Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Annual Cake...

I'm not sure if I posted it last year, but I started a tradition last year (our first year married) to make Tim a fun homemade cake each year for his birthday. His birthday is in December so it can sometimes get lost in the holiday shuffle, but the last few years we have made it extra fun :) by going away for the weekend and having a family party with a super-cool cake.

It took me forever to figure out what I was going to make this year. I knew I wanted a layer cake and I wanted it to taste really good, but I also wanted something different from the standard buttercream frosting and cute decorations. So, first I went square. Then, instead of vanilla or chocolate, I did both. And finally, for the frosting, instead of buttercream, I went mascarpone. Oh yeah. You know that sounds good. And it was.

Here are the details:
  1. Cake layers - I decided on a 3-layer cake, with 2 vanilla layers and 1 chocolate layer. I used this recipe for Golden Vanilla Cake from King Arthur which was so easy and really light and wonderful. For the chocolate layer, I went with the blog-popular Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe. It was good, but definitely not as good as the vanilla cake.

  2. Frosting - so, originally, my idea was to make a tiramisu layer cake with a mascarpone cream on the inside and a light buttercream on the outside. I did make both frostings and fortunately for me, the buttercream recipe didn't make nearly enough and I didn't have time to make more so I went with a changed up version of the filling for the outside layer of frosting and it was so good! Recipe below.

  3. Decorations: I went super simple on this as the square design of the cake made it look pretty nice to begin with. I added some cocoa powder to the top to give a tiramisu-type feel. I also added some bittersweet mini-chocolate chips to the top and the layers on the inside.

Mascarpone Cream Filling/Frosting Recipe (adapted from Smitten Kitchen, recipe from Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours)

1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Few tablespoons of strong coffee
Whipped topping or whipped cream, about 1 cup or more

It could not be easier to make. Put the mascarpone into a medium bowl and whip with a whisk until creamy. Add sugar and mix until uniform. Add vanilla and coffee. When all is combined, fold in the whipped cream or whipped topping until you have the consistency and taste that you like. Use as filling or as frosting. If you are using it for filling, you might leave it a bit thicker and thin it out with whipped cream for frosting. The frosting should be refrigerated so its good to frost the cake and then chill the entire cake until serving.

I piped the same frosting onto mini-cupcakes for Christmas eve and regular cupcakes for a holiday party this past weekend. Super easy and a nice twist on regular cupcake/cake frosting.


ps. I do have a few holiday things left to post, as I got a bit behind this year and maybe (just maybe) made my to-do list longer than anyone could ever complete. oops.


Joelen said...

What a great tradition you started and I'm sure your husband loves it too! :) That filling sounds divine... I'm used to seeing marscapone used in savory dishes and not so much in sweet (aside from tiramisu). What a great flavor and I love your idea to combine a vanilla and chocolate cake so elegantly!

Bridget said...

The cocoa and chocolate chips is such a elegant but simple decoration. I love it.

Also (sorry to pimp my blog out), check out this post for a comparison of my favorite chocolate cake to the Hershey's one.

elly said...

Mmm mascarpone is the best! This cake looks delicious. Happy birthday to your DH and a happy new year to both of you!

Colleen said...

What a wonderful tradition - this one looks delicious!

Jade said...

Thanks guys - it is really fun to try and come up with a "new" cake each year. I've used this frosting several times since then and its a total hit!! And so easy - plus TJ's has mascarpone cheese for $2.99 which is a steal around here....