Birthday Cake

15 Nov

For E!Yesterday was a day of birthdays. It was such a joyous day! When I came home from my GoddessSister’s birthday party, I decided that I was going to bake a cake for my beloved nephew. He turned 21 yesterday. I still remember him as a little baby boy that I held in my arms (he was the cuddly type). Now, if I want to look him in the eye, I have to make him sit down! Time passes so quickly, but I am glad to say that he has the same sweet, kind, loving soul he had when he was little. He is a big, grown up man now, but his spirit is still gentle and good. I am so lucky to have been part of his life all these years – to watch him grow and find himself, to become a friend as well as an Auntie.

Anyway, before I become maudlin, or Hallmark card twee, I decided to bake him a cake. I had about 2 hours before I needed to go to dinner, and I decided on a version of my niece’s dark chocolate cake with white chocolate icing. I think I might have over-reached myself a bit πŸ˜‰ I forgot that actually, the white chocolate icing needs a little time to set up in the fridge before serving. You can serve it just after making, but you really need to not bring it in a car – its still soft and voluptuous, and can be a little difficult to transport.

While I was clever enough when I visited the baking supplies shop to purchase some cardboard cake rounds, I was not intelligent enough to purchase some boxes in which to place said cakes and rounds. Unfortunately, when I drove to our favourite shopping centre to meet up with the family, I had an encounter with a road-rage type personage who not only stole my parking space, but made me brake hard to avoid hitting him (and his pregnant wife and young child in the car with him!). This of course made my freshly baked and iced cake veer catastrophically, and the top layer of cake slid blowsily off the bottom in a cloud of white chocolate icing glory. Oooh I was so mad! And, because I put my hand out to catch the cake whilst at the same time braking, also covered in icing!

Thank goodness, my family is loving, kind and very sweet. They looked at the cake – which was once pristine white, covered in sophisticated silver dragees and bordered by Starry Starry Nights – and which now looked like something the cat rolled in, and were incredibly diplomatic. My beloved nephew said that he always loved home made better than anything bought in the store, and you could certainly tell that this one was home made! Heheh. Given all that, please excuse the photographs – they are post-road rage person, and thus show a slightly damaged, but still made with love, birthday cake.

And I have to say, despite it all, it was a really tasty cake. Simple dark chocolate cake, lightened by whipping the egg whites separately so that they aerated the cake, and made deeper and chocolate-ier by adding melted chocolate as well as cocoa powder. The cake was moist and rich without being overwhelming – and yet it stood up to the icing with aplomb! Obviously, I need to learn more about baking supplies (tools are everything!) but last night ended with all of us happily digging into my sticky chocolate topsy turvy tipsy cake, and enjoying a family moment of love, pride and happiness.

Makes 2 layers of a 9-inch cake. Recipe for the white chocolate icing can be found here – and remember, it doesnt need to be pink πŸ™‚

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp / 1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup milk (whole milk is best)

Preheat your oven to 170C (350F), and butter 2 9-inch cake tins. Line them with parchment paper, and butter that too.

Place the bittersweet chocolate in a metal or glass heat proof bowl. Bring kettle filled with water to the boil. Fill a saucepan with the boiling water, and place the bowl atop the saucepan. The chocolate will melt in a few minutes if you stir vigorously. Once the chocolate has melted, set aside.

If you have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, use it for the next steps. If not, use a handheld electric beater. Place the butter in the bowl of your mixer. Cream the butter for about 2 – 3 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, and allow it to become completely incorporated – about 3 – 5 minutes more. Watch carefully. You want the mixture really thick and creamy, but you dont want to over beat so the butter starts to separate.

Separate your eggs, and set the whites aside. Add the egg yolks to the butter mixture, as well as the vanilla essence. Beat until the mixture is thick and golden, and then add the melted chocolate. Beat to combine, and then remove the electric paddle/beaters.

In a separate bowl or measuring jug, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a fork. You just want it combined.

Using a spatula, mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three lots, alternating with the milk. Make sure everything is well incorporated and that you have a thick heavy batter.

Using a clean bowl and beaters, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Add about 1/4th of the egg whites to the cake batter, and fold to combine completely. Once the cake batter has been lightened a bit, fold in the rest of the egg whites gently, folding lightly, but making sure it is completely integrated into the batter.

Divide between your two cake tins, and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in its pan for 10 minutes, before flipping out onto a rack and allowing to cool completely, a further 20 – 30 minutes or so. Ice (or glaze or sprinkle with some icing sugar) and enjoy with those you love!

 

4 Responses to “Birthday Cake”

  1. chrisoro November 16, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    hmm, while i felt a surge of familiar annoyance at mr road rage, i can’t help thinking that maybe all cakes should have a post-bake, sudden-stop treatment that makes them shed their icing blowsily!!

    Then everyone wouldn’t feel at all rude about tucking in with fingers and mouths…

    • delectableblog November 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

      Heh interesting, and wise, point, GoldenOroWoman … and youre actually completely correct. As soon as that poor blowsy cake was put down at the table for inspection, people used their hands to scoop up Starry Starry Nights loaded with dollops of icing… It was a very hands on experience! πŸ˜‰

  2. goddessmoments November 16, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Happy Birthday much-beloved Nephew! How lucky is he to have a cake with history and love πŸ˜‰

    • delectableblog November 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

      Thank you Goddess! And how lucky am I to have a Nephew who recognises history and love in that mess πŸ˜‰

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