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Showing posts with label chocolate cake recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate cake recipe. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake for a New Friend

Will this chocolate cake make me a new friend? Will it help my mental state? Will it help me prove to myself that I'm a person, not 'a mother'? Well...

Like so many other uterus-owning humans that have birthed other humans, I'm having a bit of an identity crisis since the birth of my own offspring. Therefore, I'm trying to get back into a big piece of what made me who I am as a cook, which is my voice on this blog. Don't worry, I'm not going to turn into one of those completely annoying bloggers that need to tell you my life story before I give you a recipe. I'll just give you a paragraph or two and explain why I made this cake when I did, and continue on with a story in the middle of the recipe so you can read it while you're waiting for the cake to bake...

My husband has been on parental leave for the last two weeks, to go with my six weeks of maternity leave. I cannot stress enough how much of a perfect partner that he has been, and I'm so grateful to his family as well for helping me while I wrestle with my PPD and PPA. His mother was kind enough to come over the other day and just hold the baby for a few hours while I clean the house, get a break, and make a cake for a person that was visiting later that afternoon, who happened to be one of my husband's coworkers, dropping off some samples for a big project he's working on. I was determined to make the house presentable for them and send them off with a sweet treat or two as a thank you for being such an awesome individual to my husband since he's come to his company. I could think of nothing better than a moist and delicious chocolate mayonnaise bundt cake. 

Chocolate Mayonnaise Bundt Cake

  • 2 1/4 c or 17.5 oz granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c full fat mayonnaise
    • Please don't use the diet stuff
  • 2 3/4 c or 13 oz oz AP flour
  • 1/4 c or 2 oz cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1 1/2 c boiling water
  • 1 c or 3.5 oz good cocoa powder
Boiled frosting
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 oz or 2 Tbsp butter or vegan butter substitute
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp good cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c full fat mayonnaise
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a bundt pan with pan spray and flour, unless you have a nonstick kind, in which case...just leave it. We're going to make the frosting first! Simply combine the first four ingredients in a small saucepot and bring to a boil. Allow it to simmer for 1 minute, stirring often, and then remove from the heat. Give it a nice stir and set aside to cool. When it's at room temperature, stir it again and add the mayonnaise to combine. 

Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. I know it's seeming excessive, but whisk to combine and then whip on medium-high for 4 minutes. During that time, boil your water and pour it into a bowl with your espresso powder and cocoa powder. Give it a quick whisk and set aside while you gather the remainder of your ingredients.

This is called 'mise en place' and you should make it a priority.

When your 4 minutes is up, scrape the bowl with a spatula and give it one more quick whip, no more than 10 seconds or so, just to make sure that absolutely everything is incorporated. Add in your mayonnaise and whip for another minute or so, until back to its original fluffy state. 

Add in your dry ingredients, one third at a time, alternating with half of the chocolate mixture, until everything is combined without any lumps. Give the bowl a quick scrape with a spatula, especially on the bottom, and ensure that you've got every little bit of this batter homogenous. Pour into your prepared bundt cake pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the cake pulls away slightly from the edges of the pan and that the top of the cake springs back when touched. 

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes in the pan before turning the cake out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before finishing with the icing. Now, let's have a little story, while we're waiting for whatever we are waiting for. Maybe it's for the cake to bake? Maybe it's for the cake to cool? Either way...

One of the reasons that I made this cake is because I felt well enough to do so, but also because I had a wonderful support system at home with my husband's amazing mother coming over to help me with the baby. I wouldn't say my baby is difficult at all - but they do like to be held quite a bit. Since you can't spoil a baby, I try to give as many hugs and cuddles as I can, but I'm still learning to wear the baby with my baby sling while I cook. I've resolved to cook something at least twice per week while wearing the baby in the sling until I get better at it or until I figure something else out. I didn't wear the baby while making this cake; my mother-in-law got to cuddle the little Lemon while I got to bake this cake and give myself a breather. I know it's likely a little strange to want to bake a cake immediately after giving birth, especially if you're struggling with Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety, but what made me so happy the day I was able to make that cake was the fact that I accomplished a task that had nothing to do with my baby and that made me feel incredibly fulfilled.

