Monday, August 23, 2010

Birthday Cake Goodness

WARNING:  This is a reeeeeally long post with a lot of pictures.  It will also cause insatiable cravings for chocolate that cannot be ignored.  You've been warned.

It all started with an indecisive Birthday Girl and a recipe that one of my favorite food bloggers (who, incidentally, has a fantastic name!) posted just in the nick of time.

My now-11-yr-old daughter had previously asked for rum cake for her birthday (it's a family thing), but changed her mind at the last minute (read: 5 hours before dinner). Thank goodness for well-timed recipe postings!

Since the daughter did not want cupcakes AND since she changed plans on us at the last possible second, she had to serve her penance in the kitchen by helping me make her birthday cake. Thus begins the chronicle of the Ultimate Chocolate Birthday Cake courtesy of Shauna of the Piece of Cake fame.

This is but a few of the ingredients. I had everything on hand... except for the cocoa powder. Cue trip to the store.

I had a hard time finding unsweetened cocoa powder without using my youngest child as payment. Seriously, why is it that the one ingredient I need from the store is all out of stock except for the most expensive brand?! *sigh*

Once we had our ingredients together, The Birthday Girl helped to measure and pour the ingredients together.

 She did a great job following instructions.  She can now measure and level-off dry ingredients like a champ!

She's even learned the importance of sifting.  She wouldn't believe me when I told her that it was absolutely necessary to sift all of our dry ingredients before we added the wet ingredients.  "But why Mom??"

That's why.

Other than the chocolate, want to know why this cake is so awesome?

That would be the coffee.  Yep, that strong-brewed goodness in that picture right up there.  More please!

This is where the coffee and the eggs and the buttermilk come together.  It doesn't look like much now, but it will become cake goodness soon.

Don't forget the canola oil!  This helps with keeping that cake moist.  Don't question - just go with it.

Once your dry ingredients and your wet ingredients are all brought together in their separate bowls, it's time to bring them together into a marriage of joy.  You can do this in a big dang bowl with a hand-held electric mixer with those beaters that we remember licking clean as kids, or you can use your fancy-shmancy stand mixer.  I don't think I could live without my stand mixer.  Fact.

Action shot, GO!

(Oh, and don't forget to scrape down the sides.  In addition to ensuring that all the ingredients have a chance to come together, it gives you an opportunity to pass a batter-covered spatula to a well-behaved child waiting patiently behind you.)

Don't forget the chocolate chips!!

Ok, so I forgot to photograph an extremely important step.  There was a whole section of time lost in the sands of photographic time wherein The Birthday Girl and I sprayed two cake pans with Baking Pam, poured in the batter and then popped the pans in the oven.  Maybe I was just so excited about moving on to the next step (frosting!!) that I didn't get the camera out in time.  Maybe I had to use a 9" and an 8" pan because I don't have two cake pans of the same size.  Maybe I didn't want to photograph that humiliating fact for the whole world to see.  Maybe... I'll just let that go.

In any case, you have two gorgeous looking cakes up there to drool over.  Take a minute to appreciate that and then move on down the line to the Making of the Frosting.



Really people, does it get much better than this??

Yes.  Yes it does.

Right there, my friends, is how it gets better.  That's what you get when you mix butter and powdered sugar with a pudding-like substance made of flour, milk, cocoa powder and salt, and then add melted unsweetened chocolate to it.

Then you get something like this action shot right here:

And eventually you get the money shot here:

But before you can stuff your face with all of that chocolately goodness, you need to have the pre-cake entertainment.  Enter the new 11-yr-old.  Did I mention that she's a total drama queen?  Yeah.

We can't forget about the appetizers!  That's some burger goodness right down there, on a charcoal grill and everything.  Yep, not only can I bake, but I can grill with the best of 'em!

Once the crowd worked up a good appetite from those burgers, it was time for the cake.  No comments from the peanut gallery about the inconsistent size of the cake layers.  Trust me, it tastes so good that you won't care how it looks!

Here's the birthday girl with the cake...

And here she is devouring her slice:

Happy 11th Birthday, Taylor. :)

Love, Mom


Shauna from Piece of Cake said...

Yes! It looks divine! And that sweet little birthday girl face is the capper. So glad it worked for you guys.

Linda said...

That's some cake - chocolate and birthday heaven. By coincidence my 19 year old son was baking chocolate cakes (2) last night to take into the office today for the last day of his summer job. The bit I liked most was that he did the washing up!

Shauna said...

@Shauna: My family wasn't big on homemade cakes when I was growing up, so I was really excited about making a cake for my daughter's birthday this year (soon to be followed by my two boys in Oct and Nov!). I know that Little C is only two right now, but isn't it nice to know that you have moments like this to look forward to when she turns 11? :)

@Linda: It was an AMAZING cake! Good luck to your son in his next job - if he makes habit of bringing in delicious desserts, he'll always be popular!