I love birthdays. Not just my own. I just love birthdays, and you can probably guess why (hinthint: it can’t be presents because I love all birthdays)…It’s the cake!
Cake has always been a fixture in the birthday celebration in my family. Shoot, cake is sometimes a fixture in our house. But cake tends to make the birthday brighter and fuller.
When I was young, I was the cake lady. I would make cakes from scratch for birthdays, until it became a request for other occasions. I loved it too. Baking is definitely anxiety inducing for me, but at the same time cathartic and rewarding.
Another birthday came up earlier this month. The idea of getting a store cake was thrown around, but, on a whim, I suggested “What if I made a cake?” Quick discussion led to flavors and ingredients. It was on. I was going to make a birthday cake!
A Chocolate on Chocolate cake…
I used this recipe from allrecipes.com, though it was also on the can of my Hershey's Cocoa (after scavenging the internet, and trolling the cookbooks).
This was my first chocolate cake. Sure, I have made Red Velvet, but it is just not the same. It is not a full chocolate cake, so of course I was mildly intimidated, and exhibited all the signs of my baking anxiety.
I called it “chocolate disaster cake,” because I ran into all kinds of problems; the batter seemed so thin (even though the reviews for the recipe warned that, I was not ready for the soupy liquidy consistency that it was going to be), cooking the cake (it would just not cook all the way through, each time I put in a tooth pick it was raw in the middle), getting the cakes out of the pan (the cake just did not want to come out, which resulted in a pretty fragmented base), and frosting the crummy layers.
I deffo used half as much cocoa than recommended in the frosting, because every time I tasted it, I twinged (I am not the biggest chocolate fan out there). Too much chocolate would ruin it for me (even though this was not my birthday cake), and I planned to be a major participator (as usual) in the cake eating.
I think the ratios of chocolate and even cake to frosting turned out well. It even looked pretty considering the condition it was in leaving the pan.
But in the end it turned out great, as most simple recipes do. I even made it a four layer cake, splitting the cakes from the two pans (whoa, I know, ambitious for the humble baker I am).
I know I need not be intimidated by recipes or nervous about the outcome, because they are just learning experiences. And if you don’t succeed, try try again. And practice makes perfect. And Rome wasn’t built in a day… you know. The lesson is, it’s fun and exhilarating to try new recipes and do not be afraid, it will turn out great (it's the thought that counts).