I think most of us find the task of preparing a birthday/celebration cake pretty daunting. Even if its your second, third, fourth….. birthday cake you have created. Birthday cakes are eaten once a year (at least the one that is of significance to you), on a very special day, it’s almost a must to have one on that special day and the food item that everyone who is celebrating with you looks forward to. Okay, maybe its just me..
For the past few days I have been reading some food blogs and came across bloggers who are given the honour and great responsibility of creating a wedding cake for their friends. I can imagine the amount of pressure they had to deal with, its a WEDDING CAKE! You screw the cake, the wedding is screwed.
This year, I have finally gathered enough confidence and courage to bake a birthday cake for my boyfriend. There was no celebration, he wasn’t around, no friends, no requirement for a birthday cake actually. So that made the task so much easier because no one’s going to judge and no one’s going to expect anything!
Let me tell you, I’m quite amazed how this cake turned out because I could’ve eaten the whole cake. The cake layers are so moist and just the right texture for a layer cake, slightly crumbly but springy. And the chocolate ganache is so rich and so seductive looking on the cake. What rainbow cake?
I have to give the credits to one of my favourite television cooking host, Ina Garten. I would give her a hug anytime. Also, credits to Bakerita for the most amazing chocolate ganache frosting! The pictures here might not do the cake justice but that’s because of my rather messy and rushed cake decorating. I also regretted not spending more time photographing the cake. Never mind on that, I now have a birthday cake that I can proudly bake with confidence.
Now, who wants a birthday cake?
Chocolate Birthday Cake, (makes a 4 layer 8 -9 inch round cake)
For the cake:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
For the chocolate ganache frosting:
200 g dark chocolate
160 g heavy cream
150 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and line 2 cake tins. (I used 9 inch)
2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into bowl. Whisk them together.
3. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and oil.
4. With the beater on low speed, gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
5. Add the coffee to the mixture on low speed until just incorporated. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure an even batter. (The batter is very watery, that’s fine.)
6. Divide the batter into the 2 cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan for 30minutes, then remove from cake tin and let it cool on a wiring rack before frosting.
7. While waiting for the cake to cool, prepare the frosting.
8. First put break the chocolate into smaller pieces and place them in a heat proof bowl.
9. Pour heavy cream into a saucepan and heat it up until bubbles start to form at the edge but not boiling.
10. Pour the hot cream into the bowl of chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Whisk the chocolate until smooth and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour or two, until it completely cools. Alternatively, refridgerate for 30 minutes but stirring it every 10 minutes.
11. Using an electric beater, beat the butter until smooth for 10-15 seconds.
12. Add confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and salt and continue beating on med-low for 2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape the bowl to ensure even mixture.
13. While beating, gradually pour in the cooled chocolate ganache and mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and beat for another 1 minutes until the mixture thickens and lightens in colour.
1. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled before frosting.
2. Using a serrated knife, evenly slice each cake into half horizontally and you will get 4 layers of cakes in total.
3. Keep the least flat cake layers for the middle two layers and reserve the most even cake layers for the top and bottom part of the cakes.
4. Spread the chocolate frosting on each layer and on the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, that’s what makes it more seductive!