Thursday, June 26, 2014

Double Chocolate Layer had me at "double chocolate."

'tis the season for parties...birthdays, anniversaries (my own, yay!), graduations, baby showers, bridal showers, bachelor/ette parties to scratch the surface.  Which means my friends and family are kind enough to ask me to do their cakes!  This past weekend I got to make my friends baby shower cake (posted to FB, as most of y'all saw!) and it was a HIT!  And there was seriously no leftovers, crazy...i would have never guessed, usually folks pass on dessert!

This was one of the better cakes I've made...I wish the writing were better but the damn piping frosting kept breaking on me and I just kept getting more n more frustrated.  The tractor/fence came from amazon, the sugar flowers I ordered a variety pack a while ago (, but yea everything else came from these two hands.  I made the carrots and pumpkins from fondant...and the haystack was Andy's moms idea of dying shredded coconut yellow.  It seriously looked like grated cheddar cheese!  Oh well, next time i may have to add a smidge of brown dye to make it less bright.

So the recipes for the cake are as follows!  enjoy...

Double Chocolate Layer Cake
The following recipe is a Miette recipe, but it was published a couple years back in their cookbook, but for me it's just easier to weigh everything out with my scale...the only difference here is they use 70% dark chocolate, I use 60%.  Everything here is exactly as I make it; this recipe makes a lot though...

1-12"x2" cake
1-10"x2" cake + 1 9" single layer
probably makes 2-8"x2" cakes

it makes a lot.  Adjust bake times accordingly; if I'm making a 10" or bigger cake I put a rose needle in the center so it bakes from the outside in and inside out so nothing burns.  I think my 10" took 45min this way.  Cupcakes are around 20-25min depending on how much batter is in your molds.  Cool completely before de-panning, and then wrap in plastic wrap and throw in the freezer for easier slicing later.  Unfortunately it's a bit crumbly on the edges; I recommend using gloves when your assembling/slicing.  It's also a really yummy batter; beware...

MDC/Dark Chocolate Ganache
This recipe also comes from Miette and makes a generous amount of ganache.  You could probably half this recipe if you want less, but it keeps a while and is versatile.  The ganache was very carefully/strategically poured on top of the cake so that it would just delicately drip off the sides of the cake onto the board.  I went slow so I made sure I got it to look just right, so take your time (but not TOO much time, lol.)  I made the ganache ahead of time because my week leading up to the shower was insanely busy, so I just warmed up a portion of the pre-made, refrigerated ganache in a microwavable 4c. measuring cup and when it was the right temp (i didn't want it liquid hot!), i used my immersion stick blender to liquefy it completely and make sure there were no lumps before pouring it on the WELL-CHILLED cake.  if the cake isn't cold enough (30-60min in the fridge) the ganache might pull the frosting and make it ugly.  However, if the exterior of the cake is ALL ganache (like a ganache shell), you'll warm a warmer liquefied coat for the initial pouring, then adding a second, thicker (read: cooler temp) ganache layer for the final presentation layer!

Dulce de Leche Frosting (link: recipe!)
This was a first time trial with the frosting...I was SO excited to try this, and then I did more research to find out that I was able to make it a swiss meringue buttercream!  So next time I will try it that way, but for this cake I wanted to stick to the recipe...

- 1 can Dulce de Leche (i think mine was 13.4oz; found in the Ethnic aisle at any grocery store or Target!)
- 12 tbsp room temperature butter (1 1/2 sticks!)
- 3 cups of sifted powder sugar (yea i didn't bother sifting...)
- ~1 tsp milk (if needed; i did NOT use and added in a little vanilla extract if it needed thinning)

To make the frosting, cream the butter and dulce de leche. Slowly add the powder sugar, 1/2 cup at a time scraping the sides of the bowl down when needed. When all the sugar is added, increase the speed and mix for 1 more minute until smooth and shiny. (If it's too stiff add few drops, up to 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract).

Because I was making a bigger cake, I made a 2nd batch of frosting just in case and I am glad I did...I still had some leftovers, but I can make some cupcakes for frosting too yay!  It is a tad sweet IMO, and I wouldn't be opposed to throwing in a pinch or two of salt to balance it out.  Again, very excited to make it into a swiss meringue buttercream next time!

The end result was clear: homerun, knocked it out of the park!  Rich, moist cake meets dulce de leche and ganache, it's a no-brainer.  Everyone was so impressed with the exterior, and to find out it tasted good too, that's basically a grand slam IMO!  I am so glad I could make a cute baby shower cake for my friend...the writing on the cake was one of the hostess' ideas, and Andy totally helped with the creative and artistic direction of this, where should the pond go?  How should the pond be shaped?  Where does the tractor look best?  Does this tip look like grass or is this one better?  I sound like I have a lot of self doubt, and to some degree I did after that basketball cake, but he has an Art Degree, it just made sense he be my artistic consultant :) 

Well the only other cake on the horizon is a wedding cake in October...if you have dessert needs, I might be able to help ;) Next blog: ever since i saw Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I wanted to find a clementine cake recipe. FYI: not much on the internet!  The night we got home from our anniversary trip to Tahoe, I got to work and let me just say, it was tasty. The damn oven shut off midway bc i must have hit the wrong button on the stove, but it still turned out once I realized it wasn't baking and fired it back up!  I just want to make again / bake it properly and correct to get an idea of how the texture truly should be.  Plus i want to tweak the icing, but I really liked what I made so I suspect it will only get better.  'Til next week!

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