Your own birthday is a good opportunity to make the most ridiculous cake for yourself, that you aren't sure anyone else would want. I had a million elaborate cake ideas going through my head, but in the end the heart wants what the heart wants. And this heart almost always wants just a really good chocolate cake on its birthday.
I had made 3 cake layers a couple days before my birthday, which was on a Thursday this year so I wouldn't be stressed getting it together after work. Tess was making us a nice salad nicoiose dinner, and then friends could come over for cake and ice cream. Fun and simple. But that morning I woke up early knowing that I had to re-bake the cake. The first set had turned out kinda dry and flat and lumpy. The noble 3 layer cake I had envisioned just wouldn't work. At 7 am before work I was mixing and sifting, and made a really good and simple Devil's Food Cake and managed to get it on the cooling racks before 8:30am. That is the sign of a truly neurotic baker, and my roomie and boyfriend thought I was insane.
I grew up eating "Grandma's Chocolate Cake", my Grandma O'Brien's classic chocolate cake which always has homemade jam between the layers and simple chocolate icing, for many of my cousins' and relatives' birthdays and it to this day remains my favorite chocolate cake recipe. Who knew, that its actually a pretty basic Devil's food cake that I had been eating? Its just a great, chocolatey, not too sweet cake recipe with a beautiful light crumb.
I think what makes it unique is the boiling water and cocoa powder mix? A lot of other chocolate cake recipes use melted high -grade chocolate, so I'd hazzard to say Devil's food isn't as fancy, but I love it.
|Justin and Tess enjoy some bubbly! Tess got me that amazing cake stand for my birthday. So perfect.|
For the icing I actually wanted to try something new, so I made Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I read about it on food blogs all the time, and its highly praised as being delicious, spreadable and smooth. I'm not a big fan of buttercream in general, you know the kind you get on cupcakes at safeway? Its so so buttery and not that flavourful. But I was prepared to be wrong.
I used Sweetapolita's recipe here, because her cakes always look so beautiful. But dudes: it uses SO.MUCH.BUTTER. 5 cups!? 15 eggs?!I halved it, and still didn't use all the butter... And still, this icing was way way too buttery tasting for me. Maybe I'm an idiot but I think I would like this icing with maybe 1 cup of butter max. The question is, would the icing even stay put like that? I'll have to try it again because the meringue part of the icing was beautiful and wonderful. Does anyone know any buttercream tips or tricks? And is it really supposed to taste mostly like butter?
I also attempted to make it ombre coloured, or fading from one colour to the next, but that didn't work out super successfully either. I used blackberry coulis to colour part of the icing, and I still think it looks kind of neat.
I made little flags to decorate the top and the candles lit them on fire during the singing of Happy Birthday, which was dramatic and hilarious.
One thing about 3 layer cakes is that even though I had maybe 10-12 people over throughout the night to have a slice of cake and a glass of wine, I still had that cake left over for days. Which is great, since chocolate cake for breakfast is one of the best things ever.
|There is something so good looking about that extra third layer. And that cake stand!|
Overall I learned a lot trying the new icing. I loved the cake part, the icing wasn't my favorite but everything still tasted great and it was just fun to have some of my favorite people over to share it with. My quest for the perfect icing continues. The good news is Claire got me some nice spatula's for icing cakes so hopefully my cakes will just get better and better looking.Pretty nice way to turn 28.
|I like this picture of Claire just going for the cake in the background.|
Recipe for David Lebovitz's Devil Food Cake here.