Apr 11, 2011
I want this to become my signature cake. I don't want anyone to think of it as "Miette's Tomboy," (sorry Miette), but as "that chocolate cake that Marie makes." This is, I think, the best chocolate cake in the book so far, and if anyone complains that it's dry, I'll think that they live in an alternative universe where "dry" means "moist and delicious."
In most of Rose's chocolate cake recipes, the chocolate taste comes from cocoa melted in water. In this recipe, there's cocoa, but it's mixed in with the other dry ingredients, and an additional shot of chocolate comes from semisweet chocolate melted in water, and added to the egg, oil (no butter in this cake) and buttermilk.
Everything mixes up into a thick, shiny, glossy batter.
And the finished cakes are also dark and glossy. I used two 6 x 2-inch pans, mostly because I couldn't find a pan that was three inches deep. I was very pleased to have two layers and not to have to cut the thick cake into three layers, so I was just as happy my search hadn't been successful.
After the cakes cooled, there were no more excuses for putting off making the mousseline. There are plenty of bad things that can happen when you make mousseline, and I'm proud to say that I've now been baking cakes long enough that most of them have happened to me: curdling, separating, texture too thin, texture too thick, etc.
None of those things happened today, perhaps because I actually used my Thermapen to make sure everything was around 70 degrees.
Butter softened (and refrigerated until it was 70 degrees).
Egg whites beaten to stiff-peak stage.
Sugar syrup heated to 248 degrees and poured into the meringue. I was explaining this frosting to someone, and she asked if I was making candy or frosting. It's hard to explain this whole hoo-ha over buttercream to a non-baker. Anyway, every step went smoothly--smoothly enough that I was inspired to get my cake decorating kit, such as it is, to attempt the decoration.
I didn't have a #26 tip, but I figured what I had was good enough. This prompted Jim to start his ode to Hanaa's cake decorating abilities: "You should have seen her, Sarah. She really knows what she's doing. She's so fast and and skillful--it's just fun to watch her." Sarah said, "Uh, dad, maybe you should tell mom she's doing a good job." "Oh right, great job, Marie. Like I was saying about Hanaa...." Sarah kicked Jim under the table and he quieted down. I was baking the cake for her birthday, and I think she saw her happy family gathering deteriorating before her eyes.
I'll be the first (maybe the second) to say my piping's not as good as Hanaa's, but remember this is my first attempt. And if you looked at the cake at just the right angle (unfortunately not the angle that any pictures were taken at), you'd say it didn't look half bad.
With a pink candle and a pink rose, it was enough to make Sarah happy, and that was good enough for me.
Sarah: "So good. The vanilla adds a fantastic flavor to the icing. One of the best cakes I've ever had, and I'm saying that without hyperbole."
Jim: "I love the nice deep chocolate flavor and color of the cake."
Posted by Marie at 5:15 PM