21 November 2010

This Cake is Also Not a Lie

Posted in C-boy, food at 3:40 pm by Tricia

portal-looking birthday cake

The Cake is a Lie

For this weekend’s birthday party /Minecraft multi-player festival, I made a Portal-themed birthday cake. This clash of video games did not seem to bother anyone. Inspired by recent scratch-cake revelations, I searched through some cookbooks until I settled on the following chocolate cake recipe.

Six-Minute Chocolate Cake
Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water or coffee
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tab cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 375F.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, soda, salt, and sugar directly into the cake pan. In the measuring cup, measure and mix together the oil, cold water or coffee, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix the batter with a fork or a small whisk. When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls in the batter as the baking soda and the vinegar react. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed through the batter.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and set aside to cool.

Since I needed two layers, I decided to use the “12 minute cake” variation, and mixed a double batch in a regular mixing bowl. I lined the bottoms with parchment, greased the sides of the pans with a bit of vegetable oil, and dusted with a combo of cocoa and flour. The cakes came right out of the pans.

I frosted the cake with chocolate butter frosting from my Betty Crocker cookbook, then topped with shaved milk chocolate. The red orbs are malted milk balls (a Christmas edition, from the local bulk foods store) on squirts of whipped cream. The birthday boy thought it looked perfect. But I’m wondering: is there a secret to making perfect circles of whipped cream? Part of the issue is that they didn’t want to stick to the chocolate shavings. Oh well, it wasn’t an entry into the state fair.

After it was done, I was a bit nervous about how the cake would taste, since it has no eggs in it. They serve it at Moosewood, so it couldn’t be horrible – or else it had to appeal to crunchy-granola Birkenstock-wearing Ithakites… And as mentioned before, children don’t necessarily have the most disciminating tastes when it comes to cake. But it seemed to be well received – all children who have been polled have declared it to be good, and the birthday boy thought it looked perfect.  I even liked it! The texture was dense but not too dense – and it doesn’t taste low-fat/low-cholesterol (but maybe that’s because of the frosting!).

Edited to addcontinuing in the Portal theme, I have been instructed to add the following:

This was a triumph!

I’m making a note here: huge success.

It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.

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