Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ides of March

Our family celebrates two birthdays in March, and my brother-in-law owns one of them. Remember his cake last year? It is no surprise to hear that he is a lover of chocolate. In our family, who isn't?

I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe (psssssst! The same one I used for my niece Brenna's birthday last month) This was the first time I used it in a cake recipe. It turned out to be rich, dense and delicious. You might want to have a giant gallon glass of cold milk ready when you eat this one. I'm just sayin'.......

After the cake had baked and was cooling, I made some yummy marshmallow cream to fill the layers of the cake. Try it! The directions are easy!

1 3/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

3 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the sugar, water, egg whites, and cream of tartar in heatproof container or the top of a double boiler with at least a 2-quart capacity and beat with a handheld electric mixer on high speed about 1 minute. Put the bowl over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water or the bottom of the double boiler. Beat on high speed until the mixture forms a stiff peak that stands straight up if you stop the beaters and lift them out of the mixture, about 12 minutes (be sure to keep the cord of the mixer away from the burner). The frosting should register 160°F on a thermometer. Remove the container from the water, add the vanilla extract, and continue beating for 2 minutes to further thicken the filling.

Oh....the times when you wish you had a jar of peanut butter! Fluffernutter anyone??

This is my decorating wheel. My cake carousel. My assistant. Anyone who decorates cakes should have one. I purchased this from a wholesale bakery supply and it is a good one. The base is cast iron which makes the whole thing extremely heavy and very durable. So if anyone tells me to go "sit and spin"...........
I can.

Put a good sized dollop of icing under the first layer to secure it to the cake board.

Then I started filling the layers with the Marshmallow.

Pressing lightly!

Once the layers had been filled, I refrigerated the cake for about an hour.
Note to Self: Do not use Marshmallow filling for this cake again unless you plan on serving it the same day. The Marshmallow seems to dissolve inside the layers overnight and tends to leave the areas inside the layers a tad gooey. Of course, if you like goo.........please........use it again.
Now......on to the strawberries!

Make sure the strawberries have been washed and completely dried. I usually melt a 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet morsels with 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a double boiler. Then holding the stem, carefully dunk 2/3 of the strawberry and place it on waxed paper to set.
Now for the good part. The frosting.
(Dear Lord, help me).
This is actually Martha Stewart's recipe for Dark Chocolate Frosting. It is as wicked as she is.........and I do mean that in a good way.
Dark Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Directions: Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month, in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.
Frost. Lick. Frost. Lick. Oops, I mean I frosted it smoothly along the top and down the sides, then I put it back in the fridge to firm up.

I piped a nice fat (hey, who are you calling fat?) border around the top of the cake and then sunk some chocolate covered strawberries around the edge. Um.......(swallow) yeah.

If this isn't a chocolate overload, I don't know what is.

I served John his birthday cake along with some Matcha and Cocoa cupcakes . It was one of the quietest birthdays on record. For about 10 minutes all you could hear at the table was the sound of forks scraping the plates and the occasional sigh.

But then again, I sometimes think that my family (including myself) would eat shoe leather if it were dipped in chocolate, so maybe we're not the best judge.

You are going to have to try it for yourself.

...and if you're even able to speak after eating this, let me know what you think, okay?


Lisa said...



I can hardly breath...I don't think I could handle making this cake...YUMMY!

You know my mother's Birthday is May 12....I think you need to visit!!! NO, really I do!

Happy Birthday John!!!

Chocolate covered shoe leather...Oooo... where?

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, this is the one I am going to make for my company in april. It is just beautiful, but you know me, the strberies won't look the same, but by God the choclate will this is truly a masterpiece. Italy????? I am packed!

Aunt Grace said...

That is just beautiful and I am going to make that this week. My company will just love it, and I will not tell them where it comes from. MY DESIGN They will never know. Know ing me, there willl be slight variations'''maybe! I am packed fro Italy.

The Sugar Queen said...

Beautiful cake!

EDNurseasauras said...

Excellent choco-nosh!

elra said...

I couldn't even find the right word for this cake. It's just too gorgeous. Your family area very lucky indeed. Happy birthday to all your family that were born in March.

Anonymous said...

oh WOW! Beautiful!! Marg

Sugar Bananas said...

The frosting took my breath away! This looks DIVINE! The green leaves on the strawberries are the perfect accent. Thank you for posting this beauty. I'll be back! I'm a new follower :)