Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sweet 16 Cake


Right before the new year, my brother turned 16.  He wanted a parade and gangster rappers, and a masquerade ball with some llamas. He settled for 6 hours of basketball, Litza's pizza, and a homemade birthday cake.

When planning his cake, he wanted an extravagant 4 layers of chocolate and cherry chip cake with as decadent of icing as I could manage.  Once the big day came, and the basketball games got moved up 3 hours, I had to hurry.  We settled on two layers - cherry cake with cherry icing on the inside and chocolate icing with a chocolate ganache to finish it off.

Oh, it rich.  I think it gave everyone who partook a bit of a tummy ache -but it was worth it.

The interior icing was cherry butter cream.
The exterior icing was milk chocolate.  It was a basic chocolate butter cream but right at the end, you add 3/4 cup of melted milk chocolate chips to the mix.  I made extra and enjoyed it with salty pretzels the next day.
On top of that, was a bittersweet chocolate ganache.  Ganache is so simple, it's a shame people don't make it more often.

Milk Chocolate Icing:
2 sticks butter - very soft
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
mix the butter and cocoa together
alternate between adding a bit of milk (2 tablespoons) and 4 cups powdered sugar.
add 3/4 cups melted (still warm but not hot) chocolate chips.

Chocolate Ganache:
There are a lot of ways to do it, but I've always learned that you do equal parts cream and chocolate and that you shouldn't use milk chocolate.  Not sure why - but I'm sure it's because the cocoa content isn't as significant in milk as in bittersweet.

8 oz heavy cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate

heat the heavy cream on your stove top.  You know it's ready when the edges start to bubble and there is a visible film on the top.  Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate.  Let the mixture sit a couple of minutes and then break out a whisk and mix the chocolate and cream together.  Then let it sit.  The longer it sits, the thicker it will get.  If you refrigerate the ganache for about 8 hours you can then make truffles.  If you leave it for 10-20 then it's perfect to pour over the top of a cake.

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