Okay, technically his birthday was on Friday, but I got up at 5:30 on Thursday and drove three kids home from Idaho, and there was a house to clean and unpacking to be done, so he didn’t get his cake until today. (We had dinner at Texas Roadhouse on his birthday, and he did get to open his gifts afterwards. Just the cake was delayed. Oh, and bringing brownies into his work. That’s on the list for this week.) He was very good about it, though, and diligently looked through my ‘Cakes and Frostings’ board on Pinterest to find a cake that appealed to him. Of the two choices he emailed to me, I had the ingredients for this Chocolate Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Filling and Chocolate Buttercream, and so last night, once the kiddos were in bed, I went at it.
I should probably add, at this point, that I only make layer cakes for occasional birthdays. I’m all for cake, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a lazy perfectionist, and if it’s something that takes a bit of both work and practice, I tend to gravitate elsewhere. I’m fine with one layer and frosting on my cake, or poke cakes, or any other cake recipe that is either easy or, if complicated, possible to do well the first or second time. That said, I’m also a food person–in a BIG way–and I can’t resist pinning any recipe that looks like it might be good. (Those of you who follow me on Pinterest know that this is NOT an exaggeration.) And birthdays are the perfect time to try those recipes that I couldn’t resist pinning but don’t usually want to deal with making, right?
Right. Only I should have started this one earlier. The actual cake recipe was simple, but once the three layers cooled completely, they needed to be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. I caught the overnight part, but I didn’t think hard enough about how late I would have to stay up waiting for the layers to completely cool…if, you know, I started after the kids were in bed and I vegged online for a few minutes. And then I had to battle with the plastic wrap, which just wanted to static-cling to my arm and wrinkle instead of doing its job.
And then the next day, there was the frosting. Part of the loveliness of the cake was that there was the cream cheese frosting between the layers as WELL as the chocolate buttercream on the outside, but the two frostings had to be made separately, and you had to add the powdered sugar SLOWLY so that it didn’t just fill the air as soon as the mixer hit it. (I have to say, frosting it was a little stressful as well, but that’s only because I don’t like not being good at things, and my sister-in-law who has made a wedding cake or two was going to see this one. Not that she cares–she’s laid back and fun and not at all judgmental–but I couldn’t help being self-conscious. I might have died if my cousin Elly had seen it. Not that SHE’S not also nice and probably wouldn’t think anything of it, but go to Elly’s Delicious Cakes and you’ll know why. She’s insanely talented.)
Anyway. What I’m trying to say about this recipe is that it’s not a terribly difficult layer cake, but it’s still a layer cake. They’re just plain more time-consuming than your basic cake-in-a-9-by-13-pan. And it was tasty, don’t get me wrong, but the richness was all in the frosting. The cake part was just a basic chocolate cake. This is fine if you’re a frosting sort of person, but I tend to be more of a nice-rich-pound-ish-cake type person. It depends on your preference. If you’re a not-so-lazy-as-I-am frosting lover, then this, my friend, is the cake for you.