Earlier this week the son of friend from work turned four. His party was on Sunday, and I baked the cake.
Although I most frequently search for recipes on the internet these days, I decided to pour through cookbooks searching for the perfect chocolate cake recipe. (I have a fabulous chocolate cupcake recipe, but I haven’t baked a chocolate cake from scratch before.) Finally I settled on the classic dark chocolate layer cake from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. It included both sour cream and buttermilk, neither of which I normally bake with, but birthday cakes are special. It turned out nice and moist and chocolately (using cocoa instead of chocolate, unlike most of the other recipes I considered.) It also was quite dense, so I didn’t have to worry about it being too fragile. I would definitely recommend the recipe.
I wanted to fill it with a raspberry filling. The reoccurring theme I found when looking for recipes seemed to be seedless raspberry preserves, so I mixed some with the frosting. It was very sweet. I added some cream cheese to try to tone it down. In the future I would make a filling starting with frozen raspberries.
I used my usual buttercream frosting. I tried it with unsalted butter, as that is what I had bought for the cake, and it was terrible. Luckily I needed to make more, so I used salted butter for that batch and combined the two. With unsalted butter the powdered sugar taste was too obvious.
(makes enough to frost an 8″ 2-layer cake, adapted from Allrecipes)
1 cup salted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
up to 1/4 cup milk
With a mixer, cream butter. Mix in vanilla. Beat in as much icing sugar as possible. Add in a tablespoon or two of milk and then mix in remaining sugar. Continue adding milk, a little at a time, and beating until light and fluffy. All the milk may not be necessary.
I tempered dark chocolate and filled a parchment cone and piped chocolate stars onto parchment paper. (I also tried to make a rocket, as originally it was going to be a rocket cake, but that didn’t work so well!) Once dry, they were easy to place on the cake.
It looked… like a homemade cake. I definitely need practice. But it tasted good!
And then, the kids all beat a bird to death (!!!)
Do you bake birthday cakes?