As promised, here is birthday cake number two; it’s my traditional black forest cake done up a little differently. I wanted a black forest cake but I didn’t want to make it as big as usual as there is still cheesecake leftover. To solve this problem, I took a recipe for a 9 inch round cake, baked it in a 9 inch square pan and then sliced the finished cake into 4 equal pieces which I layered to form 2 mini square cakes. I originally wanted to make a super tall 4 layer cake, but then common sense won me over and I realized that a cake that tall would fall over pretty much as soon as it was put together. I made a quick white and dark cherry jam, (with frozen cherries from my Grandparents’ orchard) to spread between the cake layers and covered both cakes with lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Like it is every year on my birthday, it was cold and rainy yesterday, (at least it wasn’t sleet, hail or snow as those are all options for November 5th as well). It doesn’t matter where I am, the weather is guaranteed to be miserable on my birthday. Yesterday was no exception. I’ve come to accept this. I don’t accept it happily, but I accept it. Perhaps this is part of the reason why I’m not a big fan of my own birthday. I like presents and cake and big dinners, but you get all that at Christmas too with a lot less expectations. I find that a lot of people overhype their birthdays and are subsequently disappointed. They build it up to be a big day and if everything doesn’t work out, they become upset. It seems to be a particularly touchy subject if someone doesn’t show up to their birthday, or worse, forgets it altogether. If someone forgets my birthday and remembers three months later and wishes me a happy day, I’m ok with that, I tell them I’ve got another one coming up next year too. No big deal.
None of this is to say that I don’t appreciate the effort that anyone else puts out in order to make another person’s birthday special. I appreciate it to no end. So to all those who brightened my day on my birthday, thank you. And to all those who are only just now realizing that my birthday is passed, don’t worry, I still like you and you’re both invited over for what’s left of the cake. If it’s all gone by the time you get here, I’ll make a new one!
Chocolate Cake (From Gourmet, April 1999)
3 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
Preheat oven to 300°F. Generously butter a 9-inch round cake pan (at least 2 inches deep) and line bottom with wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pan with flour, knocking out excess.
Finely chop chocolate. In a small saucepan combine cocoa powder, butter, oil, and water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until smooth, and remove pan from heat. Add chocolate and sugar, whisking until smooth, and transfer to a bowl. Cool chocolate mixture completely and whisk in egg. Sift flour and baking powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Whisk in buttermilk and pour batter into cake pan, spreading evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of pan and invert cake onto rack. Discard paper. Cool cake completely and transfer to a plate.