Sunday, March 8, 2009


Did you know that you can record your own cell phone ringer..? Nope, neither did I. I've had the same ring tone for quite some time. Of course, when you recognize your ring tone, you respond by answering, But when you hear something that is obviously not your ring tone, you don't. Such as when a muffled noise comes from slightly behind you, and you think, oh my God, who would do that in public?!! That's when you realize your 12 year old son is in the next aisle, laughing hysterically, calling your cell phone, which is ringing in your purse, after he recorded a fart and made that your default ring tone!! God, I love that kid...

That was the start of our weekend. But it ended on more of a flavorful, and more mature note, with the cake you see above. It was a birthday request from my oldest, who turns 24 tomorrow. ~*sigh*~ Because she has youth on her side, and a size 3 to boast of, I was happy to indulge her request by using every last bit of butter I had. I was good though, and only had a sliver.

With inspiration from Bakerella, my daughter decided that this was the cake to commemorate the occasion. While the recipe she used called for round aluminum pans, we could only find square, which in the end provided a more elegant presentation, in my opinion.

The cake, despite its large quantity of sugar, did not taste very sweet. Which was fine since the icing more than made up for that. While the recipe may seem lengthy, it comes together fast- the most time consuming part was preparing the pans, as I buttered, floured, and used parchment paper to line the bottom. I also used Bakerella's Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting rather than the frosting included with the below recipe, as I wanted something a bit richer. After making the buttercream, I warmed it in the microwave until it was of pouring consistency, to get the effect I desired. You know though, when a cake comes out like this, and it makes your first born smile, it doesn't seem to matter how long it takes.

The Smith Family 12 layer Cake (made with 14 layers)

* 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter , at room temperature
* 2 1/2 cups sugar
* 6 large eggs , at room temperature
* 3 cups milk
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* 3 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder , preferably Dutch process
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut up
* 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* Pecan halves, for garnish

Recommended technique: If you buy inexpensive aluminum foil cake pans at the grocery store (they can be saved for another time as well), you will be able to knock out layers in no time. And no washing between baking!

Position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375°. Lightly butter four 8 1/2- to 9-inch cake pans (you will bake the cakes in three batches) and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Flour the pans and tap out the excess.

To make the layers, sift together the sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the mixture one more time, and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle blade on high speed until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and be sure the mixture is well-blended. On low speed, add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the milk, beginning and ending with the flour, and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula. Beat in the vanilla. Using a scant cup for each layer, spread the batter evenly in the pans. It will make a thin layer.

Staggering the pans on the racks so they are at least 2 inches from each other and the sides of the oven and not directly over each other, bake the layers until they feel firm when pressed in the centers and are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans, about 12 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Invert the layers onto cake racks, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely. Wash and prepare the pans. Repeat the procedure until all 12 layers have been baked and cooled.

To make the icing, bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and evaporated milk to a full boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the icing has thickened slightly (it will resemble chocolate syrup but will thicken as it cools), about 3 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Let the icing cool until thick enough to spread, but still pourable.

Place a layer of cake on a wire rack set over a jelly-roll pan. Spread with a few tablespoons of the icing, letting the excess run down the sides. Stack the remaining cakes, icing each layer. Pour the remaining icing over the top of the cake. If you wish, smooth the icing on the edges to cover the sides. Place pecan halves around the top perimeter of the cake. Let stand until the glaze sets. (The cake is best served the day it is made. To store, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Bakerella's Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
1 box (1 lb) confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-3 Tbsp milk

Cream the butter and cream cheese with a mixer. Add the cocoa and vanilla. Add the confectioner's sugar in small batches and blend on low until combined. Scrape down sides with each addition. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until you get the consistency you desire.

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Sara said...

I saw that cake on her site, your version looks so pretty! Happy brithday to your daughter!

Celeste said...

YUMMMMM! That is one gorgeous and delicious looking cake!

Peter M said...

Whoa, that cross-section photo of the layered stack...that's the money shot!

Liz said...

That cake is fantastic! And I'm laughing at your son... that is SO something my sisters would have done to me back in the day. Wait a minute. What am I saying? They would do that NOW!

Kara said...

OMG, I want to eat that RIGHT NOW!

Heather said...

My god, that looks like a lot of work! I'll just admire it from a distance, thanyouverymuch. :)

PheMom said...

That cake is just awesome! Thanks so much for your advice about the TV spot yesterday! It really helped. Besides, we are friends!

Stacey Snacks said...

This cake is GORGEOUS!
What a job! all those pans!
but worth it!
You are hired as my pastry chef!

Tanya said...

What a gorgeous, delicious, super fantastic cake!

Donna said...

I have been eyeballing this cake for a while. You make it seem so easy!! It looks gorgeous! I have got to try it. The square makes an awesome presentation!

Snooky doodle said...

impressive :)