Two years of blogging!  Forgive the cliche’, but it does seem like yesterday.  😉  I’m a few days late for my own party, mainly because the move home wasn’t trouble free.  Our internet and cable services needed some tweaking, and then a tree fell on our bedroom roof during a hail storm!  We certainly can’t complain for lack of excitement!

And what’s more exciting  than Sally baking a layered cake?  My adrenaline level went sky-high, but, in the name of my blog anniversary,  I grabbed my wooden spoons and marched with cautious optimism to the Kitchen Aid.   Things quickly went downhill, but I managed to make the cake!

(from The Pastry Queen, by Rebecca Rather)

For the cake batter:
4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 cups water
4 large eggs

For the whipped cream filling and frosting:
4 cups chilled whipping (heavy) cream
1¼ cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar

For the chocolate glaze:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
½ cup whipping (heavy) cream
¼ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350o degrees F. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans: lightly grease the pans with butter, line with parchment paper and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour.
In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk together to mix. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine butter, oil, and water. Heat over low heat until the butter is melted, stirring often. Pour the butter mixture into the sugar mixture. Using a Kitchen Aid type mixer on low speed, stir or whisk until combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.  Add the eggs, one a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.  Finally, add the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, stirring well until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a  toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until soft mounds form; gradually add the powdered sugar, continue beating until thick and stiff.
Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Using an  offset spatula thickly spread some of the whipped cream over the top. Top with the remaining cake layers, coating the top of each with the whipped cream, and then covering the sides of the cake. Spread the cream as smooth as possible over the top and sides. Refrigerate the cake at least one hour to stabilize the whipped cream before glazing.

Chocolate Glaze:
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small heavy saucepan over medium low heat, heat the cream until it is hot and just beginning to steam. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Add Lyle’s Golden Syrup and vanilla, stirring until completely mixed. Pour the chocolate mixture into a measuring cup with a pouring spout and let the glaze cool for 10 minutes, no longer than that. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake. Cover the top of the cake entirely, letting some of the glaze drizzle down the sides, and allowing some of the whipped cream show through the drizzles around the side of the cake. Refrigerate the cake until the glaze is set and the whipped cream frosting is firm, at least one hour.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  When I baked my first layer cake last year I had problems with small differences in the diameter of my 9-inch pans. Now that I am one year smarter,  I took one of my pans to the store and bought siblings pans of the exact same size.  After a deep breath I opened the book and got started preparing the pans and the batter.

Keep in mind that this is enough batter for three layers of cake. In other words, it’s A LOT of batter. The Kitchen Aid was almost full, and pretty heavy.  I poured some batter in the first pan, the second pan, the third pan. I was filling each one a little more when the bowl slipped from my hands into the center of one of the half-full pans!  Chocolate batter splashed everywhere, onto everything in its path, including my laptop’s charger (that had no business being on the countertop, what was I thinking?), the bag of flour, the carton of eggs…  the list goes on.     I confess to some pretty crass language that would extremely disappoint my mother.

The pans went in the oven, I cleaned up the kitchen chaos, and while washing my feet and flip-flops I told myself that only a good night’s sleep would purge my cake demons and prepare me for phase 2: the FROSTING.

What can possibly go wrong with whipped cream?  In theory, not much, especially because I make it so often. But, because this was intended to frost a cake, I immediately spilled the whipping cream as I poured it in the bowl, making a big mess.  My quick cleaning was apparently not thorough enough, requiring the additional help that you see here, from our puppy Oscar.  Our other dog Chief,  who’s been with us for 12 years, disappears from the kitchen whenever I bake, so Oscar went at it alone.

Apart from those “issues,”  the frosting and the icing went smoothly.  I decided to reduce the cake to two layers because it’s already so caloric. Three layers is just too much for us, in my humble opinion.  However, it tasted incredibly good: rich, chocolatey and succulent, so if you have a special occasion to celebrate, make this baby and get ready for the compliments…    😉

Now let’s have some fun on this anniversary celebration:
help me pick a cake for next year!  Just leave your suggestion in a comment (even if it involves that dreadful “cream sugar with butter step”) and I’ll conduct a random drawing to select my cake challenge for the the blog anniversary in June 2012.    You can include a link to a recipe, or just the name of the cake.

