Birthday Layer Cake {Better Late Than Never}

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Layer Cake

Are you ready for another Momofuku Milk Bar cake?

I’d almost given up on getting this posted. I made this for Miriam’s 5th birthday. Early Last summer. As in, almost a year ago. It got to the point where I almost decided it was too late to post it. But then a friend reminded me that there is no expiration date for cake. Wiser words were never spoken.

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Layer Cake

So here it is: The Milk Bar Birthday Layer Cake. Like the Carrot Layer Cake, this has several components. But this one is a little simpler, at least in my opinion. And remember that, like the carrot cake, most of the components can be made in advance.

This cake is an homage to the birthday cake that so many of us grew up with—funfetti cake from a box mix topped with canned frosting. Except better. A whole lot better.

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Layer Cake

Miriam really wanted butterflies on her cake. I’m not really a cake decorator, so I totally winged it (pun sooo not intended!)—I rolled out some gum paste, cut out butterflies with cookie cutters, and painted them with food coloring. Along with some twirly candles, it made for a fun, bright, whimsical cake—so perfect for her!

Birthday Layer Cake

Birthday Cake

55 g (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

60 g (1/3 cup) vegetable shortening

250 g ( 1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar

50 g (3 tablespoons tightly packed) light brown sugar

3 large eggs

110 g (1/2 cup) buttermilk

65 g (1/3 cup) grapeseed oil

8 g (2 teaspoons) clear vanilla extract

245 g (2 cups) cake flour

6 g ( 1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder

3 g ( 3/4 teaspoon) kosher salt

50 g (1/4 cup) rainbow sprinkles

Nonstick cooking spray

25 g (2 tablespoons) rainbow sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. With the mixer on low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is very light and fluffy. Don’t rush the process—there should be no streaks of fat or liquid. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. On very low speed, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and the 50 g (1/4 cup) sprinkles. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining 25 g (2 tablespoons) sprinkles over the top of the batter.

6. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger. The cake should bounce back slightly, and the center should no longer jiggle. If the cake is not ready, leave in the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until done.

7. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Or if you’re in a rush, you can put it in the fridge or freezer to cool quickly. The cooled cake can be store in the fridge, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 5 days.

Makes 1 quarter sheet cake

Birthday Cake Soak

55 g (1/4 cup) whole milk

4 g (1 teaspoon) clear vanilla extract

Whisk the milk and vanilla together in a small bowl.

Birthday Cake Frosting

115 g (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

50 g (1/4 cup) vegetable shortening

55 g (2 ounces) cream cheese

25 g (1 tablespoon) glucose

18 g (1 tablespoon) corn syrup

12 g (1 tablespoon) clear vanilla extract

200 g (1 1/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt

0.25 g (pinch) baking powder

0.25 g (pinch) citric acid (sour salt)

1. Combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2. With the mixer on the lowest speed, stream in the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth and glossy white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until very white and smooth. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Makes about 430 g (2 cups)

Birthday Cake Crumb

100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

25 g (1 1/2 tablespoons tightly packed) light brown sugar

90 g (3/4 cup) cake flour

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) baking powder

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt

20 g (2 tablespoons) rainbow sprinkles

40 g (1/4 cup) grapeseed oil

12 g (1 tablespoon) clear vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.

2. Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed until well combined.

3. Add the oil and vanilla, and mix until small clusters form.

4. Spread the clusters on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally.

5. Remove from the oven, and let cool completely—the clusters with harden when cool. Store in an airtight container 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

makes about 275 g (2 1/4 cups)

Assembling the Birthday Layer Cake

1 recipe Birthday Cake (above)

1 recipe Birthday Cake Soak (above)

1 recipe Birthday Cake Frosting (above)

1 recipe Birthday Cake Crumb

1 (6-inch) cake ring

2 (3″ by 20″) acetate strips

1. Put a piece of parchment on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment. Use the cake ring to cut out 2 circles from the cake, as if you were using a giant cookie cutter (you can see a picture of my doing this for the carrot layer cake near the bottom of THIS post). These will be your to two cake layers. the bottom cake layer will be made from the remaining scraps.

2. Clean the cake ring and place it on a clean piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan or cutting board. Line the inside of the cake ring with one acetate strip.

