Sunday, June 24, 2007

Birthday Cake

Today after our Sunday long training run at the lake, we (and our special guest, Ryan) had breakfast as usual, then celebrated Brendan's birthday, which is actually tomorrow (although cake doesn't know from dates).

For today's birthday cake, I made Best Birthday Cake from Lora Brody's Chocolate American Style. This cake was what I made for Karen's birthday this year, and I loved everything about it. The cake is incredibly moist, and the smooth ivory frosting is a perfect counterpoint to the deep chocolate richness of the cake.

The recipe calls for two 9-in. round pans for the batter. The first time I made the cake, I had to scramble to prepare a third pan because there was so much batter. I'd grabbed the regular thin nonstick cake pans instead of the heavier, taller aluminum cake pans, not realizing how much batter I'd be dealing with. I even made a note with the recipe that it required three pans. This time, I opted to use two deeper pans, which would allow me to split the cakes and to serve a four-layer cake.

The baking went just fine, but I think that the frosting recipe makes not quite enough to fill and cover four layers of cake. I ended up feeling that I had to make a half-batch of frosting to finish off the cake. There also were a couple of, um, structural mishaps in which portions on the edge of the top layer tore off the cake (I must have misjudged the halving of the top layer). Unfortunately, the frosting also became a bit slack from being in the car until after breakfast.

In the end, I think that henceforth, I will make this cake as a three-layer cake. I think I prefer slightly thicker, sturdier layers. I also suspect that the frosting recipe is better suited to three layers rather than four.

Regardless, this cake is really something special: rich, chocolaty, and (under ideal circumstances) great-looking.

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