Friday, October 8, 2010
Its Birthday Cake Time!!!
Yay!!! Its that time of year for my husband's birthday. He wanted me to make him a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. He really isn't too demanding or fancy in his tastes.
I made the yellow butter cake in two 9" round cake pans and didn't run into anything unusual or noteworthy. I added more vanilla than just a teaspoon, but that is something I normally do. I weighed out all the ingredients, which made clean up so much simpler! I also used my scale to make sure the amount of batter in each cake was even. I love my kitchen scale, it has made a significant difference in the number of dishes I need to wash, the time to gather the ingredients and the accuracy of my measurements.
I knew I didn't want to do a boiled sugar frosting, mostly because my parents were in town and I didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. That left me with a no cook fudge frosting and a chocolate buttercream. I just made some buttercream frostings for the cake truffles, so I went with the fudge frosting.
The recipe (from the Better Homes and Garden's cookbook) called for about 2 pounds of confectioners' sugar sifted into the mixing bowl. Then softened butter, boiling water, cocoa powder and vanilla are added. The sugar just about filled up my stand mixer and I am thinking 'this can't be right.' Most recipes mix the ingredients without the confectioners' sugar, then add it slowly. Despite my gut feeling, I followed the recipe anyway...and you know what happened!?!?! \
Thats right, a huge mushroom cloud of confectioners' sugar and a squeal from me. Following by laughter. I can't believe how stupid I was!!!! Sugar all down my pants, on the floor, over the counter. I think some even flew up onto the cabinets above. All that from just barely turning on the mixer to the first setting for a millisecond. I had to go outside and brush myself off before attempting to clean up the rest of the mess. My husband was not surprised at the mess I made. I agree that I have a tendency to cover the counters with whatever I am working on, but I think this was by far the biggest mess I've made yet!
So after wiping up everything I could, I went back to the frosting, determined to make it work. Rather than using the mixer, I used a large spoon to mix all the ingredients together until most of the confectioners' sugar had been incorporated. Then I guess as to how much of it went flying and tried to add that much to the frosting. I added a bit of milk to adjust the consistency and managed to save the frosting. Near disaster averted...sorta.
I gave my husband two options with regard to the cake. Either I can level off the two layers to make them perfectly flat (and loose some cake in the process) or I could decorate them as is and it be slightly domed. He opted for the version with the most cake (and who would blame him!). I used the frosting as the filling and made sure to use extra around the edges to compensate for the slight bump in the layers. In the end, the difference wasn't really noticeable.
I frosted the rest of the cake and made a few decorations with a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. I am confident in my cake baking abilities and know everything tastes really good, I just need to keep practicing with my decorating skills. Each time I decorate it gets better so I need to keep at it!
My husband and parents really loved the cake. It was moist and crumbly and the frosting was nice and chocolatey. I got many complements on it and couldn't be prouder!