Let's eat!

Hi. My name's Carol, and I love food. No, you don't understand. I love food. If I were on the Titanic, I'd be in the galley (kitchen) eating up the chocolate pudding and the roasted quail. I go to most events, activities and parties just for the food. The company and the conversation are secondary. Here, I'll try to document everything that goes into my mouth. Aren't we excited? Oh, hey, are you gonna eat that?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Classic Yellow Cake w/Hershey Bar Milk Chocolate Frosting

As I watched my friend take off with her precious cherry cake the other day, I already connived in my head to gear up for another cake-baking session on the weekend, but for my precious family. My husband has been especially patient as he watched cake after cake go out the door without his name on it.

If I was really a good wife, I'd finally bake him that marble pound cake his mom used to. But I'm saving that for his birthday (shh! don't tell). This classic yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting really hit the spot, considering I have my period and when you have your period before menopause all you crave is sugar, preferably in cake form, and it's one of my family's favorite all-time cakes.

There's something dreamy and golden, for me anyway, about alternating flour/baking powder/salt with milk into the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Your adrenaline's pumping, because you need to do all this in one smooth stroke without pausing or taking too long -- lest the batter turn into hockey pucks at the end -- and you get to watch eggs, sugar, vanilla, flour and milk turn into creamy, luscious cake batter, from raw translucent gritty pieces into an amalgamated whole. Magic. But then I dream about the beauty of mixing batter with fresh raspberries the way people dream about flying over the ocean on Mars.

An aspect of this recipe from the mocha me food blog I really thought was efficiently pragmatic was the use of Hershey bars in the frosting. It made me think of other variations for the future, like maybe using Dove bars (my favorite). I must say, when I bought the four regular bars of our family's favorite chocolate (personally I find it smells like vomit), I got carried away with buying additional jumbo bars for my husband and our son just for snacking on alone.

If there's one thing I still need to master--not that I'm a master baker yet or anything--is the frosting. For some reason, I screw it up one way or another, whether I'm rushing the powdered sugar and forget to sift, or not mix the butter into the powdered sugar enough so there are still slabs of it running through the frosting, or making up ratios after I added too much powdered sugar or milk or accidentally added cream. This time, all went well, because the recipe had me beating the butter, an initial 1 cup of the powdered sugar (1 pound/1 regular box of powdered sugar=about 3 3/4ths cups), vanilla and milk for a minute before adding more sugar. The one minute of beating really incorporated all traces of butter. I also remembered to leave the milk out for room temperature, less likely to seize up.

Instead of putting the chocolate pieces directly in a saucepan, I learned from cooking shows to slowly melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a simmering saucepan of water, so as not to burn the chocolate.

The cakes themselves turned out of their pans cleanly. Well, except for one cake was bulging slightly over the pan a little, which made for frosting the double layers a little lopsided. I really enjoyed myself though, eating almost as much frosting off the knife and spatula as I laid thickly on the cake. I remembered my husband's request that I put on the frosting at least an inch thick. I really slathered it on, using up every last bit of frosting.

When I turned the cakes out of their pans, I used a method I read about in my favorite cook book from Betty Crocker (I've had that cook book since I was single) yesterday. I put a dish towel over a rack, placed it--towel side up--over the cake resting on another rack and flipped. Then, flipped back. Effortless.

When it came time to frost, I put pieces of parchment paper over the sides of my cake stand, and went to town. I almost forgot Ina Garten's method as I just slashed away. By the time I filled the top of the first cake (placed on the stand upside down), I remembered not to go down the sides yet until I put the second cake on and frosted that top. I put a huge dollop of frosting on the top, and then worked the frosting all over then down the sides.

I did worry a little about it being lopsided and toppling like some of those cakes in the Food Network's challenges. Luckily, it's gone in a covered cake stand and it's in there snug, waiting for my husband to come home from his three gigs tonight.

He's going to have a big old grin on his face.

The question is, will he and James be able to finish this cake by next Sunday, when we get ready to go on vacation out of state?
What a silly question. I'm gonna eat about half that cake in about five minutes. Gangway.

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