Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another Birthday, Another Two Birthday Cakes.

The early summer months (End of May, June, July) in my recent years have been filled with birthdays. Birthdays that are very close to one another in time. Remember that Red Velvet Cheesecake? Birthday cake.  Last night we celebrated our friend Lil's birthday and knowing her name is important for understanding the pictures that will soon follow. Speaking of things that soonly follow after other things, my wife Gillian's birthday is coming up in four days. Yes, I plan on baking her a cake.  No, I have yet to find a gift for her. No, the cake is not my gift to her (because I don't think it counts despite the significance of this cake that you will soon learn about). Yes, I may not be alive to post about said cake.

We had secretly decided on chocolate cake as the cake of choice with no real reason backing this decision. Gillian sent me a recipe yesterday morning that she found on the Chowhound message board. You know, I was wondering what her search terms were. In any case, this is the e-mail I received. Please note that these are the entire contents of this e-mail from my wife.
If this isn't the easiest, sturdiest and most bombproof chocolate cake, I don't know what is. You don't even need an egg or milk or anything. I swear, it's delicious. You can leave it in the baking pan until you get it to the destination, then remove to a plate, dust heavily with icing sugar and squirt with a spray-bomb of whipped cream (a few fresh berries or flowers are a nice touch). Seriously - you will thank me for this recipe.
Stupidly easy chocolate cake
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda until well mixed. All at once add the vinegar, vanilla, oil, and water. Stir well, then dump the batter into a well-greased 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan. Bake at 350o F (180o C) for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let cool completely before frosting or sprinkle with icing sugar and decorate with a few fresh flowers.

Doesn't that first paragraph look like it's something out of one of those spam e-mails? All you need to do is add "Hi friend, I know we haven't spoken in a long time but..." I was really confused but I started on this cake, mixed all the dry ingredients together and just as I was about to pour in the liquids, I stopped.

For whatever reason, I decided to also try another chocolate cake recipe, a birthday chocolate chiffon cake from simply cooked. Sarah has been very helpful and inspirational to me as a newbie blogger and I'm finally making one of her recipes! So armed with two recipes, I set off to bake two cakes before noon. When it comes to baking, I usually mess something up and I really don't want to admit that it was the cake from simply cooked! In her recipe, you need to whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Unfortunately, while separating the yolks, I dropped a whole yolk into the whites and despite my efforts to get it out, there was some left in it. Now I don't know enough about baking and whether or not one can get soft peaks if there's yolk mixed in and I whisked until my arm tired to no avail. In the end, I improvised (a dangerous move in baking) and just mixed the chocolate mixture with the egg whites that was still pretty much a soup. It turned into very liquidy batter that I poured into a pan and crossed my fingers.

 Luckily, I don't know what chiffon cake is supposed to be like and it turned out pretty okay! I mean, it tasted good, I just don't know if the texture was right. When we had both cakes out, we decided to use the chiffon cake just a little differently.

Luckily there was still a lot of chiffon cake leftover. 
Before serving it to be the birthday girl, we snazzed it up just a little bit with some icing sugar and strawberries. Lil knew she was getting cake, she just didn't know what kind, or how it was going to look.

The strawberry <3

 Of course we served it with some ice cream and berries.  

Happy Birthday Lil!
de vous laisser parler d'amour

1 comment:

  1. 'easy birthday cake' were my search terms :P