Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, my darling chocoholic!
Happy birthday to you!
It’s my dear one’s birthday.
So the move is continuing. Well, the move is pretty much over. On the dear one’s birthday, we loaded all my stuff (or shit, depending upon whether you ask me what’s in the boxes or him … thank you so much, George Carlin), drove 10 hours, and moved it all up to Bar Harbor.
From my perspective, not a great way for him to spend his birthday. From his perspective … well, not to sound egotistical here or anything … he gets me for his birthday. My birthday follows just 5 days later, and I am thrilled to have this second chance with my first love as a birthday present.
For him in the few days leading up to this event, there was a 10 hour bus ride to New York City, two dinners, drinks and a lunch with my folks, son and friends, his sisters and brother-in-law, renting a truck, unloading a storage room, loading a truck, driving 10 hours, unloading a truck, returning the truck 45 minutes away and finally driving home. I may be a really lovely woman, but that is a … well, that is one really sweet man.
There will still be some back and forth to New York, but with longer periods of time at home (wow, that is so nice to say!), a bit of adjusting (especially to the cold and SNOW), and a long time unpacking and more purging.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all you do, for all you have done, and for being an anchor during this insane period of upheaval.
Now I have this overwhelming desire to make that hellish few days up to him, do something to show how much I appreciate all he’s just done for me, and something to celebrate what is one of my favorite days of the year.
I had spied this recipe months ago in The Essence Of Chocolate: Recipes For Baking And Cooking With Fine Chocolate and knew that this HAD to be his birthday cake. It’s just the two of us for dinner and an entire cake is just way too much, so I converted the cake to cupcakes, We ate a few, saved a few to have with the girls, and froze a few.
I’m giving you the recipe the way it was written, but will add in my notes for turning them into cupcakes.
For the Cake:
Unsalted butter and flour for pans
2 C granulated sugar
1-3/4 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 t salt
1-1/2 t baking powder
1-1/2 t baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 C canola oil
1 C whole milk
1 C boiling water
For the Frosting:
1-1/4 C granulated sugar
1 C heavy cream
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
8 T (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 t pure vanilla extract
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.
NOTE: Instead of using flour for the pans, I used cupcake liners. I was going to use butter and cocoa powder, but exhaustion took over and I changed my mind. Next time I will try that.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Mix in the eggs, oil, and milk.
Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy.
NOTE: If you’re making cupcakes, fill each 2/3 full. And this is REALLY soupy. I poured the batter into a measuring cup and poured the batter into the cupcake tins.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
NOTE: Baking for the cupcakes took 25 minutes.
While the cakes are baking, make the frosting:
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.
Remove cakes from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely.
When the cakes have cooled, check the frosting. It should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is still too thin, allow it to cool longer.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a hot palette knife or icing spatula to give the frosting a beautiful shine. Run the knife under hot tap water and dry with a towel. Spread about 3/4 cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.
NOTE: I just used a metal spatula that I ran under hot water to frost each cupcake.
NOTE: Chocolatey doesn’t even begin to describe these! The last a few days under wraps. The smiles and asking for seconds was praise for this recipe! Truthfully, I had to stop myself from spreading on anything I cold think of!