3. Put the cake scraps into the ring, and use the back of your hand to push the scraps into an even layer.

4. Using a pastry brush, apply a good amount of the birthday cake soak (the recipe calls for using half the soak, but I found that to be too much—it leaked out of the bottom of the cake).

5. Use the back of a spoon to spread 1/5 of the frosting in an even layer over the cake.

6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the birthday crumbs evenly over the top of the frosting. Use the back of your hand to pat them in place.

7. Use the back of a spoon to spread a second fifth of the frosting as evenly as possible over the crumbs.

8. With your index finger, gently tuck the second acetate strip between the cake ring and the top 1/4 of the first strip, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall. Set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for the first layer (soak, frosting, crumbs, frosting).

9. Top with the remaining cake round. Cover with the last fifth of the frosting. Garnish with the remaining birthday crumbs.

10. Cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the freezer. Freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake can remain frozen like this for up to 2 weeks.

11. At least 3 hours before you want to serve the cake, remove the cake from the freezer. Using your fingers and thumbs (pushing on the bottom of the cake to push it up), pop the cake out of the cake ring. gently peel off the acetate strips, and transfer the cake to a cake stand or serving platter. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.

The cake can be kept in the fridge, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

*Recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar, by Christina Tosi

rainbow sprinkles

Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

There are several reasons why I chose to make this cake for my birthday:

-It’s a Momofuku Milk Bar cake. Which means that there a about 275 components to make (totally not exaggerating here) before you even start assembling the thing. And that, my friends, is my idea of fun. I also happen to  love the method of assembling these cakes.

-Carrot cake just seemed very appropriate for a spring birthday.

Liquid cheesecake. Enough said.

-The idea of a graham cracker flavored frosting completely intrigued me.

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

Please don’t get intimidated by the length of this recipe, though. It’s really not that difficult, and since everything can be made in advance you can really spread the work out a lot. I was planning on having my cake on a Sunday. The Monday before, I made the milk crumb. I made the liquid cheesecake on Tuesday, baked the cake on Wednesday, and made the graham crust and frosting on Thursday. Then I assembled and froze the cake on Friday, and took the cake out of the cake ring and transferred it to the fridge on Saturday night.

This is the third Milk Bar cake that I’ve made (I still need to get the other ones on the blog, especially the birthday layer cake that I made last summer), and this one is by far my favorite of them. I didn’t find it overly sweet, like some of their cakes can be, and the flavors just went so well together.

empty plate

Notes:

-You only need half the graham crust recipe for the frosting. You can make half a recipe, but I made the whole thing and froze half to use in an ice cream I plan to make next week. You also only half of the milk crumb recipe, but the leftovers are great for snacking on. Or you can use them in Blueberry & Cream Cookies.

-I am going to type out the recipe in the order that I made it, but you can obviously do it in whatever order you’d like.

-After the recipe are photos of the cake being put together, if you would  like to see a visual of the assembly (they’re not perfect—I had to take them at the same time I was assembling it—but it should give you an idea).

-You will need a quarter sheet pan, a 6-inch cake ring, and 2 (3″x20″) acetate strips.

Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Crumb

40 g (1/2 cup) milk powder

40 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour

12 g (2 tablespoons) cornstarch

25 g (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt

55 g (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick) butter, melted

20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder

90 g (3 ounces) white chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 250°F.

2. Combine the 40 g (1/2 cup) milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.

3. Spread the clusters on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

4. Crumble any crumb clusters that are larger than 1/2 inch in diameter, and put crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

5. Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (being VERY careful not to let any water touch the chocolate). Pour the melted white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are completely coated. Continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky.

The crumbs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

*Makes about 260 g (2 1/4 cups)

Liquid Cheesecake

225 g (8 ounces) cream cheese

150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar

6 g (1 tablespoon) cornstarch

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt

25 g (2 tablespoons) whole milk

1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.

2. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar is completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream. Whisk in the egg until everything is thoroughly combined.

4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg mixture. Paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Line the bottom and sides of a 6″x6″ baking pan with plastic wrap (I used a 6″ round Pyrex, and had to bake it a bit longer, but it worked fine). Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set at the edges, but still jiggly and loose in the center. If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, cake for 5 minute intervals until it is done. If the cheesecake rises more than 1/4 inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately. Cool completely before using.

The cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Makes about 325 g ( 1 1/2 cups)

Carrot Cake

115 g (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

120 g (1/2 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar

100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

40 g (1/4 cup) grapeseed oil

200 g (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour

4 g (1 teaspoon) baking powder

1.5 g (1/4 teaspoon) baking soda

1.5 g ( 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 g (1 1/4 teaspoons) kosher salt

225 g (2 1/2 cups) shredded peeled carrots (about 2 to 3 medium-sized carrots)

Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. On low speed, stream in the oil. Increase the speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is almost white, twice the size of your fluffy butter and sugar mixture, and there are no streaks of fat. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. On very low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until the batter comes together and all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer, dump in the shredded carrots, and fold them into the batter with a spatula.

6. Spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Using a spatula, spread the cake into an even layer in the pan.

7. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes. At 25 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger. The cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes if necessary.

8. Remover the cake from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack (or place it in the fridge or freezer to cool quickly).

The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

Makes 1 quarter sheet pan cake

Graham Frosting

Graham Crust:

190 g (1 1/2 cups) graham cracker crumbs

20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder

25 g (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar

3 g (3/4 teaspoon) kosher salt

55 g (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted (plus additional if needed)

55 g (1/4 cup) heavy cream

1. Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl until ingredients are evenly distributed.

2. Whisk together the butter and heavy cream. Add to the dry ingredients and toss well, until evenly distributed. the mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in your hand. If it’s not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons) butter and mix it in.

Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge of freezer.

Makes about 340 g (2 cups)

Graham Frosting:

1/2 recipe Graham Crust (above)

85 g (1/3 cup) whole milk

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt

85 g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

15 g (1 tablespoon tightly packed) light brown sugar

10 g (1 tablespoon) confectioners’ sugar

.5 g (1/2 teaspoon) ground cinnamon

.5 g (1/8 teaspoon) kosher salt

1. Combine the graham crust, milk, and salt in a blender, and pure until COMPLETELY smooth, 1 to 3 minutes depending on your blender.

2. Combine the butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and cream together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. On low speed, mix in the contents of the blender. After 1 minute, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.If the mixture is not a uniform pale tan, beat for another minute or so at medium-high speed, and scrape down the bowl again.

Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Makes about 230 g (1 cup)

Assembling the Carrot Layer Cake

1 recipe Carrot Cake (above)

Whole milk

1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake (above)

1/2 recipe Milk Crumb (above)

1 recipe Graham Frosting

1 (6″ by 3″ cake ring)

2 (3″ by 20″) acetate strips

1. Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Invert the cake onto it, and peel the parchment from the bottom of the cake (you may need to run a knife around the cake before releasing it from the pan). Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake (as if you were using a giant cookie cutter; see photo below). These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake scraps will be your bottom layer.

2. Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan or cutting board lined with a clean piece of parchment paper. Use 1 acetate strip to line the inside of the cake ring.

3. Put the cake scraps inside the ring and use the back of your hand to push them down into an even layer. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look nice—once it’s covered up no one will ever know.

4. Using a pastry brush, brush the cake layer with a good dose of milk (not too much, or it will leak out of the bottom of the cake).

5. Use the back of a spoon to spread half the liquid cheesecake in an even layer over the cake.

6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the milk crumbs over the cheesecake. Tap them gently with the back of your hand to anchor them in place.

7. Use the back of a spoon to spread 1/3 of the graham frosting as evenly as possible over  the crumbs (I found it really hard to spread frosting over the cheesecake and crumbs, so I just dolloped it evenly over them).

8. With your index finger, gently tuck the second acetate strip between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate (see photo below), so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall. Set another cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process from the first layer (the rest of the cheesecake, half of the remaining milk crumbs, and half of the remaining frosting).

9. Top with the last cake round. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining frosting, smoothing it out (or swirling it, if you prefer). Garnish with the remaining milk crumbs, gently nestling them into the frosting.

10. Cover with plastic wrap, transfer the sheet pan or cutting board to the freezer, and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. You can keep the cake in the freezer like this for up to 2 weeks.

11. At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, remove it from the freezer, and using your fingers and thumbs (pushing against the bottom of the cake), pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate, and transfer the cake to a cake stand or serving plate. Allow the cake to defrost in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Cake can be kept, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 5 days.

*Recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar, by Christina Tosi

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Bar Carrot Layer Cake

Milk Bar Carrot Layer cake

Vanilla Bean Latte Ruffle Cake {A favorite Cake, Revisited}

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Yesterday was my sister-in-law’s bridal shower. I was asked if I could do some baking for it, and of course I said yes!

Since it was a brunch, I thought that a Vanilla Bean Latte Layer Cake (you can find the recipe HERE) would be perfect for it. I doubled the buttercream recipe, and turned it into a ruffle cake (you can find a tutorial HERE.)

I also made Blueberry Crumble Bars (you can find the recipe in THIS post, along with a picture of my first attempt at a ruffle cake) and Cinnamon Buns (recipe HERE).

Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake {For Tova’s 2nd Birthday}

Strawberry & White Chocolate CakeFirst of all, I can’t believe my little baby is two already! Insane!

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Second of all, her birthday (and this cake) happened a while ago. But between going out of town, Passover, and then some very annoying internet connection problems, I wasn’t able to post it until now.

Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake

Since Ella’s and Tova’s birthdays are pretty close together, and I knew that Ella’s cake was going to be an incredibly rich chocolate cake, I wanted Tova’s cake to be very different from that. I chose to do a fruity strawberry cake, filled and frosted with a smooth white chocolate frosting, and topped with a white chocolate glaze. Well, it was supposed to be a glaze. But I let it sit a bit too long before pouring it on the cake and it ended up being more of a thick, spreadable ganache type of thing. But no biggie. Maybe it didn’t look quite as pretty that way, but it still tasted fantastic!

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Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake

Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake

Strawberry Layer Cake

1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar

1 (85 g) package strawberry flavored gelatin

1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, softened

4 large eggs, at room temperature

3 cups (300 g) sifted cake flour

1 tablespoon (15 g) baking powder

3/4 teaspoon (5 g) salt

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk, at room temperature

1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup strawberry puree, at room temperature (made from slightly thawed frozen strawberries pureed in the food processor until smooth)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter, line with parchment, and flour three 8-inch round cake pans, tapping out the excess flour.

2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the milk, strawberry puree, and vanilla extract, and stir well. Set aside.

3. Sift and whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set Aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, gelatin, and butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

6. Alternate adding the dry & wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing just enough to incorporate each addition. Be careful not to over-mix.

7. Divide that batter between the 3 prepared cake pans (if you have a kitchen scale you can use it to ensure 3 even layers), and use an offset spatula to spread evenly.

8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto greased racks (turning so the tops of the cakes are facing up) to cool completely.

*Recipe from Sweetapolita

White Chocolate Frosting

6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but still cool, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Using a double boiler or a microwave oven, melt the white chocolate and it aside to cool.

2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes.

3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

4. Add the vanilla extract and white chocolate, and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the fridge to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

*Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito

White Chocolate Glaze

Note: Make the glaze after the whole cake is assembled and fully frosted and chilled.

4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

Soft pink gel food coloring

1. Combine the white chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, being careful not to get any water into the mixture. Stir until melted and smooth.

2. Remove from heat, and add a couple drops of food coloring (as little or as much as you want, depending on how intense you want the color to be), and mix well. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly.

To Assemble:

1. Place one cake layer onto a cake board or serving platter. Spread evenly with  1 1/4 cups frosting. Add the next cake layer, and top that evenly with another 1 1/4 cups frosting. Top with the third layer, and cover the top and sides of the cake with a very thin layer of frosting to crumb-coat it. Place the cake in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up the frosting. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting, getting it as even and smooth as possible. Place the cake back into the fridge to firm up while you make the glaze.

2. Once the glaze is ready, remove the cake from the fridge. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides (I like to use a spoon or small ladle to control how much goes on at once). You my not need to use all the glaze, but that’s up to you (depending on how much glaze you want on the cake). Return the cake to the fridge for about 15 to firm up the glaze.

Triple Chocolate Cake {For Ella’s 10th Birthday}

Triple Chocolate Cake

Ella Birthday (10)

For her birthday last year, Ella chose a really delicious, really rich, really chocolaty cake. This year? Ella again chose a really delicious, really rich, really chocolaty cake.

I asked her if next year she can please choose something that’s still really delicious, just not something that’s really rich and really chocolaty. She said sure. Thank goodness.

(Note: I do love rich, chocolaty desserts.  I just don’t love having to throw out half a cake because you really can’t eat more than one small piece of it.)