A note: if you have a friend that just had a baby, please don't ask them "how can I help you?" Just go over to their house and clean something. It doesn't matter what it is or if you do it perfectly - just run a load of laundry, empty and fill the dishwasher, or take out the trash for them. Help her keep their sanity by taking one thing off her plate. Heck, even just shooting them a Venmo for enough for dinner for two would be a nice treat. I know that, for me, the thought of delegating and dictating exactly what I need during this postpartum era of my life is just as exhausting as the actual act of doing whatever it is I need to do. And you know what? Your dear friend will feel loved and will remember that. Big thanks to my friends that have helped me, as well as my family!

As for the reasoning on why I chose this cake recipe in particular: it's one of the easiest cakes to just throw together with a few readily available ingredients that's also incredibly indulgent and moist. I have been a fan lately of ease and convenience when it comes to cooking, especially with things that I can use from just whatever is in the pantry. Building up a good reserve of things instead of going to the shops every day is a much more sustainable way to live, even outside of Quarantine which is where I picked up the habit. Making your own fun at home isn't so bad, and I'm grateful that I've learned that last year. 

When my husband's coworker came to the house, my mother-in-law had already left and the house was so much cleaner than I would have had it otherwise. It wasn't that it was dirty, necessarily, just well lived-in. I felt so relieved to welcome a new friend into a relatively clean home and to send them off with a big slice of this chocolate cake. They even noticed the recipe for Spiced Rhubarb Pie on the fridge and asked about it, so of course, I had to send them home with a slice of that as well. I'm told that my husband later received a text or two asking how I got the cake to be midnight black. The answer, of course, is the right kind of cocoa powder.

Dutch-processed cocoa is going to be a fairly standard item you'll find in most grocery stores. If you want beautifully dark cakes and cookies, however, you're going to want what they call 'double dutch' cocoa powder. It's much darker than your standard cocoa powder and will have a richer flavor as well. If you can find triple-processed cocoa powder, all the better and all the darker! I would love to tell you where I got my cocoa powder but the truth is I bought a 50 lb bag some years ago from a friend whose bakery was going out of business and I'm still working through the giant tub I've got in the bottom of my pantry. (I threw the bag away a long time ago.) 

Are you done, yet? Did you ice the cake and finish it? To eat it, I highly recommend serving chocolate cake at room temperature. You can absolutely have this cake by itself, but I love my cake with a glass of ice-cold almond milk, even in the winter. You'll want to have chocolate cake at room temperature because the fragrance of the chocolate will only come out if it's not cold. This cake is criminally moist, just a little tangy from the mayonnaise, and not overly sweet so it's much easier to eat than a standard chocolate cake might be. So hey, have two slices! I think you've earned it...

I hope this has inspired you to make some cake and give yourself a little win for the day. If nothing else, you can make a nice little bit of cake for yourself to enjoy. Thank you so much to my amazing family and friends for their incredible support during my postpartum period. Thanks so much for spending a piece of your day or night with me. Happy cooking and happy eating!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Vegan Chocolate Cake

The middle tier of my wedding cake was THIS chocolate cake recipe, modified to have a lovely orange flavor as well!
Hello, hello! It's Sunday, the 27th of January, which means that it's National Chocolate Cake Day. January 27th is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Since I just learned that apparently one third of all Americans don't believe it actually happened, it feels irresponsible to not at least give it a mention. In honor of that, I'm showing you my favorite chocolate cake recipe that's vegan and pareve. What's that? Well...

When you keep kosher, you have to eat in a very certain way. I'm not talking about the actual act of eating, but how you consume and prepare food and how you feed your family. Some agree that kosher eating may have been a first sort of 'health code' for the early world. Pigs, for example, which are considered unclean used to be more likely to carry disease. One of the big things, of course, is to not share meat and milk at the same table. This means if you have a steak, which you can have, you can't have cream or milk or cheese or butter with it. If you have french toast for breakfast, you can't eat even turkey sausage with it or later. You can't have it with the same meal, but you can have it later in the day. Of course, there's a lot of debate on how long you must wait, but you get the idea.

Now! Pareve is the sort of neutral zone of food. These foods are neither meat nor dairy and can be consumed with either one. These include, eggs, grains, vegetables, etc., and part of that etc. can include - if you do it right - chocolate cake. It's very easy to make a cake without dairy. Dairy provides fat and some lactic acid - if you replace that in the right way you end up with a wonderful-tasting result. The fat makes cakes tender, and the acid cuts glutens to keep it from getting stodgy and gross. The mixing method is, of course, just as important as the recipe.

This recipe is my absolute favorite, and it's the chocolate cake that I made for my wedding (as you see above)! It's wonderfully versatile, so feel free to use it as you see fit and got nuts with it. Heck, ADD nuts to it! It's your cake, do you.

