Baking

A Lucious Chocolate DEATH

I did it. I finally cut into my birthday cake yesterday. After hours and hours of waiting, one of my friends finally came down to my dorm to experience this with me. I can’t even call it a cake anymore after those first bites. It’s BEYOND cake. It’s . . . LOVE! That’s the only way to describe it . . . well, I suppose “heart attack” would be a close second, but let’s not think about that right now. I’m in agreement with my friend on this one when she said “It’s your birthday. Calories don’t count.” (Shhhhh, I know it was after my birthday, but it was the first piece of my birthday “love”, so the statement still stands.)

It was so hard to cut into the cake because it was so dense and thick, not to mention cold from being in the fridge for so long.

I could barely finish my piece because there was just so. much. chocolate. The ganache layer was a bit overwhelming, but the light and fluffy mousse layer balanced it out a bit.

I honestly don’t know if I can ever make this cake for myself again. I definitely need to have a huge group of people in mind if this ever hopes to be made again. SO. MUCH. CHOCOLATE.

After the first bite my friend said she didn’t need a man. I’ll take that as a compliment.

There’s still so much left. We barely made a dent in it. I’m gonna die a chocolate death to end all chocolate deaths. I don’t care that my friend said we weren’t sharing this cake, it’s coming to either Irish class or folk group on Tuesday. It needs to be gone before it goes bad. Leaving it to go bad would be even worse than eating it all myself.

One final note: when you eat this cake, you don’t need to eat anything else for like 3 days. You’re that full. I didn’t eat anything the day I made it (the chocolate aromas were enough for me); I pretty much just ate some eggs/English muffin and my piece yesterday; and today I’ve eaten two super mini bagels with peanut butter, mac and cheese, and a small piece. STILL STUFFED! And yeah, my diet is still crap. Needs to change real soon or my stomach will revolt against me. Maybe I should make those pomegranate white chocolate chunk cookies tomorrow. You know, to consume some fruits and oats and all that.

Baking, Celtic Thunder

A Very, Very Happy “Chocolate Overdose Cake” Birthday to Me

Yesterday was my 21st birthday, and I celebrated by going to class all day, coming home and napping, doing homework, and watching the first disc of The Tenth Kingdom. I fell asleep before 1am and didn’t even consume my first legal drink. I know, I’m SUCH a party animal. My birthday wasn’t all boring though, because the night before I went to the Hellogoodbye concert with one of my friends, and it was AMAZING.

Yes, we were on the side, but it was still great, nonetheless.

Because my week has been so hectic and short on free-time, and because I knew back in January that it would be like that, when I first went back to work I told my teacher that I would not be coming in on this date. I chose to designate this day as my “Epic 21st Birthday Cake Baking Extravaganza” day (I just named it that today). This way I could relax and actually enjoy the process, even though I didn’t know what I would be making at the time.

Enter the Chocolate Overdose Cake I found on Beantown Baker’s blog.

This cake has been by no means inexpensive for me to bake. I would not have been so bad if I already had a springform pan, but at least I have one now (although I would have liked for it to be deeper, oh well). I think I’ve spent nearly $30 on supplies for this, but I already know it will be worth every single penny.

I started this process by taping all of my ingredients/instructions/timings to the cabinet doors to keep them in sight, but out of the way. Then I cleared off the counter and moved everything to the tables. There’s so little counter space here that it just wouldn’t have been possible to make the cake with everything still out.

With my iPod playing my Damian and Keith playlist, the extravaganza began.

I started with the brownie layer, so I put some water on to simmer and sifted together the dry ingredients while waiting.

Note the green highlighter I’m using to cross out ingredients and steps on my printed out recipe. I’m so prepared.

Then I chopped up the unsweetened chocolate until it was rather fine. When they say unsweetened, they really mean unsweetened, because I got some on my fingers and tried it. No thank you. I won’t be doing that again.

Then I put the butter and chocolate into a bowl to put over the simmering water in order to melt it down and make it super smooth.

Then I added the sugar and mixed it all together. Then I prepared the springform pan to let the chocolate cool for a bit before I added the eggs.

