White Cake with Buttery Chocolate Icing


What does one do when one is having a birthday party barbecue that one might not have necessarily wanted to have but it seemed like the least worst of a few bad situation possibilities?  Well, one certainly does not try to reinvent the wheel.
What does one do when one is having a birthday party barbecue that is the last big thing on her to-do list before truly and properly going on vacation? (stay-cation, whatever) She absolutely does make things as easy as possible for herself.  Oh - and she definitely goes for a run because she's going to need it.
What does one not do when one is having a birthday party barbecue?  Well, one doesn't stay up late watching a movie... except that's what I did.  Not my smartest move but it was a good movie - 'The Trotsky' a canadian flick with Jay Baruchel, set in Montreal, wonderful.  Who can resist.

I haven't been any kind of big time home entertainer or anything like that but I've learned one thing through my years of experience.  It sounds wrong when I say it out loud.  It's ludicrously simple, ridiculous even.  It seems counter-intuitive in this modern age of healthy.  Here it is:

Make Dessert First.

I know.  I know.  Most of us don't even consider dessert.  Why would we when we can just buy it - it's so much easier.  But I can't.  Especially for birthdays.  I'm riddled with guilt if I purchase something... even if I get their name written on it.  Whatever it is you are having for dessert make sure that you've figured it out and either bought it or made it first.  It will set the tone for everything else.  It will change how you feel about the entire meal, the whole event.


And thus I found myself on the eve of the birthday party barbecue that was the lesser of many evils, making birthday cake.  What turned out to be a great birthday cake and a not too sweet icing that made the perfect quantity for the cake (ie. no leftover icing).  Birthday cake or homemade dessert or just damn good dessert of any kind will make up for any number of dinner party violations.  Violations like having a broken toilet and therefor making your guests go to the basement to use that one.  How about forgetting that people need plates for appetizers that drip (oops) or forgetting napkins altogether.  Then there is the lego that's as plentiful as dust in our house.  It took Kid #2 two days to get it all in one area and even then our 94 yr old Auntie was finding them under her feet sometimes.  Yup - even with all of that you will be excused if dessert is good.  And it was.

Our two birthday girls are the first two on the left.  Lovely Ladies.

Nobody here is a birthday girl or boy.


White Cake with Buttery Chocolate Icing adapted barely from Epicurious
makes 1 two layer cake

2 1/4 cup cake and pastry flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk at room temperature
6 lg egg whites (about 3/4 cup or just a little more) at room temperature
3 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup unsalted butter soft but still coolish

Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the pastry flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix and set aside.
Combine the egg whites, milk and vanilla.  Mix well and set aside.
Add the butter to the flour mixture and start to whisk or mix together (if using a mixer).  Once a crumbly texture has formed add all but a half cup of the egg whites mixture and continue mixing at high speed for a couple of minutes.
Add in the rest of the egg whites mixture and then mix for another minute or so.
Pour evenly into the prepared pans (I did a little slam on the counter top with mine before putting them in the oven) and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out of the middle clean.
Cool for about 20 minutes before removing from the pans and then cool completely on a cooling rack before icing.

Buttery Chocolate Icing adapted from here
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (perfect for a two layer cake)

2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature and cubed
5 tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
Add the cubes of butter.  Using a mixer (or a very good whisk and a fast, strong arm) mix until things aren't dry anymore but quite thick.  Add in the whipping cream and vanilla and begin to mix slowly until the liquid is incorporated and then move to a higher speed and continue mixing until the cream starts to thicken up quite a bit (this will take a few minutes).  Once the cream has thickened to a nice spreadable consistency then get ready to ice the cake.
Refrigerate after icing the cake.

2 comments:

Steena Holmes said...

I'm always thinking about dessert :) Always! This looks delicious!

Wanda Thorne said...

In that case, you - my dear - have the makings of a true home entertaining guru. I offer my respects.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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