Monday, June 4, 2012

It Fell On the Floor But We Ate It Anyway -Cake

I rarely cry over culinary flops, but this time it was literally too much: I dropped my husband's birthday cake on the kitchen floor.

My three year old and I had carefully navegated the Mama/Toddler baking trade-off (I measured, she stirred. I placed into the oven, she helped me to track the time), and together we'd baked a kick-ass cake. We even mixed the frosting homemade, stirring and stirring the chocolate chips into melty gooey goodness. The cake tins cooled on the open windowpane. They popped out of the pans without tearing. We spread delicious jam and frosting onto the first layer, and successfully placed the top layer, decorating it with more frosting and berries. I set the cake in the cake carrier and attached the carrier's lid. And then I lifted the lid by its large Hey, Use Me To Carry This Cake Pan -looking handle, only to discover that the latches holding the top to the bottom were not, in fact, meant to hold any weight. BAM, the bottom fell out and there I stood, holding the handle of the top of the cake carrier, staring at my husband's birthday cake lying upside down on the kitchen floor. And then the tears, they came.

The top layer was a goner, covered in cat fur and other nasty bits of floor spice. But the bottom layer was rescuable; we carefully used a spatula to separate it from the top layer-turned-floor-flop and restored the un-gross layer to the cake plate. We poured extra frosting on (hurray for extra frosting!) and re-decorated with cherries. Voila--a delicious single-layer birthday cake. Not exactly what I had planned, but in true birthday fashion, a surprise! 

From Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance:

Raspberry Cherry Blackout Cake
Serves 12 [or maybe 6, if you drop half of it on the floor]
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder [I used Hershey's]
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plain rice or soy milk [I used cow milk]
  • 1/2 cup canola oil [I used EVOO]
  • 1 (10 ounce) jar raspberry preserves (reserve 1/2 for the batter) [I had cherry jam]
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • Fresh raspberries for decorating and yumminess [I used canned cherries 'cause it's what I had]
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round springform cake pans with cooking spray. If you don't have springform [I don't] then use parchment paper rounds on the bottom of two ordinary 8-inch round cake pans to prevent sticking.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine the milk, oil, 1/2 cup of the preserves, the vanilla, and the sugar in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer or strong fork. The jam should be mostly dissolved with the rest of the ingredients; some small clumps are okay. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches and mix until everything is incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bak at 350F for 40 to 45 mins, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans.
When the cakes have cooled fully, spread one layer of cake with a thin layer of the reserved preserves (give the preserves a quick mix with a strong fork to get a spreadable consistency); spread a layer of chocolate frosting [see below] on top of the preserves. Place the other layer of cake on top and spread its top with preserves. Carefully spread the chocolate frosting over the top, then ice the sides...

Chocolate Ganache-y Frosting

  • 3/4 cup soy creamer (plain soy milk will do) [I used cow milk]
  • 6 Tbls nonhydrogenated margarine
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate chips [aproximately 1 1/2 cups?]
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the creamer to a low boil. Add the margarine and melt, turn off the heat, and stir in the chocolate chips until smooth. Let sit for at least 1 hour. I should still have a pourable consistency at this point. If you want a spreadable consistency then refrigerate for an hour. (If you refrigerate it for more than a few hours, it sets too much to spread easily, so you will need to reheat it, then let it sit at room temperature before using.)

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