This is a cake that has been long in coming. Whenever I ask Rocker Dude what he wants me to bake, he always says to just make what is on the cover of the Dorie Greenspan cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours. It is basically a three layer chocolate cake with white marshmallow frosting and cake crumbs around the edges. I have been putting it off because I have not had the time necessary to spend on it. Sorry that there aren’t more pictures of the process, but I was also doing a ton of other things at the same time.
So for Rocker Dude’s birthday, I promised him this cake. I knew that I would not be able to make it all in one day, and anyway, you are supposed to let a cake cool completely before icing it, so I made the cake Thursday night while I made the rest of the Sabbath food. Then Friday morning, after coming back from the beach(!), I made the frosting and put the cake together.
I will say that the frosting did not come out as stiff as I would have hoped, but that might have to do with the humidity and heat we have been having. Either way, it came out well, just some of it got squished between the layers and came out the side. Rocker Dude says that next time I should try it with regular buttercream – or not in the summer.
The cake itself was really easy to make. It had three kinds of chocolate in it, melted chocolate, cocoa powder and chocolate chips. It made for a heavenly and moist cake. I baked the cake in two pans and then divided them each into two layers.
For the frosting, I made the simple syrup, it was really easy, and then started beating the egg whites. I carefully poured the sugar syrup in, and the directions said to mix it until it cools to room temperature, about five minutes. Well, five minutes came and went and I was worried about over whipping the egg whites. I tried to put frozen bags of vegetable on the side of the mixing bowl to try to cool it down, but it didn’t work enough. In the end, I just stuck the whole bowl in the fridge for a few minutes.
When I got ready to frost the layers, the frosting was light and stiff and not too sweet (this is why I prefer it over buttercream icing which can really be over the top). I carefully put the cake together. As I said, some of the icing squished out the sides, but on the whole, it came together nicely. I crumbled up the fourth layer of cake and put cake crumbs all around the side and some of the top of the cake. Of course, I had to share those cake crumbs with the Little Rocker who kept coming to me for more.
I put the whole assembled cake in the fridge to protect it from the heat. When I took it out for dessert, people were very impressed. And it tasted good too. Best of all, Rocker Dude loved it too.
Definitely will make it again!
Here is what we were up to before putting the cake together:
Recipe (From Baking: From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan):
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk (or soymilk with a tiny bit of vinegar in it)
1/2 cup boiling water
4 oz. semisweet or milk chocolate finely chopped, or 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8 inch round cake pans.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for an additional 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Still working on low speed, add the boiling water. This will thin the batter considerably. Scrape down the bowl and add the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch, and a knife inserted into the center will come out clean. transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and let cool for about 5 minutes. Then unmold the cakes and let the cakes cool completely.
When you are ready to fill the cakes, inspect them carefully. If the cakes have crowned, use a long, serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Slice each cake horizontally in half.
To make the frosting: Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer. Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on a candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.
When the syrup is at 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer on medium speed, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring between the beaters and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable, don’t try to scrape them into the whites. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting. It is best to use the frosting right away.
Put a bottom layer of cake, cut side up, on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with a third layer, cut side down, and frost the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry about smoothing the frosting, it should be swirly. Crumble up the last layer of cake and gently press the crumbs into the frosting with your fingers.
Refrigerate the cake for an hour before serving. Or you can cover the cake and chill it for 8 hours or more.