It’s a tradition in our family that we launch Birthday Season (four birthdays, one per month from May – August, not including our schnauzer whose special day also falls within that span), with “Mama’s Choice” — chocolate on chocolate. It’s not because I’m such a chocoholic (I’m far from it) but because it was the one combination no one else would request. We had lots of yellow cake/chocolate icing, chocolate cake/vanilla or cream cheese icing, red velvet cake/cream cheese icing, and so on. So in the interest of variety, I sacrifice my choice to all chocolate each year.
This year I was looking for chocolate icing that wasn’t the typical chocolate buttercream that I have been making of late. I found this recipe for Beatty’s Chocolate Cake by Ina Garten. For the cake, it employs buttermilk rather than the sour cream or greek yogurt used in many of the chocolate cakes I’ve make. I took care to check the cake for doneness before the time indicated so that it wouldn’t overbake. I’ve learned, at least in our oven, waiting to check cakes even at the minimum time suggested more often than not results in a dry, overdone cake. My vigilance paid off, as my husband said it was perhaps the moistest cake I’ve ever made.
The frosting is unlike any I’ve attempted in the past, as it includes a raw egg yolk. I had some concerns about salmonella but decided to go with it. It was a really hot and muggy day when I made the frosting so the butter was near liquid at room temperature, and the finished frosting wasn’t much thicker. I opted to do an informal spoon swirled design and plopped the iced cake in the fridge in the hopes that the frosting would firm up quickly and not slide right off the cake.
To finish, I dug out my old Wilton books and made some purple primroses and yellow violets out of royal icing, and bright green leaves (clearly I was a tad too generous with the leaf green icing color) from Wilton Class Buttercream (not super tasty, but good for decorating and easy to whip up in a pinch). I’m a little rusty on composing realistic flower groupings but all in all I was pretty happy!