This is a very late post. My sister’s birthday was almost a month ago. She had heard all my complicated cake stories and she just wanted a simple cake. I actually delivered and gave her what she wanted.
The Chocolate Domingo cake from The Cake Bible is easy. There are no complicated steps such as clarifying butter, making a conserve in advance, etc. Rose Levy Beranbaum even suggests a simple dusting of icing sugar (although I think a chocolate glaze would be fantastic).
The cake is chocolatey without being intense and kind of fudgy.
This was the baby shower cake. It’s a White Velvet Butter cake from The Cake Bible and I had never made this cake. I’ve made this cake 4 times in 4 days. This cake made me not want to think about baking cakes. My mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day is coming up and a Costco cake almost seems welcome at this point.
I was originally going to make the Golden Butter Cream cake and did a trial run for that a long time ago. Closer to the shower date, I switched my mind and decided to go with something lighter, in terms of denseness and colour (the colours were pink and white for her shower). I settled on the White Velvet Butter cake. I wasn’t going to do a test run, but paranoia got to me and I did a test run on Thursday along with the mousseline buttercream. If you google “mousseline buttercream” you’ll find a lot of posts frantic about how their buttercream didn’t turn out. The butter has to be at a proper temperature, the syrup that you cook has to be at the right temperature, and on top of that, the buttercream is supposed to curdle. Once it curdles you cross your fingers, toes, eyes and hope that it does come together like it says it will. If it doesn’t, you may end up with a messy puddle of buttercream.
I got the buttercream right on the first try and my batch did curdle which freaked me out. I kicked up my mixer a couple of notches to beat the curdled mess into submission while I frantically searched if this was normal. When I found out that it happens to everyone before it emulsifies, I ran back to my mixer and it was nice, smooth, and creamy. In excitement I called over Movie Man to take a look at it. “Neat” he said. Obviously he was containing his excitement, I’m sure he was as giddy as I was.
This batch of buttercream was different than the test batch I made which was a silk-meringue buttercream. The silk-meringue involves a creme anglaise which results in a heavier, richer buttercream. Mousseline uses only egg whites so it takes on a much more whiter hue which makes it perfect for getting a pink colour than the silk-meringue. Also, the silk-meringue uses egg yolks that don’t get cooked and I didn’t want to take my chances on getting anyone silk, or accidentally giving the baby flippers. I did prefer the silk-meringue buttercream over the mousseline. The mousseline holds up really well and is quite stiff so it’s excellent for piping or for warmer weather.
The cake also turned out fine. Better than fine, excellent. It was an instant winner in my books. I only made one layer as it was a test cake. Looking at the cake, I didn’t think it would serve for 15 people so I made a half batch of cupcakes to go along with it. I used a recipe specifically for cupcakes as I didn’t want any surprises.
Friday I was ready and did the full batch of the recipe. I gathered the ingredients and when I went to mix it, the mixer was struggling. Odd because it didn’t do that before. Maybe it’s because I did a full batch and my near top of the line KitchenAid mixer couldn’t handle it. I try using the hand mixer, but the batter is so heavy that I doubt it’s really mixing it evenly. I switch back to the standmixer. Hopeless. Out of frustration I almost throw out the whole thing. Instead, I decide to make separate layers. I gather the ingredients and when I go to mix it, the mixer struggles again. Obviously something isn’t right. So I read the directions again and realize I forgot to put in the milk. Once the milk is in, everything whips up. I abandon that batter to finish off the full batch. It bakes and when it comes out of the oven it looks and feels a bit…off. I wrap it up anyway and I put the other batter in the fridge to finish it another time.
Saturday morning, day of the baby shower I wake up early so I can frost the cupcakes and cake and to give me plenty of time to deliver the cake before the shower starts. As I’m trimming the cake it’s..heavy…and doughy. I look at Movie Man and he gives me that look. The look where I should probably make the cake…again. I agree and gather the ingredients…again. At this point it was smooth sailing. I pretty much had the recipe memorized.
I also made a half batch of cupcakes just in case there wasn’t enough cake.
I never did get to try these, so I don’t know how they turned out.
The frosting had a ridiculous amount of steps, but the basic recipe is here. If you really want to make your own jam (hers uses much less sugar as it’s being used for buttercreams), add a bit of it pureed and strained.