 You'll notice that this particular recipe is in cups, not grams. This is just because I've made this cake too many times by volume and haven't ever done it by weight, so I haven't really measured it out in the way that you'd likely need to do it. If it bugs you too much, comment below and I'll do my best to convert them to grams in a timely manner.

I've used this particular recipe, which I've modified from MAC (Man About Cake's recipe) to fit some things. I just love this one because it's excellent for decorating and absolutely the most-versatile cake recipe I've ever come across. I'll put in ** my favorite variations!

B's Favorite Chocolate Cake
yields 2 9" cakes, perfect for stacking, or one large sheet cake
  • 2 c cane sugar
  • 2.5 c AP flour
  • 3/4 c dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c soy milk
  • 1/2 c strong coffee, left over from the pot that morning is fine(**if you're making a chocolate orange cake, you may substitute orange juice instead of coffee! If you're wanting something a little sexier and more decadent, substitute for a good red wine like a pinot noir or a cabernet sauvignon, but nothing too sweet like a shiraz. You can also substitute this liquid for a strong mint tea if you'd like to make a chocolate mint cake!)
  • 1/2 c tofu sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 3/4 c canola oil
  • 2 tsp good vanilla
  • **You can add chopped dried cherries that have been reconstituted in wine for a chocolate cherry cake
  • **You can add orange zest if you're making a chocolate orange cake, in addition to the orange juice substitute
  • **You can add miniature chocolate chips, but please make sure to toss them lightly in flour in the beginning so they can be suspended throughout the cake instead of all sinking to the bottom
There are two ways you can prepare this, one is faster than the other, but it's all going to depend on what kind of equipment you have available to you. Either way,  you'll choose your pans, lightly grease them and then dust the inside with cocoa powder, especially on the corners, to make sure you get it all out nicely, but to also make sure that the cake can climb the sides with ease. Don't grease and then not flour this. Trust me. 

Oh, and preheat your oven to 375.

Method One:

Take your sugar, baking soda, flour, cocoa powder, and salt and process it in the bowl of a food processor. You're pulsing it together just to get it to be fine and fully incorporated. In a large pitcher, combine your soy milk, the liquid of your choice, sour cream, oil, the extract/flavoring of choice, vinegar, and whisk it together to create one homogenous mixture. 

Add about a third of the liquid mixture to your food processor, and pulse for 2 or 3 seconds each, five or six times. Add another third, and repeat. With the final third, make sure you scrape the inside and bottom of the bowl before you do anything else. Pulse a few times to get it integrated, but then mix for about 10 seconds. Your batter is now ready! It should be shiny and smooth and beautiful.

Method Two

Take all of your dry ingredients into a very large bowl and stir with a whisk. Mix all liquids together as per the previous method, except for the oil. Pour the oil in to the dry mix in a thin stream, tossing it around to make it sort of a crumbly texture. Add in the rest of the ingredients by the third, stirring in a well in the middle slowly, no more than five or six turns on each addition, and stirring until well combined. Try not to slosh everything, but be sure to scrape the bottom and sides. The batter might be a hair lumpy, but that's okay, so long as everything is generally homogeneous. You're looking for uniformity, but honestly don't worry too much about over-mixing as you've got some acid to play with, considering the vinegar and your liquid of choice - be it coffee, wine, or orange juice - all have acid in them. Acid cuts glutens, so you're definitely helping yourself out. 

Pour into your prepared pans of choice.  You can use either round cake tins or a sheet pan. Whichever you've chosen, be sure to pop your cakes in to the center rack and then turn the oven down to 350. You wanted it at 375 because you wanted the oven nice and hot before you started. You may have noticed that you're using baking soda, which reacts quickly. You'll want to really let these bubbles form as quick as you can, but not burn everything.

Check your cakes at 25 minutes. It should be fully set in the middle and have pulled gently away from the sides. If it's not quite there yet, cook in 5 minute increments. Obviously, the pan you've chosen will determine the amount of cooking time, so just stay nearby. 

Evacuate your cake and allow to cool completely before handling. This is a very moist cake with a nice crumb, and should be treated as such. My favorite part about this cake is that it freezes  beautifully. Believe it or not, the freezer is the pastry chef's best friend, next to the oven. 

Once you've decided on a design, you can really let your imagination run wild.

