Next up in birthday month was the day of Susan G. Susan loves chocolate but has a hard time with milk, so I went in search of something chocolately that didn't call for milk or cream. And of course, the bible of all cake books, Mile High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes, once again saved the day. Can you guess how old she is? (We DID think about jokin' around and inverting the numbers...)
Mile High Devil's Food Cake
(though I suppose in Canada, it really should be 1.6 Kilometer High Devil's Food Cake)
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa (NOT Dutch processed)
1 and ¼ cups of hot water
3 cups of light brown sugar; packed
2 and 2/3 cups cake flour
1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon of salt
9 ounces of unsalted butter at room temperature [2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons]
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
¾ cup of cold water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and grease the paper as well.Place the cocoa in a medium bowl and add the hot water. Whisk until smooth and let it cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low blend to combine. Add the butter and the dissolved cocoa. Then raise the mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and cold water until combined. Add this liquid to the batter in three additions scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Divide the batter among the three pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a cakes tester inserted into the almost comes out clean. There should be a few crumbs attached still. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes. Then invert and remove parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack.
Simple Chocolate Butter Icing
The icing was based on a recipe I learned from The Mums, who was amazing at whipping an icing up without even cracking a cookbook.
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups icing sugar
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon hot water
Blend butter and icing sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth and pale. Melt 3 oz of unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl sitting in a pot over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Dissolve espresso in water. When chocolate is cool enough to touch, blend the espresso and chocolate thoroughly with the butter mixture.
Enjoy. As we did:
Here's the birthday girl looking absolutely adorable after blowing out her candles.
Here's the birthday gal cutting the cake (while making a wish) under the watchful eye of her dearly beloved.
Here's the birthday gal now demoted from cutting the cake, but taking the all important job of holding the plate while her dearly beloved neatly turns that cake into multiple slices!
Here's Vanessa holding up the uber nifty IPhone carved wooden sleeve that was a coveted gift!
Here's Wee Sarah sampling the bacon-chocolate (also a coveted gift).
Here's a photo I loved because of the composition. It ALMOST looks staged (or like a Gap Ad), but I guess the world is just full of photogenic people!
It was a lovely gathering.