It seems as though when you are an aspiring baker, you become forever responsible for making your own birthday cakes. Last year I made myself a raw cheesecake, but this year I wanted something more traditional.
At work, I had been making hundreds of chocolate cake pops, which left me craving chocolate cake. I was too lazy to work on an original recipe, so I adjusted 101 Cookbooks' Basic Chocolate Cake. I made this recipe twice (not by choice, but because the first attempt ended so disastrously I can't even bear to type it out) and the description on the original recipe is perfect—it is the kind of cake you bake and ice in the pan....which, it turns out, is not the kind of cake I'd like to have in my future bakery (though James disagrees).
This is a really a great recipe and a delicious cake, but I probably wouldn't make it again without further adjustments. I won't bother to write out the recipe, however, I will include my notes.
Notes for 101 Cookbook's Basic Chocolate Cake:
- To replace the bittersweet chocolate, I melted unsweetened chocolate, combined it with 75 grams of honey (per 4 oz of chocolate), allowed it to re-set in the fridge, then finely chopped it (it won't re-set as nicely as before, but it serves its purpose)
- 8 oz of chocolate was too much chocolate for me, and reduced it to 4 oz the second time.
- The first cake too crumbly, so the second time I added an extra egg white (30 grams), which I think served me well.
- I used ghee instead of butter (possibly the reason it was crumbly?).
- To have a layered cake, I baked the batter in two 8" cake pans, with parchment lined bottoms. Even with the addition of an egg white, this cake is too fragile to cut into layers.
Onto the icing...I have been wanting to try a honey sweetened buttercream for some time, so I tried this recipe for Vanilla Buttercream. I replaced the butter with a combination of ghee and coconut oil (ran out of ghee), which may have been why my icing became a bit too soft at room temperature...or perhaps it was because my little hand mixer has never been very good at making meringue-ish things. In any case, I don't blame the recipe. Is it weird for me to say the icing was too light? I think I wanted an buttercream with more substance. Perhaps I am weird, because my comrades disagreed.
The combination was great—especially the mingling of chocolate and coconut—and very rich.The icing's aversion to warmth was a bit problematic as the chocolate cake was rather dry when cold, and tasted better at room temperature. All in all, however, it was a nice birthday present to myself.
Speaking of birthday presents, did anyone notice that my url is no longer a mile long? A dear friend of mine bought me my own domain as a birthday gift! Thanks Nick!