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Thursday, March 11, 2010

My First Attempt of Making a BirthDay Cake!

Devil's Food Cake with Mocha Frosting

Barb's (my mother-in-law) birthday was coming up and my sister in-law, Kimberlee, has been pregnant with a beautiful baby "fill-in-the-blank" - we don't know what gender it is yet, they want it to be a surprise. Kimberlee normally does all the birthday dinner cooking and baking. I would usually only bring a salad which is the easy part for me! However, this year Kimberlee asked me if I could bring a salad (I'll describe this dish in a later post!) AND dessert. Shoot. What kind of dessert am I going to make for my in-laws!? It's a Birthday Party. I need to make a cake. A Birthday Cake!? I've never made it before. That's when the challenging feeling and my nervousness came into the equation.

               Deliciousness + Look + History/ (Challenge x Nervousness) = Beautiful Birthday Cake

Plan B: Buy a cake at a bakery store nearby. Business plans need a plan B; so do I!

I was quite excited to make this cake actually. It's a good time to try out one of the recipes from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook I got from Kimberlee for my Birthday. I mixed and matched the recipes from this book - just like the mix & match concept with clothes! So, I decided to go with the Devil's Food cake and mocha frosting to balance it out. The weird thing was the cake recipe didn't require adding coffee or salt. From what I've heard and experienced myself, coffee does bring out the chocolate flavor.   Hmm..let's give it a shot.

Devil's Food Cake with Mocha Frosting
 Yield: 12-16 servings

Cake: -The book, of course, will say Ghirardelli Chocolate. But you can use any good chocolate bars.
4 oz bittersweet chocolate baking bar, broken or chopped into 1" pieces
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Mocha Frosting:
4 oz milk chocolate baking bar, broken or chopped into 1" pieces
1 tablespoon instant freeze-dried coffee
1/4 cup boiling water
2 cups heavy cream

Sugar pearls, silver almonds, and chocolate for garnish

Directions for Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degree F. Butter the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans, and line with parchment paper
  • To make the cake, place on the top of a double boiler or on a heatproof bowl (like I did in this recipe) over barely simmering water, melt together the bittersweet chocolate, butter, sugar, and corn syrup, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Gently mix in the melted chocolate mixture. (The recipe doesn't tell you to use a mixer but I did. It works better for the mixture)
  • Add eggs, one at a time, vanilla, and milk and beat it at medium high speed until blended
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared pans
  • Bake for 25-29 mins, until firm to the touch. Check by poking a toohtpick in it and if it comes out clean, then you're good!
  • Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. When cool, turn out of the pans.
  • The recipe makes 2 layers but I need 4 for a tall layer cake. I made the second batch with the same proportions
Directions for Frosting:
  • While the cake is cooling, let's make the frosting. Melt the milk chocolate on the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. 
  • Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water. I didn't have instant coffee. I used 1/4 cup espresso instead.
  • Add the coffee all at once to the chocolate stirring continually until smooth. Cool completely
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. 
  • Be VERY CAREFUL here, I overbeat the cream the first time and it seemed like it passed the stiff peak stage. The cream became bad. I had to redo it. The second time I got it right! Yippee!
  • I chilled it in the freezer for 10 mins before assembling the cake
To assemble the cakes, place one layer on a serving plate (if you have one). I don't have one so I assembled them on a parchment paper :(. Spread one third of the frosting on top of one cake layer, then set the second layer on top, apply frosting, then the third layer, apply frosting, and finally add the forth layer of cake. Use the remaining frosting to spread over the top and sides of the cake assembly.  The final step is to garnish the cake! That's the fun part ;)

No double boiler, don't worry. You can do like I did in the photos. It works just fine.
Below is my manual for the day

Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda

Add eggs, one at a time..

Beat the mixture till smooth and pour to cake pans evenly

Chop, chop, chop, the milk chocolate

Melt together chocolate, butter, and brown sugar

That's me making cake! =)

The cakes are done and resting on a wire rack while I'm working on the second batch

Mocha frosting is done. I didn't think the frosting would be this simple, really. It tastes wonderful. I still have the leftover in my fridge to eat with cookies haha.

Decoration begins..first layer is done.

Spread the frosting on top and side, and on each layer of the cake

It's soon to be a Birthday cake and..

Yippee! The first cake is done and my first attempt is "I-think-it-is-a-success".

Ready to be delivered to the Couilliard Residence.

Happy Birthday Barb!

We're full..yummy!


玉芳 said...

Hey I'm sorry to say this but your pictures are gone...

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