Thank you for hanging out with me for these two years of culinary adventures!

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  1. Happy Blogbirthday Sally! Help you pick a cake. sure, I would be delighted :, how about Swedish nutcake? This cake always sinks so it’s a great one for the cakely challenged amongst us. Or maybe you fancy making a delicious boiled fruit cake, which is pretty much foolproof and involves rum and orange juice? Does that sound like something you might like? Let me know and I will dig out recipes. xxxx


    • Thanks, Joanna! I have never had either cake, had to do a little google work, and they seem “doable” – so I won’t faint if your suggestion is the winner 🙂


  2. Happy anniversary! I always enjoy your posts!

    Here is a challenge for your next anniversary cake:

    Tropical Paradise – butter cake of fresh coconut and rum… fresh lime curd… pineapple buttercream    

    This was my wedding cake (or should I say our wedding celebration cake since we eloped and got married in Thailand and this is what we served to friends upon our return to the U.S.). We had great Thai food at our party but I only remember eating cake! And I had more than one piece!

    It would be a worthy endeavor to create your own version! Sorry I don’t have a recipe. I am hoping in a year you will come up with one:)



  3. adorei ler tudo isto, tem dias que a bruxa esta solta…, e tem outra coisa, todas nós temos algo na cozinha que exigem um certo respeito, infalivel, todas nós temos. para mim, é sempre complicado algo muito simples, pudim de leite condensado, peno com isto…com outros pudins, no problems.
    quanto ao bolo do blog 2012, sugiro o meu favorito, german chocolate cake, já que ai as barras podem ser facilmente encontradas, é alem de tudo é um bolo muito simples.
    este de 2011 esta maravilhoso, parabens duplamente, pelo bolo e pelo blog, sucesso sempre. bjs


    • Pois e’, Angela – cada um tem seus demonios…. eu penei muito com risoto, de repente “peguei o jeito” e agora acho uma das receitas mais tranquilas de todas! Mas, bolo…. sou uma tragedia grega

      German chocolate cake – e’ aquele com coco ralado no recheio, se nao me falha a memoria – vou google


    • Desserts are definitely not my thing, as I rather have a double serving of sourdough bread instead 🙂

      Two years went by fast, I know you felt the same when you reached your second year!


  4. Oh Sally! That is not what you want when you come home! I’m glad that no one was hurt!
    Congrats on two years of blogging! And I’m very impressed with the cake. Your cake baking experience sounds about how mine usually go (involving some coarse language). Still – you turned out a good lookin’ cake!

    Cake vote for next year – pumpkin spice cake. It’s the cake my dad makes for me on my birthday. 🙂 (I can give you the recipe if you end up needing it.)


    • Pumpkin spice cake sounds great – I might ask you for the recipe no matter what, because it seems like a perfect excuse to avoid the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving! 🙂


    • Sheri, coming from you, I float in thin air (but I know you are being overly kind… )

      still, considering all my past previous disasters in cake baking, this turned out great!


  5. Goodness, that’s a big tree! Scary.
    Anyway: happy blogoversary!
    It’s always good to have a puppy around when your whipped cream lands on the kitchen floor :).


    • After this episode, Oscar is more and more glued to me whenever I cook – he must think I’m some kind of a goddess who makes delicious stuff fall from high above – way too cute this dog is!


    • Salut Phillippe – merci, merci, merci….

      Angel Food Cake – never done that in my life, I guess I would need a special pan for it, but… hey, anything for a bday celebration is worth it!


  6. What a cake, Sally! I know you’re slightly cake baking phobic, so this would have been a big thing to take on, and you’ve done brilliantly – it looks so professional! Happy birthday to you!

    I can only suggests cakes I’ve made, so all the recipes and links are on my blog. The favourite celebration cakes at our place are the white chocolate bundt cake and the chocolate Guinness cake! 🙂


    • Thanks, Celia! Well, if you google images for Tuxedo cake (please don’t… 🙂 you will have to reconsider your evaluation of mine – actually, the photo in the book itself is AMAZING!

