It was a big day for sugar in the bullpen. Olivia’s birthday is today. Her cake request was, quite emphatically, “chocolate.” So I knew I wanted to deliver the most sublimely chocolate cake experience in my power. I went with the devil’s food cake recipe in Baking Illustrated, topping it with the recommended vanilla buttercream (identical to the Cooking for Engineers buttercream recipe, though CfE doesn’t cite anything–unethical!).
I’d been itching to try my hand at a “celebration cake” for a while now, so I was excited to have the opportunity. Cake decorating is much less interesting to me than cake baking, but I like pretty things, so I did my best. I followed the instructions from Smitten Kitchen regarding freezing the layers, and applying a crumb coat. (I could have gotten away with no crumb coat, after freezing the layers, but SK was insistent, and I don’t mess with the food blog Powers That Be.) This frosting was my first attempt at a cooked buttercream, and ça alors, I am a convert! The texture was satiny smooth under the spatula and on the tongue. It’s so rich, though, that it almost overpowers the chocolate underneath. Less frosting, or a milder recipe, would be appropriate in the future.
Check out that macro! As you can see, the cake itself was teensy bit dense, and majorly chocolaty. I’ve become a convert to cakes from scratch (time permitting). Sure, box cakes rise beautifully, but that’s because they’re fluff. And so they taste like fluff. Cakes from scratch have a subtle but sublime substance to them. And the flavor…box cakes flavors are one-note. Pleasing, but shallow. This cake had a full, rich chocolate flavor that lingered on your tastebuds long after you stopped chewing.