Sunday, February 21, 2010

By request - the recipe

Died-and-Gone-to-Heaven Chocolate Layer Cake

• 3 cups (750 mL) granulated sugar
• 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
• 1 cup (250 mL)unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 tsp (10 mL) baking soda
• 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
• 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
• 3 large eggs
• 1 1/2 cups (375 mL)buttermilk
• 1 cup (250 mL)strong brewed coffee, cooled
• 3/4 cup (180 mL)vegetable oil
• 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
• 4 oz (115 g) unsweetened chocolate squares, melted and cooled slightly

For the frosting
• 1 1/4 cups (300 mL)granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup (80 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup (250 mL) 35 per cent whipping cream
• 6 oz (165 g) semisweet chocolate squares
• 2 tsp (10 mL)vanilla
• 8 oz (225 g) light cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Lightly grease bottom and sides of three 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans. Cut circles of wax paper or parchment paper to fit bottom of pans and place in pans. Lightly grease paper. Set pans aside.

Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat eggs on high speed of electric mixer for about 3 minutes, until they have thickened slightly and are lemon coloured. Add buttermilk, coffee, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix on low speed until well blended.

Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until batter is smooth. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in centre of cakes comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, peel off paper and cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting: Whisk sugar, cocoa, and whipping cream in a medium saucepan. Cook slowly over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Stir in vanilla. Let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed of electric mixer until smooth. Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended. Refrigerate frosting until desired spreading consistency is reached, about 1 hour. It’s important not to let it get too firm, or you won’t be able to spread it.

To frost cake: Place one cake layer on a pretty plate. Spread 1 cup (250 mL)? frosting over top. Repeat with second layer. Place final layer on top. Ice top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Decorate cake with chocolate curls and/or chocolate-covered strawberries, if desired. Cover and refrigerate. Let cake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

— Eat, Shrink & Be Merry, by Janet and Greta Podleski

Saturday, February 20, 2010

When you clean chocolate off the walls... you know it’s going to be a good cake

Yesterday I made the most incredible birthday cake for Mr. Perfect: Triple Layer, Died and Gone to Heaven Chocolate Cake. A few of the ingredients (cake + frosting) include – 4.5 cups of sugar, 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of vegetable oil, 1 cup of cream cheese and loads of chocolate! It took me 3 hours to complete and Mr. Perfect decided to come home an hour early to completely ruin the surprise, but the end product is sheer decadence! I’ll admit it... part of the reason I made it was because I really wanted to taste it. :-)

The pièce de résistence:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Mr. Perfect got me an interesting birthday gift. It's something I wanted for about 6 years now, but never had the guts to do it - a tattoo! It wasn't so much the pain or the regret that scared me, it's not knowing a tattoo artist I could trust. Anyway, after seeing Mr. Perfect get his latest tattoo, I felt confident enough to do it and Mr. Perfect offered to pay for it as a birthday gift.

So here it - my very first tattoo:

It's an image of a phoenix. I chose it because I like the story of the phoenix: a mythical bird who rises from the ashes to be born again. I like the idea that with any of life's challenge, no matter how hard it is, I can rise from the ashes and start a new. I had it done on the lower right side of my back. I love the way it looks and can't wait for it to be completely healed. I have to admit, it hurt a lot more than I thought it would, but I survived and I would do it again.