Our boys celebrated their birthdays the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. Ironically enough, they were both born the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, four years apart....and yes, these handsome boys of mine forced me to eat a holiday dinner in the hospital TWICE. To think I sacrificed all those delicious, high caloric dishes and desserts for two beautiful, warm bundles of bouncing baby boys....Oh, who am I kidding? I'd do it again in a New York minute to have these two amazing blessings in my life!
I have always allowed the kids to pick the flavor, color and style of their birthday cakes. I am certainly no cake decorator, but the kids enjoy watching their cakes being decorated and helping me by licking spoons and spatulas during the entire process. A couple of months ago, I purchased Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, "Baking-From My Home to Yours" and the moment the boys saw the cover of the book, they knew what kind of birthday cake they would be requesting. I can't count how many times they reminded me which cake to prepare for their celebrations.
The preparation of the cake was really pretty simple, just follow Dorie's detailed instructions. It was a little more time consuming than I had anticipated, but I'm known for not planning enough in advance for these sorts of details. Marty calls it "procrastinating", I call it LIFE with four kids and babysitting three more...one of which is 12 weeks old. Anyway, I digress.
Once we cut into the cake and tasted it, I was sold on this recipe!! The cake was so stinking moist and the mini chocolate chips give you a little crunchy surprise with almost every bite. I don't think I can purchase another boxed mix again! Dorie's cake called for a marshmallow type icing and I attempted three times to prepare it, but after burning the 3rd batch, I threw in the towel and resorted to my fail safe buttercream icing recipe. So, all in all, I'm calling this a great success. My boys loved their birthday cake, I expanded my culinary resume and we all enjoyed an evening of celebrating our pride and joys.....our sons.
Here are the birthday boys with their cake, Nathan (left) celebrating his 9th birthday and Matthew (right) celebrating his 13th birthday. Aren't they handsome? Happy Birthday boys!
Devil's Food White-Out Cake
For the Cake
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temp.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temp.
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Getting ready: Center rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8X2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
To Make The Cake: Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bow, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Don't worry if the tops have a few small cracks. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)
When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers. If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gently sawing motion to even them. With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.
To Assembly the Cake: Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don't worry about smoothing the frosting-it should be swirly. Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the filling with your fingers.
Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving.
Source: Baking-From My Home to Yours