Not that I never really need an excuse to make a cake, but when one presents itself, how can I resist? Tommy turned 30 (haha) last Thursday, so I made a cake.
I was orginally planning some sort of peanut butter chocolate thing, but was open to other ideas, since I had already made a chocolate peanut butter cake for Parker’s first birthday. (Again, I know, no peanuts before he’s three, blah blah too late.) But then I was over here and saw this: a homemade Hostess cupcake. And after all the grief I give him for his Ho-Ho addiction, I figured I’d give him a version of the real thing for his birthday. (Um, I mean this Ho-Ho, not me. How rude.)
Just reading the recipe sounded promising. A full cup and a half of cocoa is called for, plus another three ounces of semisweet. My biggest problem with chocolate cakes is the lack of chocolate flavor. Call me crazy, but a half cup of cocoa between three layers just isn’t gonna do it for me. So all that plus the coffee and the buttermilk all sounded to me like a tasty cake.
So, here’s where I offer a bit of advice. READ. The recipe calls for two 10″ cake pans, but gives the measurements for 9″ pans, if that’s all you have. I followed the modified recipe, as I knew my pans were not ten inches. Well, apparently they weren’t nine inches, either. While I’m pouring the batter in, things are getting pretty full. Suspicious, I carefully pick up the pan and squint at the bottom, trying to read backwards the measurement of the damn thing. 8″. Nice, Meleyna. Fortunately, I had just barely caught it before filling the pans too high. I toyed with the idea of baking the extra batter in a muffin tin, but seriously, like I need the effing temptation…
So, cakes baked and beautiful, it was time to fill. The recipe gives several variations on how to do this. I was originally planning on doing the homemade Ding Dong approach, but I realized I already have one. Plus I wanted the filling to be more evenly distributed. So I opted to split the cakes to make four layers, fill each one, and cover with ganache. I have no idea where I learned this, but the easiest way I find to split cake layers is to insert toothpicks into the sides of the cakes and guide a serated knife along the tops of the toothpicks as you cut. This makes sure you halve them evenly.
(Sidenote: Who the hell has been hiding Seven Minute Frosting from me all of these years? More like Seven Minutes to Heaven. I don’t really even like marshmallows, but this shit was kick ass.)
This is where it all goes to shit. Well, for a bit anyway. I had layered all the cake and marshmallow-y goodness when good ol’ Tom decides that maybe we won’t have cake tonight, let’s do it tomorrow and we’ll invite people over and have a grand old time. After some expert Google-ing, I decide that I probably shouldn’t let things sit for another 36 hours before eating. So, mf-ing Tom silently as I went, I deconstructed the cake, scraping as much frosting off as I could and THREW THAT PRECIOUS SUBSTANCE AWAY. All but one cake layer survived, which had begun to break during the original assembly anyway. So now I have what will be technically a 1 and 1/2 layer cake. Not cool. So because I am CRAZY, I halved the 9″ cake recipe and baked another frickin layer. You know, because I have nothing better to do with my life than bake cakes for men who don’t appreciate them.
So the next night, I make a batch and a half of the Seven Minute Frosting, and do it all over again. Woo-hoo. The whole thing gets enrobed in a blanket of chocolatey goodness, and then I pipe. Well, I attempt to pipe. My line of loop-de-loops wasn’t exactly straight. “A” for effort, okay? And because I’m super clever and all, I put a “3” before each loop. Cause you know, Tom’s 30 (OLD) now.
Man that cake was taaaasty. The cake was moist, rich but not overbearing, and perfectly accented by the contrast between that beautiful fluff and the deep, dark ganache. Good thing Tom has a lot of girl friends, cause those boys don’t know nuthin. We ate chocolate cake while they played Jenga. (Aging is a losing battle, my friends. No amount of childhood board games is gonna save ya.) I think Tom had a whole bite. Whatever, more for me. Punk.