

Assemble:  Place a small blob of frosting in the center of the platter/cake plate you intend to use.  Place one cake layer with the bottom-side up in the center of the cake plate, on the top of the frosting,  The frosting acts like glue, holding the cake in place on the plate.  Spread about 1 cup of the frosting on the top of this layer, smoothing with an offset spatula.  Place the second layer on top of the first.  If your cake domed a little when it baked, place this layer top-side up.  Otherwise, set it bottom-side up (this ensures that the top of your cake is perfectly flat.)  Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.  Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

Happy Birthday, sweet clever boy!!

1 comment:

  1. That is a beautiful photo of clever boy! The wonderment on his face as he looks at the cake is unforgettable.


Due to some bizarre spam comments I have recently received, I am moderating the comments for a while. I hope this spam craziness stops so this becomes unnecessary!