Here’s a first for this little blog! A full on birthday cake!
I’m embarrassed to admit that I made this cake for a VERY belated birthday for one of my best friends, Phoebe. Her birthday was back in January!! Oopsies. In my defense, we had just come back from our trip to SE Asia a couple days before, and I was sick, so it just kept getting pushed back.
I love the challenge of taking a counter-full of ingredients and turning it into something delicious and sometimes even beautiful. And I love the feeling when you give your bakes away to friends or family and you get to watch them enjoy their little treat! Bringing happiness to others with food is the best.
Cake is one of those bakes that I do love to make, but it’s not my favorite to eat. Now before ya yell at me, don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying I don’t liiike cake. But if someone asked me to choose between a slice of cake and a slice of pie, it’s pie for me all the way.
That said, this is my favorite chocolate cake recipe! It never fails to turn out moist and delicious. I paired it with a bittersweet chocolate ganache, and it’s enrobed in a cookies ‘n cream buttercream. The cake and filling are a pretty rich combo of dark chocolate. And the buttercream is super light and fluffy! That’s how iii want to eat cake.
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup hot brewed coffee
Cookies ‘n Cream Buttercream:
4 Egg whites, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12-16 oz unsalted butter, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fine oreo cookie crumbs
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup cream
Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 6-inch cake pans, line them with a 6 inch round of parchment, butter them again & then dust with flour . Mix together the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla and mix on low for about two minutes. Add in milk and mix on low until incorporated, then scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Add in the hot coffee and mix on low. Batter will be very thin, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Be sure to give it a quick fold by hand to make sure it is all incorporated. Divide the batter equally between the three pans, and bake for about 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs. While they are cooling, make your buttercream and filling.
Buttercream: In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar and egg whites. Heat over a pot of simmering water, using your hand to whisk the mixture constantly so the eggs do not cook. You want the sugar to dissolve completely, and the mixture should we warm to the touch (no grit between your finger tips at all from the sugar, should be smooth). Immediately beat the mixture on medium high with the whisk attachment. Increase the speed to high, and beat until it is completely cool and a stiff peaked meringue forms (about 10 minutes). Switch to the paddle attachment, and slowly incorporate the butter one tablespoon at a time. You can use 12 ounces of butter for a more meringue-y consistency, or the full 16 ounces of butter will be more buttery (duh haha). Depending on how cold your mixture vs butter are, you may need to heat the mixture again (if it starts to look curdled, heat it & beat it. If it’s soupy, refrigerate it and then beat again). Once the buttercream is the right consistency, beat in the vanilla and cookie crumbs.
Ganache: Roughly chop your chocolate and place in a small bowl. Carefully heat your cream so it comes to a simmer (Can be done on stove or in microwave. Watch it though, boils over very easily!). Pour the hot cream over your chocolate, and allow to sit for a minute or two before whisking. Whisk until the chocolate is fully melted and combined.
Assembly: Trim your cakes if needed. Place the first layer on a 6 inch cake board, and on a cake turn table if you have one. Pipe a border of buttercream around the top edge of the cake to act as a well for the ganache. Plop on a nice dollop of ganache and use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth into a nice layer. Repeat with the next cake layer, and finally add the last cake. Frost with a crumb coat, and allow to chill for at least 15 minutes. Frost and decorate to your liking. Add the remaining ganache to a squirt bottle if you have one and pipe around the top edge of the cake for the drizzle look. You can also use extra cookies to line the bottom and top for a border. Need decorating or frosting tips? Check out YouTube! Tons of great resources.
Making cakes is almost always stressful in some way or another for me. The decorating always takes longer than I think it will, so I’m usually in a rush. But it’s so much fun to see the look on the face of the person you’re giving it to! People love cake.
Happy Belated Birthday Pheebs!
Let’s eat some cake!