      I don’t know how people spread frosting so homogeneously – maybe one day I’ll take a picture of my kitchen at the end of a cake baking section, and you will all understand what I go through

      Chocolate guinness cake, tempting…. And White chocolate is my favorite flavor in the world, I hope it is not too difficult


  7. Happy blog birthday! Hopefully everything stays just as awesome for this year! The chocolate guinness cake Celia suggests is a great one, but another cake by Nigella Lawson, the Nutella cake, would be great too!


    • THanks, Dana…. Nutella cake… I think I have this recipe in one of my cookbooks by Nigella – Feast, maybe? I’ll check it out

      heck, I am a Nutella addict (although I never buy it, for fear of wolfing down the bottle in a day)


  8. Have a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your blog!!!! I am in awe of you!!! Work, exercise and all that baking!!!! You have inspired me to do more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • Oi, Gabi

      para fazer buttermilk – coloque uma colher de sopa de limao (ou vinagre branco) em um desses pyrex que mede um copo. Encha ate’ a medida de um copo com leite e misture. Deixe a temperatura ambiente 5 a 10 minutos e voila’ – buttermilk ready to use!


  9. happy blog birthday dearest sally! wish you all the best! may all flow well (don’t worry about the roof )! how about a sacher torte or a dobos torte for next year, or any great c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e cake! muchos besos!


    • Gina, you are right, no point worrying about the roof – they just cleaned up the tree today, it’s kind of sad to see all that empty space where the huge tree used to be, but we’ll plant another one soon

      Sacher torte – you do know I would have to go into counseling before facing that one, right? (sigh sigh sigh)


  10. Happy 2nd anniversary! The cake is scrumptious, you outdid yourself!

    now, for next year I think you must make a strawberry genoise layer cake – I know it takes the creaming with butter step, butyou will be one year smarter, you can do it!

    I hope you draw my suggestion 😉


    • Well, dear Margareth… you managed to pick the cake I fear THE MOST. My most tragic disaster ever, was making one of those.

      All I can say, I hope it won’t be it….. (fingers crossed)

      but you are right, strawberries would be a nice choice for June


  11. Oh, Happy, Happy Birthday Bewitching Kitchen!! – you are one of the very first food blogs I ever set my eyes on…. Congratulations on turning 2. Your Tuxedo Cake is so cool and classy – it’s going to be really hard to top! I’m not a huge cake gal so I’ll offer up one of my fave sweet desserts instead which is Lime Pudding Cake (somewhere between a pudding and a cake). Cheers!


    • HA! Can you believe I have a recipe more or less like that in my computer in the “to try soon list” – I heard it is not too hard to make, and I love citrus flavors in desserts, it cuts the excessive sweetness

      Nice idea!


  12. Happy 2nd year for my favorite blogger!

    Not sure what cake to suggest, but just to be different, how about one of those rolled cakes? You bake a sheet cake, then spread some type of filling and roll it

    I let you pick whatever flavor for the cake, see how nice I am?


    • Thanks so much, Sonya!

      Hummmmm…. that’s a tricky cake to make, it sure would involve intense profanity, I suspect. Me, rolling a sheet cake? oh, yeah…. I can see that could pose severe risks


  13. A cake!! Somewhere a pig is flying. 🙂
    May I suggest the “Heavenly chocolate raspberry tunnel bundt cake” I can send you the recipe. It’s fabulous.


    • Wow, Jean, I don’t even care for desserts that much, but the title of this cake made me salivate….

      Thank you, and I hope it’s not as difficult as it sounds 🙂


  14. Happy Anniversary! The cake looks delish. I will keep it in mind for the next celebration that calls for a cake…I’m afraid that if I didn’t make this for a crowd I would eat the whole thing myself! 🙂


  15. Happy Anniversary! I have the cake for your next anniversary. First you have to buy Baked: New Frontiers. Yet another coook book I know, but one worth having. And then you must master the salty, caramel cake. This is the most requested recipe in their bakery. I look at it and say someday, when I feel the urge to make a cake, I will bake this.

    I’d rather bake break, roast vegetables, pickle cherries, so it may never happen for me!


  16. Happy blog anniversary! Your baking issues sound so familiar. Once things start going wrong for me, I just keep dropping and spilling. Your cake looks fantastic in the end! Next year, you should bake an angel food cake. They’re so light and lovely.


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