...for the taste buds of course!!
"Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake" -- Anonymous
Whoever said that was darn right! :) I can't understand people who don't like or celebrate birthdays. I love birthdays and definitely the birthday cake!! :) Baking is one of my new found passions and I seems to be interesting me more day by day. My husband is not one for sweets and cakes so I always put off baking cakes unless there is an occasion, otherwise I would have to eat the whole cake myself!
Finally I got a good chance to bake a cake for my friend’s birthday, which was yesterday. It was a surprise for her and a bigger surprise for me because I didn’t expect my cake to turn out so big!! I made Chocolate Cake, for the first time from scratch and also dared to decorate it. I guess the efforts were worth it as my friend was all smiles when she saw it :)
You will need:
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s unsweetened)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed coffee, at room temp
Chocolate frosting (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Use an electric beater on low speed to combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Chocolate frosting (icing)
Since the chocolate cake itself is very rich and strong tasting I wanted to make a light frosting that tasted chocolatey but not too sweet.
You will need:
1 cup Heavy whipping cream
½ cup Confectioner’s sugar
3-4 tbsp Cocoa powder
Sift the sugar and cocoa separately and keep aside. Pre-chill the bowl and the beaters before whipping the cream. Whip cream on low speed for 3-4 minutes only till its thick. Do NOT over beat, it turns to butter…you don’t want that! While whipping the cream halfway add the sugar and cocoa powder slowly. The final result should be a smooth spreadable mixture. It should not be in a liquid state. Taste frosting for sweetness and add more Sugar if required. For a darker richer colour, use more cocoa powder.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
I still don’t have a steady hand when it comes to decorating cakes, so I didn’t want to try piping her name or “Happy Birthday”. So I drizzled Chocolate sauce (recipe below) and grated dark chocolate on top. It’s totally up to you how you decorate it.
3 tbsp Semi Sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp Whipping cream
1 tbsp Water
In a microwave safe bowl place the chocolate chips and heat on HIGH for 25-30 seconds. Stir once halfway and keep a close watch because it doesn’t take long to melt. Let cool a little and then fold in the cream and water and stir to make a thin sauce. Add more water if required.