Sunday, September 01, 2013

Mile-High Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Are the Baking Gods Angry?

Oh dear, a layered cake for this week.  I love a layered cake by the Baked boys.  But I'm feeling a little hesitant to make it.  I haven't made a layered cake for a while.  My last one was the Aunt Sassy cake, here.  (That was way back in April.)  I'm afraid I've last my confidence for a layered cake.  Gulp!

But of course I'm going to jump into the baking waters (will test the water first with a toe) and not look back (except to see if perhaps I'm too far from shore).  I think I need my water wings.  I'll be back.  Wait, was that a shark? 

Cake pans have been prepared.

Yummy cocoa powder is mixed with hot water and sour cream.  It smells so good.  I'm thinking a chocolate bath would be lovely.

Butter and shortening get creamed.  A little privacy is in order I think.

Some other ingredients (namely the ones pictured) get added.
Yep, vanilla showed up late and almost got left out. 

Dry ingredients gets added to the mix along with the yummy cocoa mixture.
First the flour.....

then the cocoa mixture...and on and on that goes until there is no more.

And bing, bang, boom the cakes are ready to bake and be baked.  (Oh to be a cake!) What?

Cakes have been baked.  Off to the freezer they go, until I have time/courage to slice them into layers.

Oh mein gott im himmel (omg).  Why buttercream??  Why???  It has either been so long since I’ve made buttercream, or I’ve successfully blocked the process, as I don’t remember having to measure the temperature during the making of it.    And then there is the talk of it curdling….I soooo shouldn’t have read the instructions.  Is that screaming just in my head, or can you all hear it too???!!!  I feel like the room is closing in on me!  So this is what buttercream nightmares are.  It’s all just a dream….shhh.  And remember, you’ve still got to cut the 3 cake layers into a total of 6 layers.  A nightmare in a nightmare….inconceivable (to my Princess Bride fans).

Meh, it’s just a pound of butter no big whoop.  I’ve got another pound standing by in the wings (fridge).  I’m not hyperventilating, it’s just my asthma.  Honest.  I just need a moment (or a day) to gather my courage. (I seem to have misplaced it.)  Could I maybe not make the buttercream and just say my dog(I don’t own a dog) ate it?  Or is that only good for homework?  Hmm.  Oh my poor baby dog (that I don’t own), a whole pound of butter cannot be a healthy thing to consume.  I think I should take my dog(that I don’t own) to the vet.  I shall call him Harvey!  No wait, that’s my rabbit’s name.  False alarm, he’s okay.  He buried the buttercream in the backyard.  (Even he doesn’t like buttercream that looks curdled….everyone is a critic…even in my imagination!)

Courage has been located.  Silly courage, never hide next to the butter when I’m getting ready to bake!   That’s the equivalent of running upstairs in a scary movie (never run upstairs…or say you’ll be right back).  Classic mistake.

But before I get to the buttercream, I should cut the 3 cake layers (for a total of 6). 

I had them in the freezer and am (after attempting to cut the first layer) thinking I should have let them thaw a smidge longer.

What a hot mess!

I cannot believe I made such a mess of this first layer.  It isn't even like I'm close to having two equal layers.  And I was using a cake leveler!!!  Oh sure I could feel the blade wobbling about, but seriously, this off?????  Did I offend the Baking Gods at some point?  I am now going to pout let the other two layers thaw a lot more before attempting to saw them in half.  I'm thinking my backup plan (for life) to be a magician should be put on hold...indefinitely.

Now for the buttercream, once I find the candy thermometer.  Where the H-E-double hockey sticks is it???  I have gone through 3 kitchen drawers (twice) and can't find it.  I've gone downstairs into the storage room where all my extra baking stuff is, it isn't there.  Back upstairs to look through the 3 drawers again.  Awesome; was in the first drawer I looked.  I think someone just planted it there when I went downstairs.  I blame the dog (I don't own).  I'm seriously starting to think the Baking Gods are angry with me.

I almost got the sugar mixture up to 240, but it seemed to be getting dark and burnt smelling.  I'm really not sure of this at all.

Oh, and adding it to the egg whites (that I whisked earlier), is not something that happens easily.  There is now a stream of caramel stuck to the side of the bowl. 

I made hubbie taste it, since the smell of burnt sugar is too strong for me to judge the taste.  He didn't think it was horrible, so I am moving forward.

 Once this meringue cooled down, I beat in the butter.

Now it's time to spread the buttercream between those beautifully sliced layers of chocolate cake.

I was on a roll....there was no stopping me.  Got all the layers done.  Once I was done, I then went back to the recipe to read the rest of the instructions.  Seriously??!!  What did I do to piss off these Baking Gods?  I swear the next line I read in the instructions was 'Do NOT spread buttercream on top layer'.  The 'not' is capitalized!

  Nailed it.

So since I messed up the top layer, I didn't make the chocolate glaze that was supposed to be spread on top and then allowed to drip down the layers.  Sigh.  Is there a support group out there that can help me with reading recipe instructions?  Do I need to form one?  Son of a basket weaver!

I'd say this is more like a 3/4's of a mile high chocolate cake.  Missing a layer, but still a tasty cake.  The chocolate cake itself is very good.  Those Baked Boys know how to make a great cake.


  1. Ha, I love the appearance of the Land Shark in your post! I think you should pat yourself on the back for finding a way to make caramel buttercream -- I bet it was delicious! And I think your finished cake looks terrific, so the baking gods had your back on this one. :)

  2. Do you think your candy thermometer might need to be re-calibrated? It shouldn't have caramelized by 240 degrees - but either way, your cake looks wonderful! And I agree - the caramel buttercream probably tasted awesome :)

    1. That is a good question. Maybe I should get a new thermometer, since I don't see that anyone else had this problem. (good thinking!)

  3. I'm sure I would have loved your caramel frosting! You know, I think it's great to see how everyone does - you managed the 6 layers, and I didn't! All of this serves to build our instincts and mad skills! And your cake looks wonderful!

    1. I only got 5 first layer was a disaster!!! hee hee.

  4. Chocolate cake with caramel buttercream actually sounds *more* appealing to me... I made a caramel buttercream last weekend, but it was with caramel sauce I made and just ye olde trusted butter-and-powdered-sugar-and-milk version of buttercream. Aaaand, I have made an effort to read through recipes before I make them these days, but usually I end up missing something anyways... ;)

  5. This looks delicious. Not that I need to make a 6-layer cake, but hmmm...I'm pretty tempted.
    p.s. - found your site on BlogHer's September NaBloPoMo listing - will be checking back to see what else you're baking!

  6. cake looks delish! i just bought that cake leveler the other day because i couldn't find my cheap one, but was so mad at the wobbly blade! never using it again!

  7. I love cake!

    Unfortunately, it doesn't love me back.

    I don't know why it has to be that way.