You can make a buttercream using butter flavoring and vegetable shortening, you can make a ganache using 2:1 ratio of coconut cream to good chocolate...it's really all up to you! Earth Balance makes my favorite substitutes for butter, and Daiya makes my favorite cream cheese substitute, so you can make a cream cheese frosting. You can also make a vegan mirror glaze recipe using agar agar instead of gelatin!

You can decorate with candied flowers and mint leaves. You can even do something as simple as layering your cake with jam between each layer and dusting it with cocoa powder. Do with this recipe what you will. And remember that the Holocaust happened. 

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe! I hope you get out there and share this with friends; it's unhealthy to eat alone. 

Happy cooking and happy eating!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Chocolate Cake with Fresh Strawberries

I've been focusing a lot on my Instagram lately. It's odd; I always get notifications for new followers, and when I check, the number almost always is the same, or possibly one or two lower than last I checked. I can only guess that - between the hours that I've checked - I've gained one and lost two, or some combination of that. I can't quite fathom why, but I can only assume it's because I don't post as often as a high-follower-having instagrammer might post. Eh.

I love Instagram because I think it's one of the most-pure social media outlets there are. Minimal ads, no add-ons for the interface, just captured moments with a caption, and that's it. You can like it or not. You can follow or unfollow. There's not a huge amount of drama that can happen in that simple space, and I think that's why I love it. It just captures moments and that's it. It's a beautiful way to experience and savor our reality, and I'm 100% for it.

For those of you that may follow me on Instagram, you'll know that my life revolves around three things: my work, my pets, and my garden. Sure, I'll post the occasional style photo of what I'm wearing and what kind of makeup I'm doing(sometimes in my pink wig), but not as often as the food stuff. That being said, I like to think of myself as more of a lifestyle blogger than a food blogger. I try my best to live sustainably and do my best to recycle and produce as low waste as I can. I buy in bulk, for example, and try to make my own sodas. I also compost instead of throwing away biodegradable waste. I'll admit that it's more of a time-based project than anything, but it's worth it when your garden thrives more and more each year you invest in it. That being said, it's still a food blog, and I love food.

I've been on a cake kick lately, which is lucky considering I'm doing a friend's wedding cake come this Halloween. Since the flavor profile was strawberry and chocolate, I wanted to get a little practice in before the event, so I needed guinea pigs. Luckily, the birthday parties of both a dear friend and a soon-to-be sister-in-law would fulfill this need for me.

The first cake I made was this gorgeous strawberry cake. It was bright pink inside(which you unfortunately can't see because of the lighting of the night club we were at) with an Italian Buttercream frosting, a much lighter and more tasty version of the plain old American Buttercream we all might be used to at this point. I learned this amazing new marbling technique for decoration where you smear the sides of the cake randomly with different shades of a certain color and then frost them all together in irregular ways to achieve this effect. I also love the drip cake trend that we've been having lately, with asymmetrical decorations on top. I think it looks so much more organic and natural than anything constructed, which I find so much more appealing.

This cake is chocolate on chocolate, with the fresh strawberries for color and a little contrast in texture. It's insanely rich and dense, and just perfect for a birthday party. This cake makes three nice layers, so you'll get something that's wonderfully tall, which is completely instagram worthy. Oh, and just in case that wasn't instagrammable(is that a word?) enough, it's entirely #dairyfree!

Chocolate Layer Cake
yields 3 8" round cakes
Adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson

For the Cake

  • 4 oz baking chocolate(I like guittard dark), broken up in pieces
  • 1 oz cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup strong coffee
  • 6.75 oz vegan sour cream(I love the tofutti products for baking)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 oz brown sugar
  • 7.75 oz granulated sugar
  • 4 oz coconut oil 
  • 4 oz grapeseed oil
  • 10 oz AP flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
For the Ganache
  • 1 lb good quality chocolate, 58% cacao or higher
  • 8 oz coconut-almond milk blend(I like Blue Diamond brand)
  • 0.3 oz coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray three 8" baking pans with pan-spray. Drop in a heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder into the middle of one of the pans and knock it around to spread it. You're basically coating the bottom and sides of the pan with cocoa powder, and then knocking the excess into each of the other pans, so that all three are evenly (and thinly) coated to keep your batter from sticking. This allows easy release from the bottom and a good rise on all sides for the cakes when they bake. 

Put the cocoa powder and broken-up baking chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and pour in your hot coffee, and whisk until everything is smooth. You might have to microwave the mixture to get the chocolate to melt, but cross that bridge if/when it comes. Once that's all nice and together, scrape in your tofu sour cream and whisk to combine, ending with the vanilla extract. Set aside. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Set that aside. (Yes, you're working with a lot of bowls. Deal with it.)

