I made a chocolate cake. Which is huge for me..HUGE. Probably on the same level as graduating college. SO instead of sharing the bestest-chocoliest-decedandest-luxurious-chocolate cake there is. I simply just want to share my experience of finally combating one of my biggest challenges.
I took a few quick photos after the cake was assembled because I knew I wanted to share such a momentous occasion. See, this is a chocolate cake and if you know me well, you know that I don’t eat chocolate-ever. I also don’t bake cakes (seriously, who is this woman?). The last time I made cupcakes they turned into hockey pucks and were the perfect assortment for stone skipping. That was nearly 3 years ago and I never looked back since. Baking cakes makes me feel nervous, itchy and twitchy.
Even though I have background in science and I like the ‘black and white” way of thinking as in a baking recipe, there is more more creativity and freedom in cooking savory foods that I don’t find in baking.
So alas, my neighbor asked if I can make her a cake for a party.
“Of course”, I replied. “I make them all the time. What flavor are you looking for?”
“Chocolate cake”, she replied.
I felt my eyes widen and skin begin to bump up. My anxiety was beginning to roll through me and I felt my natural nervous reactions begin to take over.
I stumbled to reply as I am thinking of where the heck to find chocolate!? I climbed through my cabinets and crawled up my step ladder (Because I am only 5’1 and all the sweets is snugly and purposely tucked away in the top shelf). I ran to my computer frantically typing “chocolate cake recipe” and began texting all my baking friends begging for a no-fail recipe. They were sure to save me from this disaster.
The process took me 2 days to complete. And I am not even sure if that is a good amount of time. Couldn’t she ask me to make a souffle instead or Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon? I mean really…those are like life-time bragging rights.
The event was on Friday and I made the chocolate cake on Thursday. Per recommendations, I kept the cakes in the fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap until it was time to frost the next day. I used the Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe on the back of the cocoa box and only substituted buttermilk, for milk and coffee for the water.
The frosting was given to me by one of my best friends who used to work in a baker. It was simple and according to my trusted taste testers, was pretty perfect too. It was a basic buttercream frosting where I beat the heck out of the butter, added sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder and a touch of both vanilla and almond extract.
In addition, I bought my first turntable! Another HUGE for me. I was contemplating the turntable but found it helped immensely with “crumb coating” the cake. Oh and crumb coating…that was also something new that I never heard of before. Apparently you spread a thin layer all over the cake and then stick it in the fridge for 15 minutes before the actual frosting. This ensures that no crumbs will not sneak into your frosting.
I have to say, for the first time making a layered cake. I am pretty darn happy with how it came out. I wanted to keep it simple and elegant but also like I knew what I was doing. I frosted for nearly an hour, perfect my strokes yet offering a “rustic” look.
The next batch of nerves came back when I had to slice the cake. I mean good grief, I can do this! I have traveled all over the world. I have completed a college education. I can keep plants and my dog alive. I can certainly cut a chocolate cake.
And there she beholds..my beautiful work of art. The cake sliced perfectly and the layers were even and moist. At this moment I knew my work was done. I left my neighbors party and my nerves finally settled.
Checking this one off the bucket list.
Now….who wants a cake?
(PS….If anyone is in dire need of the frosting recipe, please let me know and I will be happy to send it to you).
(PSS- A huge thank you to all my baker friends and readers who graciously gave me advice on making this recipe!)