>> Saturday, December 20, 2008
Also known as "Definitely Not Birthday Cake"
So, my birthday was a few days ago. And as most everyone probably knows, I decided to postpone my birthday celebration until July. The 10th, probably.
Just for fun, and because I feel like it, etc.
So I refused all presents (except for 3:), didn't have a party of any sort, and definitely did not make a birthday cake for myself.
I just had a random urge to make a random cake on a random day. Ok?!
I've been trying for years to make a yellow or white cake from scratch that wasn't dry, or that doesn't taste funny. And while it's not the perfect yellow cake, this one is maybe 1/2 step closer than I've ever gotten to a moist, from-scratch cake.
The main problem was that it was bland. And still dry.
First, you cream 1 cup (2 sticks) of room-temperature butter until it's fluffy
Then you add 2 cups of sugar and cream it until it looks something like this:
After which, you add 4 eggs. Beat well after each egg. It will look sorta like this:
Next, you add flour and milk alternately. The recipe calls for whole milk, but since whole milk has never crossed the threshold of this house, I improvised with half sweetened condensed milk, and half skim. Don't know that I'd recommend that, but it worked in a pinch, with no obvious horrible effect on the cake.
Anyway, you gradually do the flour/milk thing, and then mix it just until blended.
Pour it into 3 greased and floured 9-inch pans...
And smooth the batter out.
And then comes the fun part.
You get to bang and crash and make all kinds of noise.
You could even scream if you wanted to - just for kicks.
Lift each cake pan and drop it on the counter 2 or 3 times. Not too hard. You don't want cake batter sloshing all over the place. But doing this gets rid of any big air bubbles and makes the cake finer textured.
Pop 'em in the oven...(I'll pop 'em on the head, and you do the skinnin'!)
(If you don't know what that's from, get thee to a movie store, where you must buy the cartoon version of 101 Dalmations.)
Anyway, pop 'em in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes and then....
Voila! Cakes! Lovely golden brown cakes.
Now comes the purely ingenious step. After you let them cool for 5-10 minutes, you wrap them in plastic wrap to seal in the moisture.
Such a thing had never occurred to me until I found this recipe on the wondrous Bakerella's site.
You leave them wrapped in plastic until they cool - which, in my case, was overnight, because they came out of the oven around midnight.
And now, for the frosting: (my Old Faithful fluffy chocolate frosting recipe)
You need 2 1-oz. squares of unsweetened chocolate. Chop it up - it makes it melt faster.
Once you have a nice pile of chocolate...
Zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time until it's melted and creamy.
Now you cream 2 sticks of butter, and add some light corn syrup and some Confectioner's sugar. Then beat it until it's all fluffy and delicious looking:
Now comes the fun part. Drizzle the melted chocolate slowly into the creamed mixture, with the mixer on a low speed.
And now, for the assembly!
Unwrap the first layer and with great care and precision, place it on a plate.
Spread on some frosting...
And repeat with each layer.
Until you have one tower of a cake.
Now, the most important step of all: sample it.
Sigh. I really wanted this cake to be The It. It was rather involved - which, to me, makes it fun - and it was different from any recipe I've ever tried, but it still wasn't moist or particularly flavorful.
It's probably my fault for not using the whole milk.
Either way, the cake is ok, but not IT.
The search goes on...
P.S. Even though the cake isn't really worth trying, the frosting is.
Fluffy Chocolate Frosting
1 C. butter, softened
2 TBS. light corn syrup
4 C. Confectioner's sugar
2 1-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1. In mixing bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy - about a minute and a half.
2. Add corn syrup. Mix well.
3. With mixer on low speed, gradually add powdered sugar, mixing until blended. Beat for about 1 minute.
4. Slowly add melted chocolate and beat well.