The first 31 days of 2016 are coming to a close; the NFL is wrapping up with the Super Bowl just a Sunday’s stone throw away and the final page of my 20’s is 6 months from flipping. Mikes page however, flipped less than 10 days into the new year. We started 2016 with a celebration to ring in Mike’s 30’s!
To celebrate this milestone bday, I decided to throw Mike a small surprise party. Though I was able to keep the major details under wraps, the baking and prep was harder to keep a secret as I basically had to construct his cake right in-front of him. I baked under the guise of “I’m just testing out the new baking utensils you got me for Christmas”.
I planned a surprise dinner at Patria [one of our new fave dinner spots] and a post dinner desert + toast at Shereen’s place. The dinner was definitely the easier of the 2 to organize. As I casually asked Mike probing questions to get his restaurant and food of choice [unanimously tapas+ paella] I would escape for “yoga classes” to shop for party supplies. Thanks to the Kansas + Houston playoff football game; I was able to slyly slip out on the day of the party [or so I thought] and finish setting up at Shereen’s. Mike’s suspicions grew as he realized that the cake I baked, magically, disappeared from the fridge and my 1 hour class turned into 3 hours. Whoops!
For the desert spread, I baked sparkling wine macarons, individual tiramisu cups, and hazelnut-chocolate cake.
Though my fondant cake was a little lumpy and uneven, I was ecstatic with how it turned out! I used a Cake Boss chocolate cake recipe and a hazelnut-oil flavoured Swiss meringue buttercream to crumb coat and layer between the cakes.
C H O C O L A T E C A K E
[from the book Baking with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro]
- 1.5C cake flour + more for flouring the cake pans
- 1.5C sugar + more for unfolding the cakes
- 1/2C unsalted butter @ room temp
- 1/3C unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1tsp baking soda
- 1/4tsp baking powder
- 1/3C melted unsweetened Baker’s chocolate [fr 2-1oz squares]
- 1/2C hot water
- 1/2C buttermilk
- unsalted butter, nonstick spray, or veg oil for greasing cake pans
with rack in the centre of the oven, preheat oven 350ºF
in a stand mixer bowl [with a paddle attachment] combine flour, sugar, botter, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder
mix on low until ingredients are combined [few seconds] | raise speed to low-med until smooth [approx 1min]
stop motor + add melted chocolate | mix for 1min on low
with motor running, pour in hot water | add eggs one at a time waiting for the 1st egg to be absorbed before adding the next | pour in buttermilk
stop the motor periodically to scrape from the bottom with a rubber spatula
continue to mix for 1min on low-med to ensure eggs are absorbed + sugar has dissolved
before baking, ensure cake is 70º-73ºF to avoid cake from crowning | refrigerate if needed
grease + flour 2-9″ cake pans
divide batter evenly between pans
bake until the cakes pull away from the sides of the pan + are springy to the touch | about 25-30mins
remove from oven and let cool for an hour before removing from pan
refrigerate or freeze until ready to decorate
I’m sure my cakes will be less lumpy and more even by the time it’s time to bake one for my 30th. Practice makes perfect; and in my case, any one I know celebrating a bday between now and July can expect a cake.
Happy Birthday Mike! Cheers to your 30’s!
**THANKS SHEREEN xoxo