Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Today is my cousin Jessica's 28th birthday. Happy Birthday, Jess! Translate that to: Another excuse to bake! W00t! (please tell me you know that very 21st century word...it was named 2007's Word of the Year by Merriam-Webster Online)
My mom recently gave me a giant cupcake pan and all kinds of fun accessories to dress up the final product. Today, it was time to premiere it. What's cool about this pan is, you've got your top and you've got your bottom. Slather a little frosting between the two parts, assemble, frost the top, and voila! The mother of all cupcakes!
A couple of tips: Be sure to grease and flour your pan well, or you might end up with a headless horseman of a cupcake, or a bottomless one. Neither is a good scenario. Also, you'll probably need to use a bread knife and cut off the rounded top of each of the two parts so you have flat surfaces. You need the spiral top to lie snug on the bottom. Finally, be sure to select a cake recipe that is sturdy enough to withstand so much weight. Having a top resting on a bottom requires a firmer cake. I had to forgo the chocolate cake I usually make for birthdays for fear it would sink when I placed the spiral top on it. I opted for a devil's food cake by Lori Longbotham. Her Luscious Chocolate Desserts cookbook is one of my all-time favorites. I am working my way through the entire thing.
Divine Devil's Food Cake
Recipe by Lori Longbotham in Luscious Chocolate Desserts
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2/3 cup natural cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
7 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9x2 inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with aluminum foil, and butter the foil.
To make the cake: Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Stir together the buttermilk and water in a small bowl.
Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the cocoa mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture in 3 batches, beating just until well blended. Transfer the batter to the pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Carefully invert onto the racks, turn right-side up, and let cool completely. Remove the foil.
To make the frosting: Melt the chocolate with the cream in a heatproof medium deep bowl set over a saucepan of about 1 1/2 inches of nearly simmering water, whisking until smooth. Add the butter and whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, for 15 minutes.
Beat the frosting with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for about 8 minutes, until thick enough to spread.
To assemble the cake: Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting evenly over the layer. Top with the remaining cake layer and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until the frosting sets.
Serve cut into wedges.