A Very Merry UnBirthday to You!
We recently celebrated a very special birthday in the LAIC family, so I decided to do the unthinkable – make a cake.
Now, I’ve never made a cake before. Not even one via Betty Crocker. But this is Learning As I Chop, and I’ve got culinary aspirations to meet, so I figured no time like the present. Plus, I’m one of those rare people who love cooking and baking equally. Like most things in my life, I see the pros and cons to both.
After my pondering my options, I decided on chocolate cake (no layers needed) and googled for a simple recipe. Came upon this lovely one:
Serves 10 to 12.
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Chocolate Glaze
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan; line bottom with wax paper. Butter paper; dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture alternating with sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
- Spread batter into prepared pan. Tap pan firmly on countertop several times to force out large air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely (bottom side up). Set rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over; spread gently to coat entirely. Let stand until set. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Serve with whipped cream
I was really excited to start, especially since I had never purchased baking cocoa before. Plus, now that I had mastered the spring form pan, I knew I could do it. Here’s a nice pic of the prepped pan, wax paper and cocoa dustings in place
Then things got fun. I worked on the mixture and watched it turn from your usual sugar/butter/egg mix into chocolatey goodness. Of course I forgot to lick the spoon. As the cake baked, I worked on the glaze. I was ever excited because it gave me the opportunity to use my food scale, which is often neglected
I was honestly mesmerized by how boiled heavy cream melts chocolate so quickly. Once you let the mixture cool, it thickens into a nice, rich glaze.
In the meantime, you have to let the cake cool as well. I always rush this process, so I set the timer for 10 minutes and made myself stick to it. I love the way the cake shrank away, in a good way, from the pan. Made case-removing very simple.
But then things got scary – I had to turn it. Definitely had a few near-misses along the way. Words in the LAIC kitchen weren’t very PG, and I entertained a few questions of concern from H who heard me scream and curse from the other room. But the cake and I made it and we moved to the sink, where I proceeded to pour beautiful glaze all over it.
Next time I will make sure to glaze the sides as well. Oops!
I then added candles and the birthday person’s name to the cake. All in all, it was yummy but not for the chocolate faint of heart. Definitely make this treat for a chocaholic and they will thank you. Enjoy!