Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Birthday Girl and her Chocolate Cake

Happy Birthday to my beautiful, sweet angel who touches my heart, makes me laugh, and just by existing makes life worth living. May you have a billion more birthdays and may each one be happier than the last. I love you.

And since I love my daughter so much, I made the chocolate cake she requested for her birthday. No big deal since I love to bake, but this cake was one I haven't made in many years. The first time I made it (for a party at my husband's office), everyone thought it tasted like it came from a bakery. I was so proud :) This time, I had a few extra little helpers than a did before, so needless to say, it was fun and challenging. I was glad when it came out even resembling a cake!

Perfect Chocolate Cake

1 cup unsifted unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups boiling water
2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 pkg. (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup light cream
1 cup butter
2 1/2 unsifted confectioner's sugar

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup unsifted confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1) In medium bowl, combine cocoa with boiling water, mixing with wire whisk until smooth. Cool completely. Sift flour with soda, salt, and baking powder. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease well and lightly flour three 9 x 1 1/2 inch layer cake pans (I used two larger Wilton Cake Pans).
2) In large bowl beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with mixer. Scrape bowl often. Beat until light- about 5 minutes. At low speed, beat in flour mixture (in fourths), alternate with cocoa mixture (in thirds) beginning and ending with flour mixture. Do not over beat.

3) Divide evenly into pans, smooth top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Carefully loosen sides with spatula and remove from pans.

4) Frosting: In medium saucepan, combine chocolate pieces, cream, butter and stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat. With whisk, blend in 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar. In bowl set over ice, beat until it holds shape.

5) Filling: Whip cream with sugar and vanilla, refrigerate.

6) To Assemble Cake: On plate, place a layer, top side down, spread with half of cream. Place second layer down, spread with rest of cream. Place third layer, top side up.

7) To Frost: With spatula, frost sides first, covering whipped cream. Use rest of frosting on top. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, slice with sawing motion.

Serves 10 to 12.

Tip: The cream between the layers didn't hold up very well. It wasn't stiff enough to hold the weight of the cake. Next time, I think I will be using the icing instead, or some combination of the two.

Above- Just out of the oven

"The best birthdays of all are those that haven't arrived yet."
- Robert Orben

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