We have cookie dough in our freezer, but I wanted something different for dessert. When Dan tasked me with using one of my new kitchen implements (we visited a Sur la Table and came home with souvenirs), I immediately selected the offset spatula and got to work on chocolate cake.
First step: find a recipe. We tend to not keep baking chocolate in the house, so I was looking for a recipe that used cocoa powder. I chose Martha Stewart's ultimate chocolate cake recipe.
For the frosting, I wanted a true buttercream. Buttercream frosting was half of the reason I wanted a KitchenAid--it's just not the same when whipped by hand. I used this recipe from Savory Sweet Life, most because it calls for butter and it's near the top on google. It barely makes enough for one 9-inch layer cake, and next time I would increase the recipe for decorations (and eating!).
After reading a few handy tips on cake decorating, it went better than my previous attempt. Here are the basics:
1. After the cake comes out of the oven, let it cool on the counter and then refrigerate it (or freeze it) before trying to frost.
2. Use a long, sharp bread knife to trim the layers to flat. If the center sunk down, you can use extra frosting to fill the gap instead.
3. Little snippets of parchment paper can help keep your serving plate clean as you decorate.
4. Once the layers are stacked, decorate with a crumb coat of frosting--a super thin layer meant to hold all the crumbs in place. Then refrigerate to help set the frosting.
5. To smooth the second layer out, using an offset spatula dipped into super hot water--it will melt the icing just a bit so it dries glossy and smooth. This looks best if you're going to be decorating the edges/sides with piped frosting--hence wanting to increase the frosting recipe.
For my next cake, I'm hoping to make 3 or 4 layers, and decorate more thoroughly.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.
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