Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bob’s Birthday

As promised I wanted to fill you in on how Bob’s birthday went. I’ve taken to making some incredibly tasty cakes as gifts for those I care about. Bob told me ages ago his dream cake would be chocolate on the inside and chocolate frosting on top. Think the fella may have a sweet tooth? Well I headed over to my favorite baking site: Smitten Kitchen and found a recipe that allotted me a table’s worth of praise. I made this cake  while watching Bob’s five year old little brother so there is a definite lack in photo documentation, but I’ll show you my phone’s final picture results: Drumroll



Here’s the recipe, as taken from my heroes at Smitten Kitchen:

Double Chocolate Layer Cake
Adapted from Gourmet, March 1999

The recipe below is for 2 10-inch layers filled and coated in chocolate ganache. For cake layers
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting and filling (If you want to just use it for frosting, halve the recipe. A raspberry filling recipe is below.)

1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Special equipment: two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans

Make cake layers: Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Make frosting: Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). I found that stirring this over a bowl of ice water did a great job of cooling it off quickly and evenly.

Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

Cake aside I bought Bob a book I knew he liked and coincidentally he’d been thinking of buying on his own, I love when this happens.

imageBorn to Run is a fascinating book about tribes in Mexico who run barefoot and yet suffer less foot problems than us American’s in our gym shoes, sneakers, tennis shoes, kicks, whatever you so choose to call them. It is also the book that helped to raise awareness and introduce the Vibram Five Finger shoe craze. 

I picked up a pair of Vibrams about two weeks ago and haven’t looked back. They don’t hurt to walk over hard surfaces and actually give you awareness by using muscles and parts of your foot you’re not used to. They also have helped me to not have shin splints while working out. They look ridiculous and I’ve been stopped on 3 occasions to ask where a pair can be purchased, but I strongly recommend them.

imageThis is the pair I have, but they come in so many styles and stores haven’t been able to keep them stocked. My parents got Bob an REI gift card so I think he may get himself a pair too, my hunch is after this book he definitely will.


Well that wraps up Bob’s birthday. He was very happy with everything and said he couldn’t think of one way to improve that cake of his. A perfect ending to a perfect birthday night. 

By the way have you worn Vibrams?


  1. I've never heard of those shoes before..they look interesting! That cake looks SOO GOOD!! I hope you had a great day.

    Gemma x

  2. Those shoes are SOOOO ugly! Haha...I still love ya though!

  3. oh man that cake looks like chocolate heaven- the shoes not so much haha - I'm not going to lie they totally freak me out! yOu have to tell us if you get them!

  4. Haha I love all of your comments on the shoes. They are absolutely hideous. I saw them for the first time this past January and was wary.

    I DID buy them though and I honestly enjoy running/working out even more with them. It feels like you're not wearing shoes, except little objects don't hurt when you step on them.

    But trust me, I don't wear them for the fashion aspect, or I'd be worse off than Bijou in a swan dress.


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