on Instagram recently, but I wanted to have a more lengthy conversation about it, and also many of you who read the blog here are not on Instagram. (seriously. Instagram is my happy place, much in the way that Pinterest used to be, before all the ads. I love love love Instagram!)
This cake is pretty much the only thing that's getting me through this week. I've hit the wall of winter. I know spring is around the corner, but I don't know, I'm hanging on by my fingernails, I've been in the slumpiest of slumps. Tired, and at this point in the season every year my skin is just all 'hey Melissa, guess what i HATE you!' and I'm just draggggggggging. Blah blah blah, woe is me. Stupid winter.
All I want to do is lie in bed and watch movies and eat cake, but I can't. Bills, chores, a car just stopped working (it just stopped. working.) and honestly, I think I have a seasonal allergy to this time of year. Complain, moan, wail. Isn't this fun? The theme music to one of Andrew's and Julia's video games makes me want to cry. 'Downton Abbey' ending soon makes me want to cry. The state of the American political system makes me want to cry.
I'm going to focus on the little things and right now, that's cake.
Ok, so anyway this cake! It was good, and fun, and I have some things I'd like to share about it. Initially, Julia (who has now watched every episode of 'The Great British Baking Show' multiple times) asked for a chocolate-orange flavored cake with a passionfruit middle frosting layer and a chocolate ganache on the top. Oh and she wanted THREE TIERS of cake, like a wedding cake. That's exactly what she asked for and then I laughed in her face.
this book, and you can find the recipe here. I've made this cake many times before. And it's just an all-round delicious chocolate cake. I'm going to breathe deep and summon my inner Nigella, and tell you more things about this cake. It's SQUIDGY. What do I mean by that? It's not light and airy, it's a bit dense-ish and very moist and a lot of the bottom sticks to the plate when you cut a slice, it's that moist. Julia pronounced it to have a nice gummy flavor, which doesn't sound nice, but it really is - it's almost a bit brownie-esque in its fudgy-ness.
Now you might notice that my frosting doesn't look as billowy as the picture on the website does - I did that on purpose - I knew I had to transport the cake to Julia's party destination and I wanted things to stay in place and intact on the way there, so I deliberately did not add the full measure of cream called for in the recipe. Actually, I find that I need to add MORE cream than the recipe calls for to get that pillowy, marshmallowy, really creamy texture. But for this version, I made it a bit more firm, so I added slightly less cream.
So the frosting ended up tasting like fudge, really. The whole affair, just really screams FUDGE, to the tastebuds.
Julia had requested this, and it turned out to be an amazing addition that really put the whole cake over the top, and made it taste like how I was always hoping a Hostess cupcake would taste like, only it never did. I did try and make my own vanilla frosting, but I followed some recipe in a cookbook I had and it didn't turn out, and I was like, um I totes don't got time for this, and I sighed deeply and ignored the ingredient list label on the back of the can and went ahead and used either Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker (I can't tell them apart) 'fluffy white flavor' frosting. I wish you could have seen the texts Andrew sent me from the store. WHAT IS FLUFFY WHITE FLAVOR?? How is that a flavor?? Well, it is. And I mixed in some vanilla bean with my little mixer, and spread the whole can of it on that middle section and then poured on a nice layer of sweetened shredded coconut over it, and by gum, my arteries are having themselves a party with those fillers and hydrogenated oils.
Also those little pink piped rosettes? CUPCAKE FROSTING IN A SPRAY CAN. We live in amazing times, my friends. Petal pink amazing times. Then I threw on sprinkles along the base, to cover up my horrid frosting skills, and more on the top, and BAM, that's a good looking cake I managed to create.
I want you to know that when I presented it to my daughter, she inhaled with delight. Like, a mini gasp. As a professional gasper, I was very delighted, and so happy that she was happy. I hope she remembers when she's grown up, how hard I tried to make lovely cakes for her. Someday soon I'm going to make a photo album of birthday pictures - to serve not just as memories, but as evidence.