Next came the dry ingredients.

Bit by bit I mixed it all together.

Until it looked like this and was ready for the pan.

Then it went into the oven for about 30 minutes and I commenced washing my bowls and utensils so I’d be ready to make the cake part. When I stuck a fork in them to see if they were done, I did as any normal person would do, and ate the moist brownie crumbs that came out with the fork. Oh My God. It was absolutely HEAVENLY. I cannot wait to dig into that layer of my cake. I’ll probably have to make these brownies just by themselves sometime.

I started prepping ingredients for the next part while the brownies were still in the oven.

I chopped more unsweetened chocolate.

This time into large-ish chunks.

I didn’t actually chop on top of the simmering water. This position just had better lighting and was less blurry.

Then there was more dry ingredient sifting.

Now the chocolate, cocoa and water melting/mixing could begin.

Once I added the sugar it looked much better and mixed much easier.

Then I mixed the buttermilk and vanilla and set it aside.

Out came the hand mixer so I could mix the eggs and sugar until it was all nice and fluffy.

I was amazed when I took a couple of pictures with the flash on as I was mixing because I swear the mixer is on in both of them. It doesn’t even look like the beaters are moving in the second picture. Aren’t I easily amused.

For some reason I failed to take pictures of mixing everything together, but it really just wasn’t that interesting. I added the chocolate to the eggs and sugar and alternated adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk/vanilla mixture.

Then everything went into the prepared cake pan to bake for nearly 40 minutes. The recipe said 30 minutes, but I guess my oven is colder so it took longer than expected.

After the cake was out and the dishes were washed again, it was time for a break to let everything completely cool before I started on the mousse. At this time I also put a bowl, my whisk, and the beaters in the freezer because they’re supposed to be “well-chilled.” I figured about 2 hours would be enough time in the freezer.

I had a slight mishap while making the mousse. I didn’t look at the recipe and so I poured both pints of heavy cream into my bowl. As I was whipping it, I kept thinking “This is so much mousse for the middle of the cake.” And then I remembered that I only needed ONE pint of it. *sigh*. At least I remembered before it got completely whipped and the chocolate was added. I just took out half and put it in a bowl so I could use it for the ganache later. I also failed to photograph the mousse-making process, but it was just melting chocolate, whipping cream and adding them together.

The I assembled the cake in the springform pan, covered it in plastic wrap, and let it chill in the fridge for an hour.

The ganache came together very nicely, even given the slightly whipped consistency of the cream. Most of the air came out of it after it was brought to a boil and then taken off the heat, so thank goodness my lack of attention to detail did not have any ill effects.

I have never used to much chocolate in one day. Let’s tally it all up: 5 1-ounce Baker’s unsweetened chocolate squares, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and 6 4-ounce bars of Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate. That’s about 30 ounces of chocolate, which is nearly 2 POUNDS! Paired with the sugar in this cake, it’s sure to be a rich chocolate coma and sweet sugar rush to remember.

Doesn’t that look SO good already? I wanted to eat it then and there, even without the ganache.

Dripping and oozing down.

Boy did I make a big mess.

I let it chill in the fridge for about an hour and a half to set up and for the ganache to harden a bit.

STRAWBERRY TIME!

I am happy with my ganache-ing skills and especially pleased that the cake is nice and flat and as straight as I could ask for. I’ll be sure to make another post detailing the demolition of this delicious-looking (and hopefully wonderful tasting) cake.

Now it’s all wrapped up to chill in the fridge until tomorrow afternoon when I can finally dig in with some friends. It’s going to be a long, long night. . . .

At this point–and before having even tasted the final product–I think I can honestly say that this is one of the creations I’m most proud of making. It may have taken me from 10am to 7:30pm, but I would happily make this again and again, as long as I do not have to rush the process. This was the best birthday-cake-making day I could have asked for.

