Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day...and some lessons

The lesson: FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!!! That's what I learned last night when I made this cake from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking, From My Home to Yours. This is the cover recipe, which my roommate had requested for her birthday...apparently just because she wanted to look at it! First mistake...not putting parchment/wax paper on the bottom of the cake pan. I've seen this instructed before and have never done it, so I figured I'd be okay not doing it again. EEEEHHHH! Should have done it...when I took the cakes out, the center part stuck to the pan, making the cakes weaker and hard to cut in half. One of them even broke in half when I put it down to cool. I ended up putting that one in the middle as a patched layer! Second mistake...thinking I could do this without a candy thermometer. The frosting the Dorie uses is a marshmallow frosting and you need a candy thermometer to do the syrup. Well, I looked up the soft ball, hard ball, etc stages so that I could do it without. Well, I couldn't exactly tell when these stages had been reached. Overall, the cake turned out good, though a bit short; and my frosting went a little flat, not showing the beautiful layers as on the front of the book. If you like chocolate, which most people at my Labor Day get together do, this is a great cake. It's light and chocolatey. The frosting is light and delicious. On my first bite, I said "This is a lot of chocolate." I think a bit too much for me. My friend, who doesn't like chocolate much said that it was a good cake but if I ever made it for him again, I wouldn't have to make it chocolate! :-) He liked the frosting though. Anyway...this is the rest of our meal hamburgers with feta, sunflower seeds in them salad (to offset everything else!) portabello mushrooms in the middle and guacamole at the back and the WONDERFUL Dorie cake Devil's Food White Out Cake adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temp (I only used 2)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped - I used 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 8x2 inch round cake pans and put parchment or wax paper in the bottom. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cream butter until soft. Add sugars and beat another 3 minutes. Add eggs one by one, beating for a minute after each. Add vanilla. Don't worry if mixture curdles. Reduce speed to low and add melted chocolate. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk, adding dry ingredients in 3 additions and milk in 2. Scrape down sies of bowl as needed and mix only until ingredients disappear. This will be thick. Add boiling water at a low speed, which thins the batter. Scrape down bowl and stir in chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips). Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth tops with rubber spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cakes will be springy to touch. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for 5 minutes. Next, run a knife around the sides of the pan, invert pan, and remove paper from bottom. Cool to room temperature right side up. (These can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.) Slice each cake in half with a long serrated knife. Use 3 layers in the cake and crumble the fourth.

1/2 cup egg whites (4 large)
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 T vanilla extract

Put sugar, cream of tartar, water in small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover and boil for 3 minutes. Then uncover and allow to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F. While syrup is cooking, start beating egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl using whisk attachment. If whites form shiny peaks before sugar mixture is ready, reduce speed to low. With mixer at medium speed, carefully pour hot syrup into bowl between the bowl and beater. Add vanilla extract and keep beating whites at medium speed until they reach room temp, about 5 minutes. This should be a smooth, shiny, marshmallow frosting.

To assemble cake put the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate protected by strips of wax paper. Using icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with second layer and frost it. Put third layer on top cut side down. Frost the sides and top of cake. Cover entire cake with chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing into the filling using your fingers. Refrigerate cake for 1 hour before serving, or overnight.


Peabody said...

It all looks goo.

Red Dirt Mummy said...

Can you come be my room-mate, Claire? Pretty please? The cake looks great (and the hamburgers do too) - tell your roomie "happy b'day" from us!

Erika W. said...

That all looks fantastic!

Janet said...

That's quite a spread! Your cake looks like it would be messy to eat, but soooooo good.

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Yum, it looks delicious to me! I have never met something "too chocolatey" :)

Glad you had a good weekend and holiday and hope you have a great week. Get some rest :)

Anonymous said...

How do you have the time to entertain? Everything looks delicious including the cake. I'll stick to your simpler recipes though. You always have a surprise! Jancd

Anonymous said...

You are a great roomie! I liked that cake too...didn't love it, but liked it.