Yesterday, I officially entered my mid-30s, thank you very much. :) Because I’m too proud unwilling to buy a cake, I made and decorated my own. What came out was nowhere near what I originally planned, as far as the decorations are concerned. Going with the original plan would have left me all-stressed out on the eve of my birthday. I opted for the relaxed and stress-free route. I even made the decorations in the living room while hubby and I were watching episodes from season 1 of Heroes on Netflix. :)
Like last year my cake is Mocha Chiffon. This time, however, I tried a new recipe and instead of cream chantilly, I used Italian Meringue Mocha Buttercream for the frosting and filling. I also added some semi-sweet chocolate chips to the filling. ;)
The cake is 10″ round and would have been double the height of the one in the picture had the cake in the other pan didn’t shrink down to 9 inches. That other cake has been frosted and filled but devoid of decorations. Anyway, hubby thinks this is a good height for our family of three. A 4-inch high, 10-inch round cake would have been too much. And I have to agree. :)
I didn’t even bother covering the cake with fondant, in keeping with my stress-free cake-decorating mode. Hee hee. For the decorations, I used pre-colored fondant that I was able to save from recent cake projects. I made little rose buds (That’s what they’re supposed to be, at least!) with some dainty drapes of sorts. I also added a few wire decorations to the cake.
The cake is just a little less fluffy than my go-to mocha chiffon cake. At least, the recipe for this one, I can very well share. The cake isn’t so sweet so you have some room for maybe another 1/4 cup of sugar, specially if you will not be frosting and filling the cake. But, if you will frost and fill the cake, don’t add anymore sugar as the frosting will carry you through some added sweetness. ;)
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder or instant coffee granules
3/4 cup hot water
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg whites
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
1. Pre-heat oven to 325F. Grease and flour (2) 10″ round cake pans. Set aside.
2. Dissolve coffee powder in hot water, cool to room temperature.
3. In a large bowl, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Sift 3 times and stir until well mixed.
4. Make a well in center, add oil, egg yolks, vanilla and cooled coffee. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
5. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff but not dry.
6. Carefully fold batter into the egg whites, adding grated chocolate towards the end.
7. Divide the batter equally between 2 10″ cake pans (alternatively, you can use a 10′ tube pan). Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
8. Cool completely. Fill and frost with Italian Meringue Mocha Buttercream.
Italian Meringue Mocha Buttercream
Makes 4 1/2 cups.
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 238 degrees.on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).
2. Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff but not dry; do not overbeat.
3. With mixer running, add syrup to whites in a stream, beating on high speed until no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes; beat in vanilla. If icing curdles, keep beating until smooth. Set aside.
4. In the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Allow chocolate to cool to room temperature.
5. Dissolve espresso powder in 1 teaspoon hot water. Stir espresso mixture and cooled chocolate into buttercream. Beat until thoroughly incorporated. Use immediately.
It was my first time to make Italian Meringue Buttercream and I loved it! I just love buttercream made with real egg whites and butter. :) Yummy!
My birthday was just perfect, except for the little bump on my cheek, which could have used some emergency acne treatments. I had a blast with the people I so dearly love. :)
Cheers, y’all! :)