Tuesday, November 6, 2007

95th Birthday Cake

Tomorrow is someone's 95th birthday at the hospice center - impressive eh? Hopefully she will enjoy the cake I baked for her. Cake baking and decorating went much better than the last time, and I enjoyed doing something other than white and purple. This time I made a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing. I find that cake mixes always produce layers with a hump in the middle that I need to level - maybe I should try to use the baking strips that came in my monstrous cake decorating kit. Next time.

As usual, there is something to learn from each cake made. For the first time ever, I had enough frosting to cover the cake and do some piping. What a revelation. This made things much easier. I'm getting a little faster and neater at filling and covering the cake - without piping a barrier for the filling or doing a crumb coat. It definitely helped that the cake layers were not falling apart and had a uniform, smooth surface (probably from the baking spray and non-stick pan combination). The trick was to plop a huge mound of icing in the centre and spread outward in a circular motion, letting the icing protrude over the sides, and putting any excess back in the bowl. Cake crumbs begone!

I had bought a laaarrrrgge bar (over a pound!) of dark belgian chocolate from Trader Joe's last week and have been dying to use (read: eat) it. With a heavy knife, I carved myself a whole pile of chocolate shavings and attempted to coat the sides of the cake with this. It ended up looking a little patchy as it was rather difficult to hold the cake in one hand while rotating it and applying chocolate with the other (plus the chocolate started to melt in my hand and the cake almost slid off the board). Good enough for a first job. Next time I will wear gloves. For the writing, I melted some chopped dark chocolate in a ziploc bag under hot tap water and snipped a tiny hole for piping - by the time I finished "happy", the chocolate was already solidifying, hence the slightly wonkier "birthday" text. Adding 95th would have been a nice detail but I forgot and it was too late to add it in. Let's hope she is someone who prefers not to be reminded of her age.

I'm happy with how it turned out. Sometimes I wish I could cut a slice out before delivering the cakes, just to sample it, you know? And to see how the layers look inside. Yum. Although, I wouldn't want my birthday cake arriving with a hunk hacked out of it either...


sue said...

What a delicious looking cake. I am sure she will love eating it too. How nice you are to bake her a cake too.

zarafa said...

according to the entirely too much food network television i watch, i think they normally shave that hump in the middle of the cake off.

isn't the zoo great?? you should be sure to go when they have the christmas lights up.