You know what’s great (besides Eminem’s assuredly catchy but unsettling lyrics)? Fiery, passionate people in your life that know what they like and aren’t afraid to voice that like. While it may make for some lively discussions, it also allows for a wide path of joy leading from one insane amateur baker to the girl on fire – the voicer of likes – or in this case, the birthday girl.
This time, I was baking for Stacey, a wonderful friend, who, along with raising four kids, directing and producing Spokane’s Listen to Your Mother, a powerful show about mothers and their words AND heading every hiring committee that preschool boards and elementary school PTAs can throw at her, has made it quite clear to me over the course of our six-year relationship that she likes CHOCOLATE. Period.
There is no other cake on her birthday menu, and if fruit is anywhere in the building, she is not. And don’t even mention coconut. That’s grounds for friendship divorce. At least on her birthday.
Stacey does however, like the comforting, yet sophisticated taste of toasted marshmallows, that is ruling the sweet world these days. Inspired by a chocolate cake at a local Italian restaurant, and the s’mores craze too, I came up with my own concoction and thankfully, only lit one layer on fire, allowing a respectable 3 (versus 4) layer cake for the party. Whew. Fire is still my friend. Stacey is still my friend.
For this cake, I worked from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home to Yours, which as promised, really takes on a brownie effect when served cold.
For the layers, I made a double batch of my usual chocolate ganache and then spread that with a fabulous marshmallow frosting.
Look at this fluffy stuff…its beautiful!
At this point, I popped each layer under the broiler for 15-20 seconds. Mmmm…toasted heaven.
As mentioned, I only stood and watched one burn.
From there, I saved the charred layer for my family and did a double crumb cake technique with the other three, first with the fluffy marshmallow frosting and then with a traditional chocolate icing of the powdered sugar (and malt powder!) variety.
Finally, after some time in the refrigerator, I frosted the whole thing with the chocolate-malt icing using a variation of this technique, expertly explained at Glorious Treats.
Finally, I crowned the top with a ring of marshmallow frosting that I DID NOT toast under the broiler. The gentle flame of a lighter wand did the trick. Then it was just a sprinkling of sprinkles away from cake with friends.
Below are the cake, marshmallow frosting and chocolate frosting recipes:
DG’s Devil’s Food Cake (slightly adapted)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 c. buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 c. boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 mini chocolate chips
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour two eight inch round cake pans. I use baking spray.
2.) Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
3.) With a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add both sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes.
4.) Add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to low and mix in the melted chocolate until fully incorporated.
5.) Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter.
6.) Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water then switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate.
7.) Divide the batter evenly between the two pans (I use a kitchen scale for this) and smooth the tops with a spatula.
8.) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
9.) Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
4 large egg whites
1 c. sugar
3/4 t. cream of tartar
1 c. water
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1 jar marshmallow cream
1.) Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer (clean and dry) or other mixing bowl. Have a candy thermometer at the ready.
2.) Place the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes.
3.) Uncover the saucepan and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer.
4.) While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer until they form firm, shiny peaks.
5.) Once the syrup reaches 242 degrees F, off heat, and carefully pour the hot syrup into the egg whites. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. Add the jar of marshmallow cream and mix on medium speed until incorporated.
6.) It is best to use the marshmallowy frosting right away.
Chocolate Malt Buttercream Frosting
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 c. (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 c. malted milk powder
1 T. unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/4 boiling water
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
3/4 t. pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1.) Melt the chocolate and half the brown sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat. Alternatively, melt the chocolate and sugar in a microwave on high at 30 second intervals until melted (not burned). Stir between each interval.
2.) Whisk the malt powder and cocoa together in a small bowl, pour over 3 tablespoons of the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Whisking the melted chocolate gently, gradually pour in the hot malt-cocoa mixture and stir to blend. It should be dark, smooth and glossy; set aside.
3.) With a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat until well blended, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
4.) Beat in the salt and vanilla extract, then reduce the mixer speed to low. Scrape in the chocolate mixer and mix until smooth. Still working on low speed, gradually add in the powdered sugar.
5.) When all the powdered sugar is added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for a couple of minutes. Then reduce the mixer to low and add the remaining tablespoon of boiling water. When incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat the frosting a bit more.
6.) It’s best to use the chocolate-malt buttercream right away.
P.S. I couldn’t resist…I linked this post on Tidy Mom’s Lovin’ It Friday. Join the party at Tidy Mom’s!