Well. Here we are. The final birthday cake of 2013. All five of our birthdays are in late spring through early summer, and Miriam’s is the last one.
When I asked Miriam what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, she said she wanted a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. I love that combination (I used it for Tova’s 1st birthday cake), so I was more than happy to go with that. However, because I am me and I always have to do something different for every cake, I spent some time trying to figure out exactly what cake I wanted to make. Then I remembered that the book that I used for Chaim’s birthday cake has an incredible-looking chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream right on the cover. Perfect.
The Because You’re Mine Cake has several components to it, including a chocolate roulade which needs to be made a day in advance. While a bit time-consuming, none of it is very difficult (even the assembly wasn’t as hard as I imagined it would be). I think the hardest part was separating 24 eggs (yes, you read that right—24 eggs). And since you use all 24 of the yolks, and 23 of the whites (for 2 different components), it helps to separate them into 3 bowls from the beginning. I set out 3 bowl, each with a post-it note next it—one labeled “24 yolks”, one labeled “15 whites”, and one labeled “8 whites”. Plus I had one glass cup to break them over, and another glass cup to transfer any eggs that I broke the yolks of into (make sure you have plenty of extra eggs!).
In order to keep track of how many eggs I cracked, I first set aside 15 eggs. I cracked each one over a glass, letting the white go into the glass, transferring the yolk to the yolk bowl, and then transferring the white to the “15 whites” bowl. If a yolk broke, I immediately added another egg to the pile to keep the count the same, and I transferred the broken egg to another glass (the eggs white must be perfectly clean of any trace of yolks, since the whites with be beaten into a meringue, so don’t use any eggs that broke—save them for another use, or discard) . Once I finished the first 15 eggs, I set aside the “15 whites” bowl and made another pile of eggs, this time with 8. I used the same method, transferring the yolks to the yolk bowl and the whites to the “8 whites” bowl, immediately adding another egg to the pile of a yolk broke. Once those 8 eggs were done I just needed one more egg yolk for the yolk bowl, and I was done. *BIG sigh of relief!*
A few days before I was set to make the cake, Miriam decided that she wanted the frosting to be turquoise. While I love the crisp, clean brown and white look of the original, I knew that it would look just as beautiful (and probably more fun for a 6-year-old) in brown and turquoise. Besides, it was her cake, and therefore her decision. And she LOVED it!
Note: Once I rolled up my roulade it was much smaller than 10 inches in diameter. In fact it was just about 8 inches in diameter, so I cut around the vanilla cake layers to make them smaller. If I ever make this cake again I would probably just bake the vanilla cake in an 8-inch pan, However, I will be keeping the directions for the cake the same as they are in the book (using a 10-inch pan), since I don’t know why my roulade came out to be so much smaller.
Because You’re Mine Cake
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 cups (185 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the butter and granulate sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the first one until it is fully incorporated before adding the next one. Add the vanilla bean paste.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixer and mix until just combined. Add half the buttermilk and combine. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Add the remaining buttermilk, and combine. Add the last 1/3 of the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading with a small offset spatula to even it out. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched.
5. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, remove from the pan and split it in half horizontally to make two layers. Set aside.
24 large egg yolks
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 large egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (140 g) bread flour
1/2 cup (40 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.Line 2 half sheet pans (or jelly roll pans) with parchment paper, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg yolks, half the granulated sugar, and the vanilla extract. Whisk until the mixture lightens to a pale yellow. Transfer to a large mixing bowl
3. Thoroughly wash the stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment.
4. In the clean bowl of the mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment, whisk together the egg whites and salt until foamy. Slowly add the remaining granulated sugar, and whip until stiff peaks form.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
6. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining whites. Sift the flour-cocoa mixture over the eggs, and gently fold in until evenly and thoroughly incorporated (it may take a little while, but keep turning the bowl as you fold to make sure you get all the flour mixed in).
7. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pan, spreading to an even thickness with an offset spatula. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until the cakes spring back when you lightly touch them. Let them cool completely in the pans, then cover with plastic wrap and let rest overnight.
15 egg whites
3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
3 pounds (1.4 kg) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
Gel food coloring, optional
1. Combine the egg whites, granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved . Insert a candy thermometer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 160°F (hot enough to kill any bacteria in the eggs).
2. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk on high speed until the mixture has quadrupled in volume and is cool to the touch. This can take a while since it is such a large batch.
3. Once the meringue is cool switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, until the mixture thickens and becomes a smooth icing. If the mixture curdles, just keep on beating it and it will smooth back out.
4. Beat in food coloring, if using.
Chocolate Ganache Hearts
8 ounces (225 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Place the finely chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
2. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream and butter to a simmer.
3. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate, making sure the chocolate is completely covered. Allow to sit undisturbed for 2 minutes. Whisk together until completely smooth.
4. Allow to cool a bit, and then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. Pipe heart onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. transfer to the freezer to harden.
1. Leaving the cakes in the pans, cut each chocolate cake into 3 long, even strips each. Gently transfer the strips to a large sheet of foil of parchment paper on your worktop.
2. Divide half of the buttercream evenly between the cake strips, reserving the other half to cover the cake with. Spread a thin, even layer over the surface of each cake strip.
3. Roll the first strip, buttercream side in, into a tight roll. Move the strip over to the start of the next strip, and continue rolling, with the end of the first roll touching the beginning of the second. Keep adding strips to make a fat spiral cake. Stop if your cake reaches 10 inches in diameter.
4. Place one of the vanilla cake layers on a serving plate and spread with a thin layer of buttercream. Place the giant cake spiral on top of the buttercream, spiral-side down. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the top of the spiral and top with the other vanilla cake layer. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 hour to set.
5. Remove the plastic wrap from the cake and cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set.
6. Coat the cake with the remaining buttercream, smoothing evenly with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to set.
7. Apply the ganache hearts to the sides and top of the cake, using some softened ganache to help them stick if necessary.
Store, covered, at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator. If refrigerated, make sure to bring back to room temperature before serving—cold Swiss meringue buutercream is pretty gross!