Saturday, January 23, 2010


I never really think about New Year's Resolutions until about a week before every new year. I set goals for myself all the time, and when they're fulfilled I create new ones, yada yada yada. I'm in continual amazement each year at the people who say that their New Year's Resolution is to "get into shape." I actually think it's utterly hilarious and here's why: I normally lose weight during the Christmas whirlwind of parties filled with delicious yummies because it's always so busy. However, I get hit with the Post-Christmas Funk about 2 weeks after the New Year and want to eat everything in sight; also during this time, I could hover over a mixer or stove top in the kitchen all day long and never even care about the time spent doing so. With all that being said, I have set some lighthearted goals for myself (that don't include a gym membership), which I intend to take quite seriously, that will be merely the commencement of goals set and satisfied in 2010. One such aspiration is to make the perfect chocolate cake.

My friend Java Lady hosts a dinner party about once a week, and since I love to make dessert, I have gotten into the habit of providing the last course of the meal....unless I'm feeling super lazy and make Java Lady do all the work...Anyways, I've already warned the dinner party crew that they should be prepared to consume copious amounts of chocolate cake this year because they're my guinea pigs for R.'s 2010 Chocolate Cakery Shenanigans.

When I was in Boulder for the summer of 2008, I used to pop into a little hole in the wall restaurant called The Burnt Toast and buy a piece of their chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting and a Clementine Izze. If you haven't had one of these, get one; Clementine Izzes are what killed Elvis (Not really, but that's what my dad always says when something's outrageously, mind-blowingly delicious.)! The chocolate cake at The Burnt Toast was awesome, and I'd like to re-create it as well as be known for making the perfect chocolate cake. I don't think it's too much to ask for (maybe I should ask for some larger pants with all this upcoming cakery).

With that being said, January 19, 2010 was the beginning. I got 5 cookbooks for Christmas, so I thumbed through them for a recipe with which to commence, and I ended up using a Martha Stewart recipe. While it was a really good recipe, it's not quite what I was looking for. The cake was a little dense; I'm looking for something lighter and fluffier. I did learn a few things, though.

First, why haven't I been heeding recipes that tell me to use parchment paper as pan liners? The two chocolate cakes came off so clean that I didn't even have to wash the cake pans! That was a joke, but seriously, I'm going to start using parchment paper on a regular basis when I bake.

This was by far the most interesting buttercream frosting that I've ever made. It's made with egg whites (I had no idea one could even do that). You have to whisk the sugar, egg whites and a pinch of salt constantly until the mixture reachs 160 F, then you have to mix the concoction in the mixer until stiff peaks form and the mixture is cool (about 10 minutes). Then you add about a pound or more of butter as well as semi-sweet chocolate and voila, you have some just right, not too rich, very light and fluffy chocolate buttercream icing to go on the rich chocolate cake.

And then I slathered the whole cake with the buttercream goodness.

Then, the attendees of Java Lady's latest dinner party, D. and H. and I, all ate cake (after indulging in grilled flank steak medallions, cheesy-sour cream smashed potatoes and green bean casserole). My overall synopsis of this cake is this: It was a little dense in texture, a little too rich, a smidgen dry, and just overall not exactly what I'm looking for in the perfect chocolate cake. The frosting was paired perfectly with the cake, though; and it was a decent cake overall, but I don't know that I'll be making Martha's "Basic Chocolate Cake" again any time soon. One down!


Dustan and Betsy said...

Hey - I love the way the icing looks. Is it 2 different kinds? B/c the bottom one looks more chocolately. Are you taking recipes? I have one I've never made but always had. It's called Natalie's Chocolate Cafe Au Lait Cake.

R. said...

The frosting was actually a little lighter than the second picture. The first one was taken with my lovely fluorescent kitchen light glaring on it. I would love to try out Natalie's Chocolate Cafe Au Lait Cake! All suggestions are welcome!