My youngest son turned one last Saturday. Of course he didn’t know he did. But he did notice all the garlands and balloons and seemed to be very happy with them 🙂
It wasn’t really difficult to decide on the flavour of his cake. He loves most things sweet and he loves chocolate in particular. So chocolate cake it was. The last few weeks he wasn’t into his other favourite food item anymore (banana) so I skipped the idea of combining chocolate and banana.
Even though we didn’t invite a lot of people I made 2 different (mini) cakes and even started on a third one (tart actually, not cake, to be more precise the rhubarb and bergamot pastry cream filled tart I posted about yesterday). Today you’re getting the chocolate cake, the other one I’ll post about soon too 🙂
With two little ones running around (well actually one runs, the other crawls) I didn’t have that much time to make everything I wanted to make so I decided on an easy chocolate cake base. By easy I mean just throwing all ingredients in a bowl and mixing. It’s a recipe from I want Chocolate! by Trish Deseine, a book I’ve had for a while now. I only tried her chocolate glaze and brownies. The brownies were actually very very good, will have to make them again and blog about them. I really liked the glaze too. The cake recipe was so simple that I doubted a little bit if it would be good but it was. It was pretty sweet though and not very heavy on the chocolate. A perfect cake for a one year old. The only little downside was that you could see some of the sugar crystals in the crust. But since I covered the whole thing in buttercream and glazed it afterwards that wasn’t a problem.
Because I was running out of time I made a big batch of buttercream that I could use for both cakes and just flavoured them differently. The basis was a meringue buttercream to which I added melted bittersweet chocolate. This particular recipe poses no salmonella danger because the egg whites are heated till 75Â°C (160Â°F). So it was safe for everyone to eat.
The glaze was Trish Deseine’s too. What I like about the recipe is that it doesn’t contain corn syrup. Downside turned out to be that the glossy appearance disappeared after chilling. I’m not sure anymore but I think the glaze I used before didn’t have this problem as much.
I made the cake the day before T’s birthday and I let him taste all of the individual ingredients. As I expected he loved all of them and kept pointing to the glazed cake that was tempting him on the table 🙂
I made some small number 1 cookies and used them to decorate the cake. They looked a bit lonely so I added some buttercream stripes. I thought the cake looked ok but I can definitely use practice in decorating and piping buttercream.
As you can see from the pictures T loved the cake. He didn’t eat the entire piece because he wanted to smear it on his table, trousers, bib, hands and face too 🙂 I really enjoyed watching him make such a mess.
My oldest son R will have his 3rd birthday in less than a month but he’s much harder to please in the sweet department. Even though he loves chocolate too he doesn’t like cake. He would want a piece but he will only taste and not eat it. Usually he would even say he likes it. He doesn’t even really like cookies, at least not the ones I bake 😉
Last year I made him some cupcakes with marzipan cars, tractors, pigs and flowers. When I asked him the other day what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday he said he wanted a car cake. And not a big one but a little one. So I guess he liked the ones I made last year because he remembered them 🙂
I consulted A as well on what to make for R and he suggested making an ice cream cake because he does love ice cream a lot. Never would have thought of that myself somehow so I’ll be making him at least an ice cream cake and a small car cake too. And some more cake for the guests.
Chocolate buttercream (adapted from The Essentials of Baking by Williams-Sonoma and Dorie Greenspan’s buttercream recipe from a Perfect Party Cake)
2 egg whites
Â½ cup sugar
Â½ vanilla bean, scraped
170 g (1 Â½ stick) butter, room temperature
100 g bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Heat the egg whites, sugar and inside of the vanilla bean over simmering water while stirring once in a while until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature reaches 75Â°C (160Â°F).
Whip the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy. Add 150 g of the butter and whip for a few minutes. Add the remainig butter. The mixture should have cooled down by this time. If the mixture curdles, warm it slightly over simmering water. Add the melted but cooled down chocolate and mix until incorporated. Use immediately or chill for up to 3 days in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before using it. Whip it again to make it smooth. If it curdles, warm it slightly over simmering water. Whip until smooth.
Chocolate cake (from I Want Chocolate! by Trish Deseine)
makes 2 15 cm (6 in) cakes
115 g (Â½ cup) butter, softened
Â½ cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tbs cocoa powder, mixed with
2 tbs hot water
2 ts baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180Â°C (350Â°F).
Grease to 15 cm (6 in) cake pans.
Place everything in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough into the two cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool in the pans for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Cut of the tops of the cakes to make them horizontal.
Chocolate glaze (from I Want Chocolate! by Trish Deseine)
115 g (Â½ cup) butter
Â¼ cup water
200 g (7 oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Put the butter and water in a saucepan on low heat. Remove from the heat when the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and combined. Allow to cool down for a bit but the glaze should still be pourable.
Put the cake on a wire rack that is placed over baking paper or a large baking sheet. Pour the glaze over the cake.