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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cake it and Fake It

Now... I have such a confession to make. My cakes are all a lie. I'm such a poser. I... I.... I USE A MIX!!! (most of the time) There. It's out there. It's not coming back.

Honestly, all the fun in the cake, for me, happens after it is cooled. I have made cakes from scratch and I find if you use a good enough mix (read: moist cake!) then who cares. Cost-wise, I don't believe you are saving anything by making from scratch. I am sure there are people out there who would spit in my eye for my desecration of saying it's OK to use a mix. But personally, I am a big fan of the semi-homemade. And PS... nobody ever says "Oh, is this from a mix?".

OK so I would be totally lying if I said I made this cake since I got back. I made it before my trip. I snapped a quick picture of it before it got eaten at the Kidsmart party I was hosting, after somebody declared it was too pretty to cut. Then I told her she could cut away. haha.
So, here's the secret to this particular cake:
Using a mix, follow the directions to make two circular (chocolate) cakes (Devil's Food Cake, for example). Bake and cool. yadda yadda. Slice the curvy tops off to make them even and level.
For the middle: melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips and stir in 1/2 tsp of instant coffee granules. Spread over the top of the bottom cake layer and let cool (fridge/freezer works fine.) While it is cooling, whip up some whipping cream (or dream whip, or pull out your cool whip tub, I don't care)
Throw a large dollop into a bowl, enough to coat the top of that bottom layer of cake. Throw in 1/4 of a cup of icing sugar to thicken it up a bit, and 1/2 cup of chopped strawberries. Add more icing sugar or strawberries to taste, it's your party, girls. (or guys). I cannot stress how important it is to snoop several large fingerfuls. What on earth is the point of baking if you don't snoop?!
Once you are sure your layer of chocolate is hardened, cover it with the layer of strawberry goodness, then place the other layer on top. Line it up carefully and try not to squish out too much of the filling!

For the icing, I was in a bit of a hurry on this baby so I frankensteined together a tub of vanilla icing from the store, plus about equal amounts of whipped cream (or possibly more... i love me a whippedcreamy icing), then I stirred in some cocoa (1/2 tsp) and more instant coffee granules (1/4 tsp or more, to taste). A word of warning, here, though... you might want to use some cold Very Strong Coffee instead, I found that the granules did not all dissolve. Nobody complained, but I glared reproachfully at the speckies. Once again, do this to taste, throwing in more whipping cream, cocoa (or chocolate syrup works too), and coffee flavouring. Believe in yourself! You CAN throw this together!!!
I suggest investing in a real icing spreader. I use one with an offset blade, and I recommend it for easier spreading without getting it all over your hands. (the link is not to my exact one, but it looks like it. just to give you an idea of what to look for!)
Throw a big dollop of whipped cream on top when you've got everything spread nicely, then wash and pat dry three lovely strawberries for garnish. Pretty!!! And this cake was a pleaser. The only problem with it (which i remedied in these instructions already) was that my layer of hard chocolate was on top right under the icing, so when you went to cut it you squished out the middle layer and the cake more or less collapsed. I have fixed that problem, so the only thing being squished when you cut into the hard layer is the bottom layer. If you are still having problems, emit that layer (which is yummmmmmy ): boo) or cut using a hot knife!


edited: I edited this post to get rid of the first half cos it had an awful picture that kept showing up in the thumbnails lol.

1 comment:

  1. YUM! I am partial to "scratch" cakes but am known to use the occasional {whispering now} boxed mix...:) Like you said...no one ever asks "is this a mix?" Your cake looks fabulous and I am thoroughly enjoying your blogging style :)

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