Friday, August 5, 2011

I Baked a Cake!

During the summer I don't always get a lot done during the day. But every day Ryan asks what I did. I tend to mumble out of embarrassment due to my utter lack of productivity. "I read. I watched TV. I took a nap. I tickled the dog". But Wednesday I had something to report. I practiced saying it. Excited: "I baked a cake today!" Casual: "Oh, you know, I just baked a cake." I even debated the basic grunt and point "Urg. Cake." Because come on, isn't that cake pretty enough to do the talking for itself? Two moist chocolatey layers, light and fluffy frosting of whipped cream and cream cheese, sweet sweet strawberries. It's so good. You know you want to be able to brag about it too!

A million thanks to Debbie for the basis of the cake recipe and guiding me through the round pan thingy. Go Debbie!! Also, Debbie now has a cookbook. You really might need it. Lookie here.
Please note, all the things I have done to this cake firmly negate any low calorie/weight-watchery virtues she may have mentioned.

1 1/2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt (if you use salted butter, please only use a pinch, if that. This measurement is for unsalted butter users)
1 C dutch-process cocoa (admission, I used Hershey's because it's what was in the cabinet. It sufficed).
10 T butter, softened
1 1/2 C sugar
2 t vanilla
2 large eggs
1 C plain nonfat yogurt

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Debbie suggests greasing and flouring your pans. I found this insufficient and would put parchment down in the bottom of each round if doing it again, this was a nasty little beast to remove from the pans.

In a medium bowl combine your flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt (if using). Set aside.

Cream your butter and sugar until thoroughly mixed and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and then mix again until combined. Alternate adding the yogurt and the dry ingredients about a third at a time. After each addition, mix. This is a thick batter, so don't overmix it.

Evenly divide it between your pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in the pan (try a half hour) and then run your knife carefully around the edge to separate it further. Very, very carefully turn it out and cool completely, on a rack if you can manage it, but one of mine was so fiddly it needed to cool on a plate. Be careful.

adapted from here
8 oz cream cheese
2 C heavy cream
1/4 C sugar

Whip together the cream cheese and sugar. Then add the heavy cream and keep whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak. Feel free to mess with the ration of cream cheese to whipping cream, just keeping in mind that the more whipped cream vs. cream cheese you use, the less stable it is, and it will need to be eaten sooner. But you may like the fluffier consistency if the cake will be eaten same day.

NB: Due to a slacker shopping job, I made/used a half recipe of this frosting. As you can see, it made do just fine. I'm giving you the whole recipe because I felt a bit stingy. You may want to feel extravagant or have the option of frosting the sides or you know, just stick your face in it. I don't judge.

Rinse, dry and slice up most of a 16oz package of strawberries.

On a pretty serving plate, lay down one of the chocolate layers. Smooth on a suitable amount of the frosting. Artfully arrange the strawberries. (I'm a freak, the inside layer looks pretty much like the top, minus the one central berry). Carefully lower on the second chocolate layer. Top with more whipped cream frosting deliciousness. Artfully arrange more berries. Admire. Announce to anyone who will listen that you baked a cake.


debbie koenig said...

Wow, that's gorgeous! So glad it worked out!

PLW said...

OMG I had to invite myself to dinner just so I could have a piece of this lusciousness. And you know what, my generous daughter even gave me two (WO!!) pieces to take home. Now that is LOVE! And I WILL be making this in the future.

JMLC said...

so pretty! and I'm glad it all worked out- I never got a report back on the frosting!!! :-)


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