Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Makings of a Birthday Cake

RJ's birthday ended up being pretty low-key. We went to Chick-Fil-A for a free meal, gave him a tiny present, and that was pretty much it. (we're going to celebrate more next week....)

But my husband's birthday is never complete without an attempt at the *perfect* chocolate cake. We fell in love with the chocolate cake years ago at Bucca Di Beppo. Bucca is no longer in town, and from what I hear the chocolate cake has changed and is no longer as amazing as it was. It's been so long since we've eaten it and we've built it up so much in our minds that there is no way I will ever be able to duplicate it. Yet I must still try.  However, I gave up on trying the chocolate frosting this year and went with peanut butter.

I didn't want to make an entire cake just for us...aka...we would end up eating the whole I made it for our Tuesday night church Acts group (which I love! A post on that later). I was trying to keep it a surprise so I started first thing in the morning.

Tip #1.
Start with encouraging pans. Mine say "good cook".
Gee, thanks!

This trusty Kitchen Aid is 30-some years old (mom, exactly how old?) I, thankfully, inherited it and absolutely love it. I wouldn't be surprised if it lasted 30 more. They just don't make things the way they used to, huh?


I put the cakes in the oven and *crossed my fingers, crossed my fingers, crossed my fingers*


Then I made the peanut butter frosting. For some reason I threw in 2 sticks of butter instead of the one the recipe called for. The only logical solution in my head was to just double the recipe. So it's an enormous batch of frosting.

I think I learned this trick from Martha. Put wax or parchment paper under the cake and then when you take them off there will be no mess. What a clever lady!

Frost, Frost, Frost.


And then things got a little out of hand. I melted chocolate. And added stipes. And candy. Lots of candy.



And then...I ruined it. Oh, the horror! The chocolate got clumpy and the numbers were not going to do.


I melted new chocolate and tried again.
What in the world is wrong with me?


I am paying big bucks for my supposed "art" degree from Central (go Dutch!) and I can't even write a decent 3?

Thankfully, I was able to scrape it off and try again.


Fine. Not perfect, but much better. And that's when Harper woke up from her nap so it was the final attempt.

The verdict? RICH

Maybe it wouldn't have seemed so rich if we hadn't eaten pizza and other delicious desserts before we dug into this.

But most importantly:
RJ gave it a big thumbs up.

Recipe for Black Magic Cake: (from Hershey's website)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  • 1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (Batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost as desired. Yields 10 to 12 servings.

* To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbl milk, or as needed
2 cups powdered sugar

Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

So Happy Birthday, my love.
I look forward to many more years of baking you a chocolate birthday cake. 
I love you.


Amy@My Front Porch said...

OH. MY. I think I gained 10 pounds just looking at that cake *drool*
Chocolate cake with PB frosting is one of my favorite desserts. Any combo of chocolate and PB, really. Or even anything chocolate. I'm not picky ;)

My pans are not nearly as encouraging as yours...maybe that's my problem :)

momof4runninglikecrazy said...

The cake was delish and it looked fabulous! You are AWESOME!

une autre mère said...

Ditto on the love of anything with chocolate and PB! That looks so incredibly good!

The only problem is that I didn't read anywhere that it said you were going to make a second one for MOPS... did I miss that somewhere? ;)

ryangie said...

Abby, WOW, I'm super impressed with your effort :) Makes me think I should bake more! Happy Birthday to your husband too :)

The Sneaky Mommy said...

Wow! That looks amazing! Why did I not sign up for your Acts Group???
I'm so glad it's going well and I'm so glad your cake turned out awesome! You are one talented girl...I think your three's all looked super duper!


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