I know I promised scones in this post but, cake!
A cake that is chocolatey with a dense crumb, covered in a silky, smooth cream cheese frosting with the flavor of Earl Grey tea and topped with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings.
At four layers, it's as wide as it is tall. 7.5-inches to be exact. You must be willing to share because these pieces are big.
The last time I baked a cake was a year ago for Kristen's 20th birthday. So, this year and for her 21st, I wanted to go tall. I've never exceeded 2 layers because of an issue with a lack of pans and being stuck with lots and lots of cake. But, lately, I've been fascinated with tall, pretty cakes with lots of layers likes these ones in particular.
So I decided to take a stab at it. There really was nothing to lose. Since we were going to New York, I wanted to make the cake before we left on the trip to celebrate her birthday early.
After work, I set off to explode the kitchen in chocolate and flour. I decided to use the chocolate cake in this book since it made enough batter for a triple layer cake with 9-inch pans. I had 7.5-inch pans so I figured I could split the batter into four that way. Oh my, it was a lot of batter. I had to whisk in the last batch of flour by hand in fear of creating a flour dust storm because the bowl was already almost full to the brim. I forgot the weigh the bowl so I had to guesstimate how much each layer would weigh. Needless to say, my guesstimating skills were off and I did not win the prize for guessing the right number. I'm a bit rusty on math so my logic of splitting the total weight in four didn't work. This was even after Kristen explained to me how dividing the weight of the bowl and batter would not result in equal portions of batter. Now, the weight of the bowl is written on our refrigerator door for future reference at 668 grams.
I baked the cakes with their uneven weight distribution, let them cool and wrapped them in plastic wrap to be placed in the freezer so it would be easier to frost them later in the week. It was already heavier than Gus.
And then it came to the disaster of the frosting. Kristen really wanted Chantilly Frosting—a frosting usually seen on cakes made in Hawaii and similar to the frosting on German Chocolate Cake. I've never cooked a frosting over the stove until it thickens and well, it never thickened. Two attempts, a sore thumb, 15 eggs, 4 cans of evaporated milk, 1 lb. of butter later, I finally gave up; a bit mopey that I didn't finish Kristen's cake.
When we got back from New York, I finally did. Inspired by these Early Grey Macarons with Chocolate Ganache, I made a proper frosting. One that requires creaming butter and adding powdered sugar. At first the cream cheese overwhelmed any Earl Grey tea flavor I tried to incorporate but in the end it took 2 bags of tea plus some steeped tea and some patience. The beast of a cake was quickly assembled, we let it defrost completely, I took lots of photos, Kristen blew out candles, we shared a piece, cut and wrapped it up and now we have enough cake in our freezer to last any upcoming apocalypse.
Happy 21st, sis!