Combine the sugars and coconut oil in the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until incorporated, which will take about two or three minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is. Yes, it'll look crumbly and not that creamy - that's okay! Add in your grapeseed oil in a thin stream as it whisks, and it'll get nice and fluffy...or, at least, fluffier. Add in your eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, leaving at least 30 seconds between each addition, and scraping down your sides between so as well. This takes some time, but trust me - the next part goes fast!

Remove your bowl from the standing mixer and grab a spatula, then alternate folding in your flour and the chocolate mixture, about a third at a time, ending with the dry ingredients. You don't want lumps, of course, but it's okay if you have them, as you don't want to overmix your batter. It should be rather smooth and smell quite chocolatey. 

Using a disher, divide the batter evenly between the three pans. I love using ice cream dishers to do these kinds of things, as the results are always consistent, so plan on investing in a large-ish ice cream disher should you plan on producing layer cakes on a regular basis. Once all of your batter is divided, knock the bottom-sides of your cake pans to evenly distribute your mix and knock out any particularly large bubbles that may be lurking insidiously. Yes, you want bubbles, but you want small and even bubbles rather than large ones. 

Bake for 20 - 24 minutes at 350, or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and springs back when the top is lightly touched. Let the cakes cool, in the pans, for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, make your ganache.

Simply combine all ingredients in a metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water and gently melt together. Use a spatula and not a whisk to combine everything, and please be gentle with it. You don't want to create air bubbles in a ganache, lest it turn sandy and the color go off. Once everything is mostly melted together, turn off the heat and let it hang out for about 15 minutes. By this time, your cakes should be ready to come out of the pans and ready to layer up.

Simply take each layer and spread about a third of a cup of ganache between each one, then coating the entire concoction with a thin layer of the ganache before setting in the fridge. Remember, you only want this to set, as you'll be glazing more ganache on top. I personally like the more rustic approach for these kinds of cakes, but you can be as refined as you like with it. I used fresh strawberries, mini meringues (a la Dominique Ansel's book, The Secret Recipes)  and shards of Hershey's special dark chocolate bars to decorate the top of this cake. You can decorate with whatever you want, so long as you play with height, color, and texture. Just make sure to set it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving it, especially if you want nice and neat layers at the end!

Okay so it's not the prettiest picture - that's why it's not on Instagram!
It seriously only took a couple of hours from start-to-finish, and most of that was just waiting on things to bake, cool, or set. There was a lot of Netflix between those times, as well as plenty of time to perfect my party makeup or get a nice outfit together. However you spend your time waiting, I hope you've enjoyed this brief tutorial. Now get out there and share your life! Happy cooking and happy eating!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Birthday Cake

There are few things in this world as satisfying as a nice slice of birthday cake. For me, cake is synonymous with celebration, and I am 100% pro-celebration. The world is nasty enough as it is, and I don't see anything harmful in celebrating the day you(or anyone else) was born.

Disclaimer: It does not have to be your birthday to bake a cake. Bake a celebration cake for yourself because you didn't punch a guy today. You deserve it. 

I ended up making three birthday cakes for myself(and my friends) this year. I did one for work, one for a small private party with my D&D group, and then one with my Circle while we celebrated the esbat. The first one was this chocolate espresso cake with a marscarpone frosting(seen above). The second was a lemon zebra cake with dairy-free cream cheese frosting. The third was a pinwheel rum sponge with a dark chocolate ganache filling. How I did this in three days I will never know. I must be insane.

This cake is entirely dairy-free, so my boyfriend can also enjoy it!
Dairy-Free Lemon Zebra Cake with "Cream Cheese" Frosting
yields 2 8" layer cakes

  • 6 oz(6 each) large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 12 oz can coconut milk
  • 16 oz cake flour(or 14 oz AP flour + 2 oz potato/corn starch)
  • 14 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 8 oz grapeseed oil(good quality olive oil works nicely, too!)
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Pink food dye, A/N*

  • 16 oz(2 pkg.) Daiya non-dairy cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz shortening
  • Powdered sugar, A/N(this may vary depending on humidity, how stiff you like your icing, etc.)
Measure out all of your ingredients and preheat your oven at 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by greasing the tin and lining with parchment paper. Combine all of your dry ingredients into the bowl of your standing mixer, fixed with the paddle attachment. Stir the dry ingredients with the paddle and add in the grapeseed oil. Let that stir for about 30 seconds, then add the egg whites, one at a time, until all incorporated. Add the coconut milk and extract and stir until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Divide the batter into two bowls equally and dye one of the portions pink. You can also dye it purple, black, brown, blue, heliotrope, cyan...do what you like! I just personally like pink...

