Birthday Cake Season


Last month, I made a scrumptious birthday cake for myself. Unfortunately it was gone before I thought to take a photograph of it. But no worries! This month’s family birthday cake is exactly the same! Right down to the decorating. Actually, this month’s decorating may be a little less of a mess, so it’s a win-win to have forgotten to post the earlier cake.

This is my new favorite chocolate cake recipe. I think we’re exclusively a chocolate cake crowd here (although the icings vary) so I’ve tried a lot of different recipes over time. I’ve had this one for a long time (and made it a couple times many years ago), but somehow it didn’t stand out to us earlier. Maybe I’ve gotten better at baking, or maybe my substitution of hot coffee for the boiling water that’s called for makes that substantial a difference; I can’t say.

Hershey (who created the cake) has changed the recipe’s name over the years. My original print-out calls it “Hershey’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake” but it’s currently called “Hershey’s Especially Dark Chocolate Cake” (follow link for the recipe) on the Hershey’s site. (There is a similar recipe that is otherwise identical, except that it uses natural cocoa powder rather than Special Dark.) My only change to the ingredients in the printed recipe is substituting an equal amount of freshly brewed hot (decaf) coffee for the boiling water. I also advise checking the cakes 3 – 5 minutes early and pulling them out of the oven when the cake tester still comes out with some crumbs; any longer and the cake layers won’t be as gloriously moist as they should be.

I iced the cake with a simple whipped cream… just 12 ounces of COLD heavy cream, 3 ounces of confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of meringue powder (my trick to stabilize whipped cream that I’m using to top cakes or pies that I expect to have on hand for a few days). I put it all in a mixing bowl and whip with my stand mixer until I’ve reached the stiff peak stage. For more on whipping cream, King Arthur Flour wrote this great post with tips and pictures.

And finally, I’d like to wish my adorable husband PJ a happy, happy birthday!!Β πŸ˜˜πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‰Β Let’s eat cake!!

Busy Not Baking (Much)

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. The last 2 1/2 weeks have been a head-spinner — the boys went back to school, I went back to school, not to mention jury duty, soccer practices and games, pep band rehearsals and football games, school open house nights… that’s just a small part of the list. Recreational baking has had to take a back burner, for the most part, for the moment. Once things settle down a bit I will be able to get caught up with posting some of the things I did find time to bake. Have patience…