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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Tale of Two Cakes: Chocolate and White

This is a tale of two cakes.  Chocolate and White.  My sister Chelsea was in town for a weekend so we decided to celebrate our September birthdays (my brother Richard age 22 and my nephew Dutch age 1) that Sunday.  I come from a family of chocoholics, so naturally I assumed everyone wanted chocolate cake.  I planned on doubling my  recipe and doing two cakes with one batter, but I decided to play the professional baker and ask what they wanted for their birthday cakes.  True to form my brother requested Chocolate cake with Chocolate Ganache filling.  Then my sister Sabrina (Dutch's Mom) throws a wrench in my easy peasy chocolate plan and said that we always have chocolate and requested a white cake.  It's easier to clean up after.  Though this may be good Mommy logic, white cake is easier to clean up after than chocolate, I was stuck with making two very different cakes at the same time.  This was not going to be as easy as I planned.
Here is my mass of ingredients for everything.  Not only does it make a nice beginning photo for my blog, I also have everything I need in one central location so I am not going around the kitchen looking for ingredients.  The table top mass also lets me see instantly what I am almost out of or missing before I start my baking project.
The first thing I did was make frosting.  I decided to go with two buttercream cakes instead of fondant because they are easier and take less time to manufacture.  I decided to frost and finish the white cake first, then I can just add cocoa powder to the remaining buttercream and use the rest of it for decorating the chocolate cake.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature or softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbs heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbs Meringue Powder (optional)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • Beat together butter, shortening, vanilla, and heavy cream.  Beat in meringue powder and powdered sugar one cup at a time until combined.  Add more cream or powdered sugar until you get the right consistency you want.
I take a new frosting picture every time.  Do I ever get tired of frosting or frosting pictures?  No.  Not yet anyway.
Since Richard's Chocolate Ganache filling needed some refrigeration time I did that next.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz (two bars or 1 cup) of semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • Chop up chocolate.  Heat cream to near boiling in a saucepan.  Add chocolate to a separate bowl.  Pour hot cream over the chocolate chunks and stir until melted.  Refrigerate until cool.  Whip together.
What you do not see is me eating the chocolate ganache with reckless abandon.  I love this stuff.  On to the cakes.

White Cake

  • 5 Tbs butter (half a stick+)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk (I always bake with whole milk.  It taste better.)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • Beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar together.  Add vanilla and almond extract.  Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl.  Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients to butter-sugar mixture.  In a separate bowl whip egg whites with 2 Tbs sugar until stiff peaks form.  Beat in 1/4 of the egg whites into the mix.  Fold in the rest of the egg whites.  We want a nice and fluffy cake batter.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.  Makes one 8" - 9" cake pan.
To make them as different as possible I went with a round cake for Dutch and a square cake for Richard.

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled.
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs water
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs buttermilk
  • Melt chocolate and wait for it to cool.  Beat together sugar and shortening.  Add egg and vanilla.   Pour cooled chocolate in slowly.  If it is too warm it seizes up in the batter and you end up with chocolate chunk cake (which isn't such a bad thing, but not pretty).  Mix together dry ingredients.  Alternate adding dry ingredients with buttermilk-water mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.  Makes one 8" - 9" cake pan.
Since I used 3 egg whites for the white cake I decided to use the left over 3 egg yolks for the filling.

Vanilla Custard 

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbs butter - room temperature or softened.
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • In a medium saucepan whisk together egg yolks and sugar.  In a separate sauce pan heat milk to almost boiling.  Slowly whisk in hot milk to egg yolks so not to curdle the eggs.  Heat custard over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.  Refrigerate until thick and cool.
A white cake.
A white cake with a Whale.
Little kid cakes are easy.  It is the adult cakes that I have a hard time designing.  I did not think Richard would appreciate a Captain Ahab cake to go with the whale.  Add what is left of the chocolate ganache filling to the chocolate cake.
I added cocoa powder to the remaining white and blue frosting and I had enough chocolate frosting to cover cake #2.
I decided to go with a basket weave pattern around the edge and random scroll along the border.  That's good enough for a mature, sophisticated 22 year old, right?
My two cakes - chillin'.
Upon delivery to my parent's house.
Happy first birthday baby Dutch.
Dutch with his first birthday cake.
Happy Birthday Richard.
Richard with his 22nd birthday cake.
Happy birthday boys.  I love my boys.
Chocolate and White cake were equally eaten.