Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A tale of two cakes

My cousin Jeff had two big occasions recently: high school graduation and his 18th birthday. I volunteered to make the cake. Two cakes, actually, for the two special occasions. The chocolate graduation cake turned out deliciously, so delicious that I wish I had a huge piece right now so I could shove it in my mouth.

First, the bad: the yellow birthday cake was awful. Had I known it would turn out so bad, I would have just thrown it away. Seriously. The recipe was not that spectacular to begin with (it was from the Cake Mix Doctor book), I overbaked it, and the frosting was totally corrupted with crumbs. Thank goodness for true buttercream icing, because that is the only thing that saved it.

Second, the good: the chocolate cake was delicious. The recipe was also from the Cake Mix Doctor book: 1 box mix devil's food cake, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 1/3 cups buttermilk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix all ingredients, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I used a 13x9 baking pan.

I covered the cake with a milk chocolate frosting. I most certainly made it myself and did not use that canister of ready-made frosting shown on the counter. In fact, I don't even know what that canister is doing in my house. Crazy!

After I covered the chocolate cake with my special homemade frosting (again, ignore the lid of that now-empty frosting canister), I got busy making the chocolate ganache.

Now, ganache sounds complicated but it is really easy. Melt some chocolate--here I used some leftover chocolate bunnies from Easter*--with some whipping cream. I put it in the microwave for one minute, stirred it, microwaved it for another minute, stirred some more and then dumped it right over the cake.

I may have licked the bowl clean. Maybe. I was in a chocolate stupor by this point, so I really don't remember. Also, the ganache makes for a very shiny cake. Shiny and delicious!

Once the ganache hardened a bit, I wrote the oh-so-original message. Because nothing says 'Congratulations!' like 'Congrats,' right?

Lessons learned:
1. Don't overbake cakes.
2. Buttercream frosting cake save just about any bad cake. It's true.
3. Ganache is incredibly easy to make.
4. Ganache is incredibly easy to eat straight out of the bowl.
5. I should probably work on my self-control before I make ganache again.
6. Stick with the chocolate cake recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor book.
7. Tear out the page with the yellow cake recipe, and throw it away.
*No bunnies were harmed in the making of this cake.


Chicagolandia said...

That looks heavenly! I'm usually guilty of trying to take a smear of frosting from the edge of the cake!

frugalsuz said...

Yum! That second cake looks so fancy, great job! Have you ever checked out the Cake Wrecks blog? I think you'd get a chuckle out of it. :)