Cake is best-paired with a late-night D&D session with your best buddies...
Using ice cream scoops of equal sizes, alternate the colored scoops of batter with the plain scoops of batter in the pan, dropping each one in the center, atop each other, to create sort of a target-looking mass. If you want even stripes, I suggest not shimmy-shaking the pan after each addition. Simply let your batter settle on its own, even if it does take a few minutes per layer. Trust me, it's worth it!

Bake at 350 until done, about 24 minutes, or until a toothpick is safely inserted and has come out clean. Cool in the pans for about 15 minutes, on cooling racks, before removing. 

Simply make the buttercream as you would make any cream cheese frosting. Add as much or as little powdered sugar as you like, depending on your preference for soft vs stiff. No matter what, however, make sure that your frosting is chilled, and make sure your cake is chilled, before assembling. 

Trim up the cakes to have nice flat tops and even sides. Feel free, of course, to set these scraps aside for snackies; after all, it's your (un)birthday! You can also freeze your cakes, if you like, to ensure that they won't melt your delicate frosting. Both items should be quite cool before proceeding to decorate, just like all other cake decorating pursuits. 

You can never have too many sprinkles...
I decorated my lemon cake with candied pansies(grown by myself) and organic sprinkles. This was the cake for my actual birthday party, which was celebrated with my friends. The chocolate cake, seen above, was made for work, and I was just feeling like making a nice chocolate cake. 

This third cake was an experiment, made for a for Circle of Fountains meeting, my wonderful sisters. We try to get together several times per month, be it for circle meetings, esbats, or just hang-outs. Abby's birthday was a bit before mine, so I thought it would be fun if we could share a birthday cake. I decided to make something a bit more fun...

Abby: "Only you would decorate it with a big-ass bow..."
I'm sure you've seen a jellyroll cake. It's basically a spongecake that's baked in a sheet pan and rolled while it's still warm, filled with jelly, jam, or ganache, If you watch the Great British Bake Off the way I do, I know you've seen people go nuts over them! You can also use swiss rolls to make fancier things like Charlotte Royales, like this one here, at SugarHero, a blog I very much enjoy. 

Charlotte Royale (Swiss Roll Cake) | From SugarHero.com

My own experiment was a simple butterscotch flavored sponge cake, filled with a dark chocolate cream, stood up and rolled. How did I do it? Simple!

Bake a spongecake in a sheet. Cut your sheet in FOUR EQUAL STRIPS crosswise. Fill each with a bit of your filling of choice. Roll the first one with a nice tight spiral, as normal and stand up on a cake board. Add your next sheet around it going in concentric circles until you run out. You may cover the outside with more ganache/filling/frosting, or just leave it plain. I kept it simple, since it was an experiment, and wanted the opinions of my friends. 

It's a little janky-looking, but still tasted good!

They liked it, even though it was a bit messy. I kind of slapped it all together at once... Here's how I made it!

Butterscotch Sponge(adapted from my Vanilla Sponge, here!)

  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 2.5 oz cake flour
  • 5 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 oz powdered sugar
  • 4 - 5 drops butterscotch essence(or 1/2 tsp butterscotch extract)
Combine the butterscotch flavoring, a pinch of salt, the egg yolks, and half the sugar with a whisk. Add in the flour with a spatula to create a smooth paste. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the egg whites, powdered sugar, and remaining granulated sugar to stiff peaks. Fold in the whites, about a third at a time, until fully incorporated. Spread in an ungreased half-sheet pan lined with a parchment sheet. 

Bake at 375 until set, about 12 minutes. When the cake is still warm, tip out into a clean tea towel(dusted with powdered sugar) and gently pull away the parchment. Roll your cake up, nice and tight, and leave for about five minutes, just to get it to about room temperature. Spread your cake with your filling of choice, be it jam or ganache, and roll up again. This is, of course, making a regular roll, instead of my stand-up roll above. You can do whatever you like. It's you that's eating it, right? Decorate your cake with cream. Decorate it with berries. It's cake. It's all your decision. Right? Right. 

Just felt like showing off this one. It's fun. 
Happy cooking(baking) and happy eating!