Baking

My Bi-Weekly Baking Bonanzas

With the semester and all of the work that goes with it looming on the horizon, I’ve been reading baking blogs like crazy and stockpiling countless recipes for future use. I’ve also been searching for the perfect cake recipe to bake up for my 21st birthday next month. I’m never content to just have a couple of options. I always need to have too many options to count, which ultimately poses a problem when it comes to finally narrowing things down and making a decision. In the last day alone I have found so many things I want to try out, and I just don’t know when I would be able to find the time to tackle even half of them; which brings me to the topic of this post. Inspired by Yarn Harlot’s own Self-Imposed Sock of the Month Club, I will be doing the same with my baking, except I will make something every other week, since doing it weekly would be insane, given my schedule. I think the hardest part of this entire endeavor will be to actually narrow down all of my options to about 7 or 8 must-make recipes–just enough to last the semester, since I don’t know what my summer plans will be or if they will include a kitchen. They need to be things whose ingredients I won’t lose interest in if they’re not chosen until weeks from now–ideally classic recipes, but with a twist. There always needs to be a twist. It’s the twist that differentiates one recipe from another and makes it extra special. I want the twist to be included in the recipe, because it will also be a test of my ability to follow what’s written and to check that I actually have everything I need before I start.

With that in mind, during these blog explorations, I think I found my birthday cake. It fits me perfectly, in that the woman that posted about it wrote “There are just quite a few components to this cake, so it takes some time. Be sure to read through everything before you start this project.” It seems like it was written to me, because I’m notorious for not checking for ingredients and just diving in based on my own assumptions of what I have. Beantown Baker’s Chocolate Overdose Cake greatly resembles a cake my school serves at its Sunday brunch. I haven’t had it since the end of my freshman year because I haven’t had a meal plan since then, so I’m itching to make it, but I must wait. I know I said I didn’t want to alter recipes, but I want to make it resemble the dining hall cake even more by adding a crunched up Oreo cookie layer on the bottom. I hope I can get that to work, because I think it would be amazing!

Edit:

Well, that was a lot easier than I thought. It only took me a few minutes to pick and choose, and here is what I will be making as part of my “Bi-Weekly Baking Bonanzas”. I really need to get a better title for this, too, because this one is just too gosh darn long.

1-30 (actually 1-28) Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies — Beantown Baker

2-13 Pomegranate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies — Two Peas and Their Pod I think this one will be one to make around Valentine’s Day, simply because the colors coordinate.

2-27 Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting — Beantown Baker EDIT 2/20: I’ve decided to change this one for a couple of reasons. 1.) Two of my main treat eaters can’t eat bacon. 2.) I want a chocolate break after eating that INSANE birthday cake. No more heavy heavy desserts for a while, in order to prepare myself for the chocolate extravaganza that will ensue shortly after this. I’m replacing it with Oreo Cupcakes — Beantown Baker. It’s one of her most popular recipes, so why not give it a try.

3-13 Irish Car Bomb Cupcake — Beantown Baker This one will have to wait at least a few weeks, so that I can legally obtain the copious amounts of alcohol required.

3-27 Homemade Hobnobs — Cookie Madness

4-10 Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cake — Baking Bites

4-24 Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes — Grace’s Sweet Life

5-08 Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes — Big Black Dog This one will definitely brighten up a cold winter’s day (or rather a sad stressful finals weekend with two papers due that week) with thoughts of spring/summer and freedom.

I think I’m going to take a pass at making something this coming week because I’ve just been baking so much lately. I will at the beginning of February with the Oatmeal Cream pies, which will help me to not be overloaded with all the chocolate I will be consuming with my birthday cake I’ll be making that next week. Then it will be the Pomegranate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies the week after. After that is up in the air at this point, but at least I have my options narrowed down to a select few sure-to-please recipes.

There’s also something of my own creation that I’m dying to make come St. Patrick’s Day. I recently bought a shamrock cookie cutter, and I was thinking that I will bake up a single layer, thin-ish chocolate cake, frost it with green frosting, and then cut out little shamrock cakes. I think the final product will be adorable, and I’m only posting about it right now so that I don’t forget, because I know I’m going to if I’m not making it for a while.