Monday, September 5, 2011

recipes: birthday cake

Belated, I know, but wow did I make a great cake for my birthday party! Look at it in all its lopsided beauty!
I was inspired by a post on Sprouted Kitchen; when a friend offered to host a birthday BBQ I told her I really did want to bring myself a cake since it's fun for me to bake it.

The top and bottom layers are from David Lebovitz' excellent cookbook Ready for Dessert - except he said it didn't matter if you used Dutch process cocoa or not, and I swear mine didn't rise AT ALL. In the photo above, you can see that the top layer (which is upside down) did rise some in the middle, but was pretty skinny on the edges. Here are the cakes before and after baking:

See? Can't see any rising action. Drat. So I decided rather than have a short (but flavorful!) cake, I'd make a third layer. I opted to make a flourless cake for the middle, and baked some of the batter in a ramekin for a friend who can't eat gluten - double win! I used a flourless chocolate cake recipe found in some cookbook or other (sheesh, I swear I thought I was paying better attention) and was ready to go:

On the left, the (slightly charred...but delicious!) flourless cake; middle and right are the regular-flour cakes. The one on the blue plate shows just how woefully short they were. The jar is full of pastry cream, which is basically thick vanilla pudding, adapted from this recipe - I opted to use the lesser amount of sugar and greater amount of flour, as I wanted it quite thick but not very sweet.

Okay so we have cake, cake, cake, and pastry cream - all that was left was frosting. Shockingly, I used the frosting that came from the original blog post that was my inspiration - the mascarpone/whipping cream frosting sounded too decadent to miss! Plus it gave me an excuse to use my beloved KitchenAid mixer.
An added bonus was that the frosting didn't have any flour or other gluten-giving ingredients in it, so I was able to frost the flourless cake in the ramekin for my friend. Maybe dessert isn't as important to her as it is to me, but I would really be grumpy if I went to a party and couldn't eat any of the desserts on offer!

All in all the cake came out great. There was lots of focused silence while people consumed it - and there was a goodly amount leftover for me to share at work the next day. If I can figure out the leavening issue (and I really do know I should have paid closer attention) this combination is a keeper!

*** Edited to add links to the cake recipes:
The two layers of chocolate cake came from David Lebovitz' devil's food cake recipe
The flourless chocolate cake came from Ezra Poundcake

1 comment:

  1. Yay birthday cake. I'm sure it was delicious. I also find it odd that the recipe stated the cocoa powder didn't make a difference. They have different pH's and I'm certain that you need to adjust the leaving when subbing one for another...but now I can't find that info in my usual reliable sources.