Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back in the Kitchen

Recently I've been hearing some feedback from the peanut gallery that while photos of grass blades or fruit or my feet are all well and good, aren't I supposed to be, well, cooking? 

This is true. And they are right. 

Coincidentally (conveniently?), these comments happened right around the time I heard rumor of a "National Cake Day". As I said before, is this a real holiday? I have no idea. Is it a fantastic reason to bake a cake? Absolutely.

(Yes, any day is a fantastic reason to bake a cake, but doesn't celebrating something make the entire occurrence seem that much more festive?) 

Okay. So. Cake. What to make? What to make? What to make? I wanted something fun and festive, and above all, crowd pleasing. 

I'm all about my audience. 

My mom likes chocolate cake. My dad likes vanilla cake. I like cake.

Hence, the idea for the chocolate/vanilla cake was born. 

However, we have seen before how I like to go with a theme and turn up the voltage a little bit. Nothing too major...if a cookie is to have one type of chocolate, why not two? 

So for the chocolate layer of the cake, I decided to add white chocolate chips. For the vanilla layer of the cake, chocolate chips would be added. Oh, the craziness. 

(I would like to point out, before any visual evidence of this weekend is revealed, that in my mind right now, I envisioned a delightfully speckled cake - much to the likeness of a domino). Let's see how this goes.

For the chocolate layer, I decided to go with a tried and true recipe, which has been seen in such posts as the cake I made for my parents anniversary. A new player was tossed into the mix for the white cake

Ready? Set? Let's go!

I know we've seen this recipe in progress before, but I liked this picture.
chocolate layer batter

The two cakes, bonding before going into the oven together. 
the cakes, ready for the oven

The white cake, fresh out of the oven and springy to the touch. 
all baked


Did you guys miss me and my kitchen antics (calamities?)? 

Remember how I thought it would be delightfully clever to intermix chocolate chips of the contrasting color into each of the layers? Remember how I had visions of dominos dancing through my head? 

Half of my vision came true. 

The white cake is a sturdy, lovely, cake with a thick batter. The chocolate cake is baked with a liquid batter. This means that you are putting the structural equivalent of hot chocolate into your oven. This made me incredibly nervous the first time I was baking this recipe (but really, when am I not nervous in the kitchen, ever so slightly?), but trust me it is an absolutely fantastic chocolate cake. 

However, and I did not think of this prior to adding the white chocolate chips, a liquid batter is not conducive to supporting chips or other add-ins (at least, from what I have seen. If anyone has any technique, please let me know!), as they will sink to the bottom of the pan. When I added the chips, they promptly sank. I stirred them slightly. 

I paused.

I then put that pan, along with the cooperating white cake layer pan into the oven, my mind whirring about what the cake would look like when it came out of the oven. Maybe all of the white chocolate chips will be beautifully adorning the cake, and when I take it out of the pan, I won't even need to frost the top of the cake! my mind thought. 

Um, sure. 

I would really really like to emphasize that this cake really is a great cake recipe. Really. Really really. It's my fault for getting whimsical. 

Are you ready? I wasn't. 


Basically, yes, all of the white chocolate chips had sunk, and stuck to the bottom of the pan, taking the center of the cake with them. 

I would also like to reassure you all that you are first and foremost on my mind, as my very first reaction was not to cry, or laugh, it was to grab my camera and start clicking. 

The cake. With a giant crater out of the middle. 
Big gaping hole

Upon seeing this destruction, Adam, who had been helping and cracking little humorous quips throughout the process, promptly grabbed the missing piece, and returned it to its home, all the while reassuring the small crowd that had gathered around the sorry little cake, "It can be fixed! It can be fixed!"

Looks good to us. 
Maybe no one will notice...

Looking at the heap of chocolate cake one more time, I swiftly began to cover it with heaping amounts of whipped cream. 

(Whipped cream! Not only does it taste good, it covers a multitude of baking calamities!) 

Huge giant hole out of the middle of the center? I see nothing.
layer one, with frosting

Then, with a small audience (of two), I deftly plopped the vanilla layer on top of the chocolate layer, only getting it off-center by about an inch. 

Looking like a cake...
layer two...on!

Even though this layer was whole and healthily sprinkled throughout with semi-sweet chocolate chips, it too got smothered in an even-thicker layer of whipped cream. 

In my house, there is never any objection to copious amounts of whipped cream frosting.
lots of frosting

We could have stopped there. 

But we didn't. The cake was assembled. The whimsy and excitement in the room was becoming rapidly infectious. We saw every reason ever justifiable to add more sugar to the mix.

Wheee!!! Sprinkles!!
sprinkley good

Oh man...this is looking good.
i'm ready

Proud and relieved, I then walked away for a moment. Probably not even a moment. A second. A millisecond. 

However, this was enough time for the Zest King to begin to play with some of the abandoned objects on the table. 

I'd like to point out that the cake was still sitting right next to this bowl. 
why i can't leave adam alone

He then made sprinklehenge. 

I then put away the sprinkles. And the cutlery.

And, most importantly, the cake.

Later, sliced.
a slice was it?

Are you all perilously on the edge of your seats? 


Working from the plate up, the chocolate layer was rich and moist, without being overwhelming. Appearances aside (and really, appearances didn't even matter when the cake was assembled), the cake was fantastic, as I had remembered it being. The white layer was lovely and delicately flavored, a delicious compliment to the chocolate (although I would absolutely recommend this cake making a solo appearance as well. This is not a recipe that needs to only be performing backup. Main stage, baby!). The whipped cream frosting? While it is my favorite frosting (tied with cream cheese frosting), and I could be arguably biased, it was a perfect frosting for this cake, light and airy in contrast to the different layers of cake texture. 

I'll say it again...DELICIOUS. 

My slice of cake, mid-way through eating. 
my piece, partway through

I realized this isn't the first time I've shown my half-eaten food close up on this website. Is that gross? I'm not sure. (Is that gross, that I don't know?) 

Check out the layers.
layer-ey good

So as the sun began to set on National Cake Day (er, weekend), we relaxed, full of chocolate and vanilla and cream.

And sprinkles.

You can't forget the sprinkles. 

sprinkles at dusk

1 comment:

Hannah said...

Whew, nice save! There's nothing a bit of frosting can't fix, right? ;)