Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Birthday Jesus

Not that we think Jesus turned five this year...rather, "5" is short for "Christmas 2005". Actually, that's the only number candle we had. We went with it after we considered sticking regular candles in the cake and realized we didn't have 2005 of them.

This is the chocolate-peppermint layer cake I made twice while at my parents' house. Can't speak for anyone else but I'm sure my consumption of it had a strong connection to the five or so pounds I gained while we were there. I might add it was pretty much worth it. This is a delicious cake, if you don't mind me saying so myself. Recipe follows!

Chocolate-Peppermint Layer Cake adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1/2 cup cocoa , natural
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons peppermint extract or 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil
1 cup whole milk plus 2 tablespoons, room temperature
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs , at room temperature

1. For the cake -- Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round baking pans with lots of cooking spray.

2. Whisk the cocoa, instant coffee, flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. Add peppermint to the milk and set aside.

3. Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer set at medium-high speed until smooth and shiny, about 30 seconds. Gradually sprinkle in sugar; beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 full minute after each addition.

4. With mixer on lowest speed, add about 1/3 of dry ingredients to batter, followed immediately by the milk/vanilla mixture; mix until ingredients are almost incorporated into batter. Repeat process twice more. When batter appears blended, stop mixer and scrape bowl sides with rubber spatula. Return mixer to low speed; beat until batter looks satiny, about 15 seconds longer.

5. Divide batter evenly between pans. With rubber spatula, run batter to pan sides and smooth top. Bake cakes until they feel firm in center when lightly presesd anad skewer comes out clean or with just a crumb or two adhering, 23 to 30 minutes. Tranfer pans to wire racks; cool for 20 minutes. Run knife around perimeter of each pan, invert cakes onto racks. Reinvert cakes onto additional racks; cool completely before frosting.

For frosting, I used my favorite buttercream recipe, which is not for the exact and goes something like this: put 1/2 stick of softened butter in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add some milk or half and half and a bit of peppermint extract or oil. Dump in powdered sugar and mix again. Add more powdered sugar or more milk until desired consistency is reached. Frost the first layer of cake out to the edges but not down the sides. Sprinkle with crushed peppermints or candy canes. Set on the next layer and repeat; again, don't frost the sides of the cake, just let a bit of frosting drip here and there if you are feeling artistic.

1 comment:

Mom said...

How fun to have witnessed Koji blow out the candle on the wonderful chocolate/peppermint birthday cake for Jesus. Next year we could plan ahead for 2006 in candles! I, too, vouch for the cake and can't admit how many pounds I gained. . .have been afraid to check!