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.
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!