Sunday, May 17, 2009

BIRTHDAY CAKE/MAY CAKE SLICE BAKERS

Hello! Remember me? Well, for someone who usually posts on average about 4 posts per week, I've been pretty MIA this last week.  You see, I started culinary school full time (going for my baking and pastry arts degree!) and get my baking fix while at school; a.k.a. less time for recreational baking. Four hours on my feet all morning baking in a professional kitchen leads to extreme exhaustion! However, I'm going to make a valiant effort to keep you all interested by posting a couple times a week. No worries, my posts will be super drool-worthy, I promise :)

Speaking of drool-worthy, check out this birthday cake I made for my dear friend Jenn who turned 27 this weekend! I decided to knock 2 birds out with one stone by using the Cake Slice Baker's May recipe selection: Mile High Devils food cake.  Coincidentally, devils food is one of Jenn's favorites, so it all worked out in my favor. Phew!

This cake was easy to make and was a big hit! The chocolate cake is rich and moist and the recipe calls for one of two options for the frosting. Either a brown sugar 7 minute frosting or a brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream.  Since I've made a boatload of recipes involving marshmallow meringue lately, I went with the Swiss meringue frosting instead. Don't get me wrong, marshmallow meringue is still on the top of my list for favorite frosting's, but I felt that the Swiss meringue buttercream would be a better option for decorating as it's smooth and very easy to work with.  

I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to decorate this cake but apparently I ended up making it somewhat similar to a crown (or tiara!), which is quite fitting considering Jenn is like a princess! I used chocolate frosting to pipe the lettering, dots, and hearts around the cake.  I used these really funky black and white stripe/polka dot candles that meshed with the colors of the cake perfectly!

Jenn really loved her cake which was my main concern at the end of the day! You can check out the other cake slice baker creations here.  Enjoy, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENN! 

Mile-High Devil’s Food Cake

From: Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

By Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne


Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa NOT DUTCHED PROCESSED

  • 1 and ¼ cups of hot water

  • 3 cups of light brown sugar; packed

  • 2 and 2/3 cups cake flour*

  • 1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda

  • ¾ teaspoon of salt

  • 9 ounces of unsalted butter at room temperature [2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons]

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 and ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract

  • ¾ cup of cold water

{*1 cup of cake flour is equal to ¾ cup of flour plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch}


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and grease the paper as well.


Place the cocoa in a medium bowl and add the hot water. Whisk until smooth and let it cool to room temperature.


In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low blend to combine. Add the butter and the dissolved cocoa. Then raise the mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.


In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and cold water until combined. Add this liquid to the batter in three additions scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Divide the batter among the three pans.


Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a cakes tester inserted into the almost comes out clean. There should be a few crumbs attached still. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes. Then invert and remove parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack.


Bakers’ choice of: Brown Sugar 7-Minute Frosting or Brown Sugar Buttercream


Brown Sugar 7-Minute Frosting

  • 6 egg whites

  • 1 and ½ cups of brown sugar

  • ¼ cup light corn syrup*

  • 2 tablespoons of water

  • ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar

{*corn syrup can be substituted with equal parts of treacle OR liquid glucose OR light colored honey}


Do not try to make this frosting on a rainy day or if you live in an extremely humid area. The humidity will make it impossible to work with the egg whites.


Place all the egg whites in a bowl and set them aside while you make the syrup.


In a small heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Boil until the syrup reaches 238 degrees F (softball stage) on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from heat.


Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites in the bowl and beat just to combine. With the mixer on medium speed gradually add the syrup in a thin stream taking care not to hit the beaters. Beat until fairly stiff peaks form but the frosting is still spreadable. If the frosting is too stiff it will be hard to work with. Use immediately.


Brown Sugar Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites

  • 1 and ¼ cups of packed brown sugar

  • ¼ cup of water

  • 1 pound of unsalted butter (16 ounces) at room temperature


Place all the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer; set aside.



In a heavy medium saucepan combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then bring to a boil without stirring and cook until the syrup reaches 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.


Begin beating the egg whites on medium low speed. Slowly pour in the syrup making sure not to hit the beater. Increase the mixer speed to medium high and beat until the meringue has cooled to body temperature.

With the mixer on med-low add 1-2 tablespoons of butter at a time. When all the butter has been added increase the mixer’s speed to medium and beat until the mixture looks curdled or separated. Continue to beat until the icing comes together again looking like soft smooth whipped butter.


Assembling the cake:

Place one layer flat side down and cover it with 2/3 cup of the frosting. Top with second layer and repeat process. Top with third layer and frost the sides of the cake.


Bakers Notes:

A cake topped with the meringue frosting is the best eaten the day it’s made. It does not do well in the fridge.


If you choose the buttercream frosting you can keep it in the fridge for 3 days. Make sure to allow the cake to come to room temperature for 1 to 1 ½ hours before slicing. Otherwise the frosting will be hard and heavy.


9 comments:

Snooky doodle said...

this cake is beautiful and looks delicious too ! I bet your friend was realy happy with it :)

Monica H said...

Ooh, you're early. I wasn't expecting to see your cake yet, but glad I did. It's pretty!

Great job. This cake is offically on my favorite's list.

cookies and cups said...

Beautiful! I also love the candles!!

Jodi said...

oh this looks yum!! :)

Megan said...

Oooooh yeah! That looks fabulous - I'm putting that cake on my birthday list!

I would love to hear about your foray into culinary school. I'll have to live vicariously through you!

vibi said...

Beautiful, Melissa! Totaly whimsical, delicate and very original! Love the pixelated effect... and the colours too!

Mermaid Sweets said...

So jealous of your culinary school training - please do share your experience with us, would love that. Great cake.

Ingrid said...

Your cake looks wonderful! Happy Birthday to Jenn!
~ingrid

TeaLady said...

I completely forgot about Cake Slice this month. Your cake is soooo cute.