Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Baptism Cake

What a month -- so many parties, insane amounts of cooking and baking. We held a party for my son's baptism a few weeks ago and with family coming in from out of town, most of them meeting him for the first time, I really wanted the cake to be special.

I decided on a dark chocolate cake with sliced strawberries and white chocolate whipped cream filling, topped with a whipped cream frosting. I'd been drooling over it ever since seeing it on Annie's Eats. I have to say, the dark chocolate cake was wonderful. I would absolutely make it again. However, I had some issues with the filling/frosting.

It was such an insane day, I didn't even get the opportunity to taste it until the following day. It almost seemed like the strawberries had sort of fermented. They just didn't taste quite right, and my husband assured me that they were fabulous the day before. Not sure what happened there, but it wasn't too pleasing. I also felt that the white chocolate whipped cream filling kind of got lost. I couldn't really taste enough of the white chocolate to make it worth the effort that went into making it. The whipped cream frosting was delicious! But this was a cake I really wanted to have fun decorating, and it was a bit flimsy for anything too fancy.

All of that said, it was a great day, and everyone seemed to really love the cake and the cupcakes. The cupcakes! Yes, there were cupcakes too. I don't think anyone even got a picture of them, terrible I know. I opted for the opposite of my cake, with a white chocolate cupcake and chocolate frosting, topped with little white chocolate crosses and Ns for my son's name. Those were a big hit as well. Cake recipe is below - will do the cupcakes in another post.

Dark and White Chocolate Layer CakeIngredients:For the dark chocolate cake:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the white chocolate whipped cream:
6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream

For the whipped cream frosting:
1 cup cold heavy cream
4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries, for filling and garnishing

Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour the sides of two 9-inch round cake pans, lining the bottoms with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; mix at medium-low speed until smooth.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated.  Stir in the boiling water (batter will be thin).

Pour batter into the pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  When the cake has cooled, cut each in half horizontally to create four cake layers. I stuck mine in the freezer for about 10 minutes to make them a bit easier to work with -- this worked out well for me!

To make the white chocolate whipped cream, place the chopped white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (I did this in a small saucepan over VERY low heat and it worked just fine) Melt, stirring occasionally.  When the chocolate is almost melted, bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil.  Once the chocolate is fully melted, transfer the bowl to a counter, pour in the hot cream and let it sit for one minute.  Then stir gently with a spatula until the chocolate is smooth.  Let the chocolate sit until it reaches room temperature – the chocolate can’t be the least bit warm when it is added to the whipped cream.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 1 cup cream until it holds soft peaks.  With the mixer on high speed, add the white chocolate all at once and continue to beat just until the mixture holds firm peaks. Transfer the cream to a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap gently against the surface and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To make the whipped cream frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the cream, sugar and vanilla together just until the cream starts to thicken.  Start on a slower speed and increase the speed as the cream gains texture.  Continue to beat until the cream holds stiff peaks.  Be very careful not to overbeat.

To assemble the cake, transfer one of the cake layers to a 10-inch cardboard circle, cut surface up.  Spread a thick layer of white chocolate whipped cream on top of the cake.  Layer with fresh strawberry slices.  Lay another cake layer on top of the cream and berries, and press down gently.  Top as before with white chocolate whipped cream and berries.  Repeat once more with another cake layer and topping.  Place the final cake layer on top, cut side down, and press down gently.  Frost the cake with whipped cream frosting and garnish with fresh berries as desired.

I melted down some additional white chocolate and added a few drops of blue food coloring... forgetting that white chocolate isn't exactly white so instead of the baby blue I was hoping for, I got something like a mint green. I then piped the chocolate onto some parchment paper, stuck in the freezer for a couple of minutes and that's how I got the cross. The little toppers for the cupcakes were done the same way, and they were a big hit and looked great! I garnished my cupcake stand with some chocolate covered strawberries. Man, I need to find a picture of those cupcakes. :)

Source: barely adapted from Annie's Eats (she has better pictures too!)

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