I didn't think a bunch of thirty-somethings day-drinking at a Brooklyn beer hall for a fellow thirty-something's birthday would give two fricks about birthday cake, but I was wrong. Happily wrong. I brought this lil' guy to our favorite local bar last weekend when we celebrated Rory's birthday, and people actually ate it! In between guzzling giant steins, the people ate it! Made me pretty giddy, like when your middle school crush gets randomly assigned as your science lab partner– it was all smiles, maybe some drool.
Recipe was adapted from Molly Yeh, with an addition of espresso powder. Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate.
S C I E N C E.
The rainbow butt mug is full of defrosting cubes of frozen buttermilk. You know how you have a full quart of buttermilk left after using .0394 ounces for a recipe? Just freeze it into a clean, empty ice cube tray; unmold after full frozen, and throw them back in the freezer in tupperware or a ziploc bag for later use. Just be sure to measure out equal units into the tray and make note of the amount and date on the bag/tupperware.
Though my baking career started primarily in cake, before the whole cookie-life-change, I wasn't up to actually icing a cake. So I didn't. I did fill and dowel it though! Doweling keeps a tall (and small, but mighty) cake like this 6" structurally stable. Highly suggest.
H O T F U D G E S U N D A E B I R T H D A Y C A K E
Adapted from Molly Yeh
Yields: two 8" rounds or in my case, two tall 6" rounds
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup flavorless oil
- ¾ cup boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and line the bottoms of two 8" cake pans with parchment paper (I did two tall 6" cake pans).
- In the bowl of stand mixer, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and espresso powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on low to combine. Whisk in the boiling water.
- Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes; since I bake two tall six inch layers, it took about 45-50 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 20 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
B U T T E R C R E A M F R O S T I N G
Recipe by Martha Stewart Living
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day. If not, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.
C A K E A N D F I L L I N G A S S E M B L Y
- roughly 1 cup packaged, processed, very bad for you hot fudge sauce
- multicoloured sprinkles
- Maraschino cherries; gently squeeze out loose water by pressing in between paper towels
- Slice cake into desired layers
- With a piping bag filled with buttercream, pipe a ring around the first bottom layer of cake
- Fill with slightly softened hot fudge (not too loose or else it will just gush out everywhere), about 3/4 the height of the buttercream ring.
- Sprinkle with sprinkles!
- Place second layer of cake on top; repeat
- Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the top of the cake
- Pipe a full walnut-sized dollop of buttercream on the edge of the cake and immediately place Maraschino cherry in center and a sprinkle of sprinkles; repeat evenly around cake