Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Been A While

I haven't been on my blog in a few months, ever since my new addition. Having a toddler and a baby makes it tough to get more than a few moments alone. I thought I should start up again by sharing something totally birthday cake.

It all started with a vision. Growing up, my mom started making me a birthday cake, chocolate with french vanilla or cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries. I got it every year, and started making it for my own birthday when I moved out. But lately, cake has seemed...boring. It's always dry, the frosting is too sugary, there isn't any filling, or the filling isn't any good, or the frosting is good, but the cake isn't, whatever. Cake was never perfect.

I saw a recipe for red velvet crepes a few days ago, with Nutella filling. I thought that sounded amazing, and considered making it for my birthday. Then I remembered the cake I loved growing up. I thought about the individual merits of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Cake, frosting, and filling.

And then my vision came.

I have never been good at making multi layer round cakes. One layer always ends up sliding off the other, and I can never get the frosting to cover the whole cake, it usually ends up sort of melting off. I tried some new ideas and got everything to come together exactly as I pictured.

I bought a boxed vanilla cake mix, cocoa powder, Nutella, strawberry flavoring, strawberries, and strawberry glaze. I had red food coloring on hand already. I also had 3 disposable 9" round cake pans. Here's how you make it:

Mix the cake according to directions, and divide 3 equal portions into separate bowls.

Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to one, 2 Tsp strawberry flavoring and some red food dye to the other, and leave one plain.

Pour each batter into its own greased and floured pan, and bake according to directed temp, but cutting the time down, since the cake will be thinner (it took mine about 20 mins instead of 30). You will have to bake two layers at once, and do the third after.

Let the cakes cool, put a plate over your cake pan, and flip to release the cake. If your layers are really high in the middle, saw a little off the top with a knife to even them out.

Put your chocolate layer on a serving platter, and cover with Nutella (I microwaved the Nutella for a few seconds which helped it spread). Put the vanilla layer on top of that and cover with cream cheese frosting. Put the strawberry layer on top, cover with strawberry glaze, and sprinkle with fresh strawberry chunks.

That's it! It was sooooo easy. I did everything up until glazing the top, and put the cake in the fridge overnight. It helped to keep the layers from sliding all over when I sliced it. It also helps to wipe off your knife after each slice, so you get a nice clean cut every time.

I love the Neopolitan ice cream look it had, and I thought it looked more classy without frosting on the outside. Plus, it was easier. I think this is going to be my birthday cake for the rest of my life.