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The only question is, how on earth do I already have a 10-year-old???

Triple Chocolate Cake

This cake consists of three components. I made the chocolate Italian buttercream two days ahead, the cake one day ahead, and the fudge icing the day of. I used Scharffen Berger 70% for all the chocolate.

Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream

360 g (1 3/4 cups superfine sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1/2 cup water

6 large egg whites

600 g (5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into big chunks

70 g (2 1/2  ounces) dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1. Put the sugar, golden syrup, and water in a medium saucepan and mix until well combined, making sure that there are no stray grains of sugar. Brush the inside of the saucepan with clean water to dislodge any stray grains. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan, and keep boiling until it reaches 248°F (120°C).

2. Meanwhile, place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.

3. When the sugar syrup reaches 248°F (120°C) remove it from the heat. With the mixer running, slowly pour a steady stream of the sugar syrup into the egg whites, being careful not to hit the whisk while doing so. Continue whisking until the meringue cools.

4. Add the softened butter one-third at a time, and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.

5. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

6. Once the chocolate has cooled, whisk it into the buttercream until thoroughly combined.

Keeps for up to 1 week at room temperature.

 

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

225 g (8 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped into pea-sized pieces

65 g (4 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)

175 g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

4 large eggs

300 g (1 1/2 cups) superfine sugar

175 g ( 1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 340°F.Grease a 10-inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper.

2. Put the chocolate and cocoa powder into a large heatproof bowl.

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour into the bowl of chocolate and cocoa powder, and stir until melted and smooth.

4. IN another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Pour into the chocolate mixture, and mix until well combined.

5. Put the flour, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl and sift twice.

6. Add one-third of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, and mix until well incorporated. Add half the buttermilk, and mix until just combined. Repeat with another third of the flour, and the rest of the buttermilk. Finally, add the last third of the flour mixture, and mix until thoroughly combined.

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes. When done, a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out with almost no crumbs attached, and the middle of the cake should spring back slightly when pressed. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes if necessary.

8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Slade a table knife all around the edge to loosen the cake, then turn over onto a rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before cutting or storing.

 

Fudge Icing

1 cup whipping cream

65 g (3 tablespoons) golden syrup

350 g (12 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped into pea-sized pieces

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

75 g (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled

1. Put the cream and golden syrup into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Put the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. As soon as the cream mixture comes to a boil, immediately pour it over the chocolate. Set aside for 1 minute.

3. Using a small balloon whisk placed in the middle of the bowl, stir with very small motions. Don’t stray from the middle of the bowl. You are making an emulsion by taking a large amount of chocolate at the bottom of the bowl and slowly adding small amounts of cream to it. (Stirring in larger motions will incorporate more cream than needed, breaking the emulsion and resulting in a dull, grainy mixture.) Do not incorporate air, as that will result in unwanted air bubbles and shorten the life of the icing. Keep stirring with small motions—it will look as if nothing is happening until eventually a very shiny, thick, glossy mixture forms. Gradually stir in wider motions to incorporate more cream into the emulsion, until it is fully combined.

4. Add the vanilla extract and butter, and mix until well combined. Set aside to let the chocolate stiffen into a firm consistency before using.

 

To Assemble the Triple Chocolate Cake

1. Cut the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake horizontally into 3 equal layers.

2. Put one layer onto a 10-inch round cake board on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan. Spread a thin layer of Fudge Icing over it. Now spread a generous layer of the Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream over the top.

3. Repeat this process with a second layer of cake on top of the first layer.

4. Top with the last layer of cake. Spread a thin layer of the meringue buttercream all over the cake with an offset spatula, making it as smooth and neat as possible. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

5. A few minutes before you are ready to take the cake out of the fridge to finish decorating, you will need to soften the remaining fudge icing so that it’s a pourable consistency. Gently warm the icing in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, until it is smooth and glossy. (Don’t heat it too quickly, or you risk splitting the emulsion.)

6. Take the cake out of the fridge and carefully pour the icing over it, allowing it to drip down and cover the sides of the cake. Let cool and set slightly before adding any sprinkles or chopped candy bars to the top.

Once the icing thickened a bit on the cake, I used a wooden skewer to write “Happy Birthday!” on it, and I sprinkled the edges with pink sprinkles.

Makes 1 10-inch, 3-layer cake (serves about 20)

*Recipe from Tea with Bea, Bea Vo