I definitely baked up a storm over Spring Break, but of course didn’t have time to post until today! And sadly… today is my last day of break :( I’ll start with two more items that I plan to sell weekly at the farmers market.
First – Chocolate Chip Espresso Brownies
Chocolate Chip Cookies – I plan to offer some variation each week :) This batch DEFINITELY needed more salt!
Onto my HUGE project… the cake…
So, I decided that I needed to test out my cake baking skills for Easter. I am not much of a decorator, so I figured that in order to actually sell my cakes they have to taste so good that minimal decorating is needed. The flavor of the cake will speak for itself. So, I did some research and dreamed up some ideas and came up with this cake – chocolate cake, amaretto custard filling, mocha frosting. Yum, right? Ok, chocolate cake recipes… I finally settled on Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake. It got great reviews from bloggers. I will say, it was super moist, rich, chocolately, yum! I decided to split my layers to allow for more filling, and due to moistness, it took a lot of patience to split the cake without breaking it. But it did work out with nothing more than a slight crack that was easy to cover up with filling/frosting. For the amaretto custard filling, I used Dorie Greenspan’s pastry cream and added some almond extract and way more amaretto than she suggested (seriously, only 2 tsp????) I probably ended up with more like a quarter cup because I needed the amaretto to come through with a rich chocolate cake. It did! Success :) Finally – my achilles heal on this cake, the mocha frosting. I LOVE swiss meringue buttercream. The first batch came out great! Then I fridged it overnight… and it separated and wouldn’t come back together. So I had to start over. The second time worked out perfectly. I reserved some plain vanilla for the colored decorating, and added bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder to the rest. I ended up having to make a small batch of vanilla because I didn’t save enough for 4 different colors. The basic swiss meringue recipe is at the bottom of the post and I HIGHLY recommend it! It leave the frosting shiny, creamy, delicious, with NO grit from the typical powdered sugar. Onto the pictures….
Layering the cake:
Done – ready to chill!
Basket Weave – Done! Not perfect, but I’ll take it for my first time.
Borders added – top’s a clean slate
Then I added some fun flowers to the sides to break it up a little – who wants all brown????
Then… Joe did the top. I tried to You Tube ideas, but I wanted to include Joe as well and he is SO much better at this than I am. He went with some Gerbera Daisies. I thought he did awesome for not doing much cake decorating in the past 10 years.
Here is a slice, and half of the cake devoured. It tasted OUTSTANDING!!!!
Overall, I was super pleased with my first independent attempt at cake making/decorating. I actually have 2 other people asking me to make cakes for some upcoming events! Yay!
So, this is Spring Break wrapped up… how sad! I had intentions of making more, but time ran out. That just means I’ll need to do some week day baking this week. Joe and I are meeting up with another couple (Mike and Jen) at a grilled cheese restaurant that everyone raves about called Melt on Friday. It’s Jen’s birthday on Sunday, so I’m going to make these Limoncello Cupcakes!
On a side note, the pups are doing great! My only problem right now is sore knees from running! But, I did 9.3 miles is 1 hour 20 min on Sunday. Pretty happy with that.
Any suggestions for what kind of cake I should try making next???
Thanks for reading :)
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 lb butter, softened and cut into chunks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a metal bowl (easiest to use your mixing bowl for the electric mixer) over simmering water, whisk egg whites. Gradually add in sugar. Continue whisking until the temperature reaches 140 degrees and the sugar is dissolved.
2. Either attach your mixing bowl to mixer or transfer sugared egg whites to your mixing bowl. Using the wire whisk attachment beat until a stiff meringue is formed. When ready, you will feel that the bowl is no longer warm.
3. Switch to the paddle attachment and start the mixer at medium speed. Add chunks one at a time (about 10 seconds or so between each addition) until all butter is added. Keep beating. The frosting will separate and look curdled, that’s just fine!!! Continue beating, and the mixture will all come back together to a smooth, glossy frosting. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined.
***For the mocha, I added in about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of melted bittersweet chocolate with 2 Tbsp instant espresso powder melted in.