I’m making a cake for my neighbour’s baby shower. Other people who don’t know me are going to be attending so I did a test run just to make sure it would work. I’m very happy I did it as I know what’s to be expected. Baking my way through The Cake Bible, I settled on the Golden Butter Cream cake with Strawberry Silk Meringue Butter Cream.
To make the Strawberry Silk Meringue Butter Cream I first had to make a strawberry conserve. The conserve wasn’t that bad to make, it took a lot longer to reduce. I reduced it a bit too much, 2 cups instead of 3.5 cups, but it looked so runny. Canning the conserve was a pain in the butt. I didn’t have jar tongs so the jars kept slipping. It’s really good as a spread and even though I had a horrible experience canning, I’d be willing to try it again with the proper tools.
I forgot to puree the conserve so the buttercream looked a bit gummy and it didn’t have the nice pale pink that I had envisioned. While this buttercream won’t win any beauty pageants, it’s absolutely delicious!
I made the cake into cupcakes for Movie Man’s potluck at work. I wouldn’t recommend this cake for cupcakes because it didn’t really grip onto the wrapper and didn’t produce a nice dome shape.
After some troubleshooting at the Real Baking with Rose forums, I’m going to try doing the mousseline and I’ll remember to puree and strain the conserve. I’m hoping that this will give me a pale pink colour.
I am overwhelmed with cake right now. We still have leftover cake that I won from a week ago, we just finished off a sour cream coffee cake (delicious btw, I didn’t manage to take a picture), and now a big chunk of chocolatey chocolate cake sits in my freezer. I offered to make a cake for my future brother-in-law’s birthday:
This is the Chocolate Spike Cake from The Cake Bible. I can’t believe I struggled in creating spikes, something that I thought would be easy. I need a lot more practice, so I’ve been offering to make cakes for all sorts of occasions. I’m hoping one day I’ll have a cake that I can be proud of — taste and design.
This is a really chocolatey cake. It’s not the most intense cake I’ve had, but it’s very dense and I’d rate it an “8” on the chocometer. The milk chocolate buttercream is like eating a melted chocolate bar. There is over a pound of chocolate and almost a pound of butter in the buttercream. This is one of those cakes you don’t want to eat once a week…or even more than a couple of times a year. It’s an excellent cake though. Those who aren’t hard core into chocolate you will definitely want to use a lighter filling and frosting. Maybe a whipped ganache…or some sort of raspberry puree.
The serving portions, unless you are a HUGE chocolate fan, in my opinion are off from the suggested serving. I can say this cake serves 16-20 people and not 12. I baked the cake in an 8″ pan and a quarter of the cake was gone for 6 people. A small slice is definitely recommended.
Chocolate fudge cake recipe here. I couldn’t find the milk chocolate buttercream recipe, but you can make it by melting a pound (!) of milk chocolate, half a pound of dark chocolate. Let the chocolate cool and beat it into a cup and a half of softened butter that’s been beaten. If your butter is too soft to frost, you can throw it into the fridge for a few minutes to let it harden up.
The last time I made buttercream that wasn’t just butter and icing sugar turned out to be a huge failure. It would just melt into a grainy puddle. I had wanted to make cupcakes with bourbon buttercream for a “meet the neighbours” event and I ended up having to leave the tops bare with just caramel drizzle. I was so distressed about my buttercream results that I e-mailed the author wondering what I did wrong. To my surprise I got a quick e-mail back and once I get the courage I will try making the recipe again. Flipping through the Cake Bible it looks like the recipe may have been a mousseline buttercream as Rose states the butter must be at the proper temperature otherwise it becomes a puddly mess.
It was a friend’s birthday and his favourite treat are chocolate cupcakes. What better way to test out a Cake Bible recipe? I made the All American chocolate butter cake and used the chocolate neoclassic buttercream. I overbaked the first batch by about a minute or 2 and they were a bit dry. If you leave them for a few hours or overnight, they become fudgier. I had almost wrote this recipe off because it wasn’t mind blowing, but I think I’ll give it another chance making sure not to overbake it. The chocolate neoclassic buttercream is to die for! I’m not a huge fan of frostings, but this is definitely worth making and piling on a cupcake. I also had no problems with the buttercream, it was a breeze to pipe with and held up quite well.