summer birthday cake #1: henri’s chocolate cake by zoe bakes

People tease me when they hear that I bake my own birthday cake.  They think I have to bake my own cake, rather than want to bake my own cake.  But I spend so much time baking what others want, it’s a treat to bake something of my choosing.

This year, I baked Henri’s Chocolate B-day Cake (it’s a Devil’s Food Cake) topped with Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Malt Buttercream from Zoe Bakes. The cake itself is a recipe that I’ve turned to on a number of occasions, including here and here. Instead of baking it in a single 3-inch tall, 8-inch round pan and torting the cake, as Zoe recommends, I baked two layers in 2-inch tall, 8-inch round pans. The biggest reason for this was that I don’t own a 3-inch tall 8-inch pan. Also, I didn’t feel like torting the cake. But mostly the first thing. Instead of prepping the pans in the conventional manner (grease, flour and parchment), I brushed on the handy-dandy pan grease that’s never ever failed me in the past few hundred times I’ve used it. Maybe this recipe has less fat or is too soft, or I just don’t know why, but the corners stuck like a, well, like a really bad compound word. Next time, I’ll be lining the bottom with parchment in addition to using the pan grease.

Broken cake aside (13-year-old C. thought the stuck parts made a fabulous breakfast, by the way), I spackled the missing bits with the Chocolate Malt Buttercream and moved on.  I was inspired by Zoe’s decorating job on her site, but somehow my big dots looked like something less appetizing.  I think it’s the brown icing that pushed the resemblance over the edge.  Luckily, it’s a very scrumptious cake — the cake is moist and tender and the icing is rich and chocolatey.  It’s one of the rare cakes where no one leaves a glob of excess icing on the plate.  It’s soooo good — I love, love, LOVE this cake!

That’s one cake down, and three more to go in our house this summer!