Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Cakes of Summer: Part 1

I think there were two themes to the summer, in terms of cakes: chocolate and blueberries.

Is there any surprise here?

Chocolate: need I say more?

Blueberries: it’s Maine, after all.

Let’s start at the beginning, with the chocolate.

There’s an annual extended family 4th of July party, and my cousin Jean Louise has a traditional chocolate cake that she always brings. But, I knew she would be absent this year, so I decided to go out on a limb and bring a different chocolate cake (in the end, turned out JL’s mom brought the cake anyway, but, I suppose you could argue that two chocolate cakes is better than one).

I wanted to make the same chocolate cake I had made for Alden’s birthday. Apparently I never wrote a post about it here, so, here;’s the short version. I made it twice, one for the family, with slightly disastrous results, both in terms of the cake and the frosting. The cake batter was way too much for the recommended pans, and we had some slight containment issues. Meanwhile, I experimented with a chocolate ganache type frosting, part whipped and part not (cannot now remember why I did this), and again, containment issues were a bit of a problem.

But, I thought the cake itself was so very yummy, and I wanted to give it another shot. So, for Alden’s birthday celebration with friends, I did it again. Bigger cake pans and the traditional cream cheese frosting. Total success.

When I decided I’d bring a chocolate cake to the 4th, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Alas, the Martha Stewart cookbook I had used was home, and we were in Hancock Point. After a fair amount of web searching, I was able to find what I thought was the recipe. Bravely, I tried it. (remember also, this is going on in the library kitchen, where the previous summer I pretty much shied away from baking, because the conditions are so primitive. Not this year).

The cake was a success, and made an almost immediate second appearance, for supper at the big house with the Edinburgh Thompsons.
And then, and I’m going to have to make a looooooonnnnggg story short here, there were the wedding cupcakes. Matt and Nika were getting married in August, and over time, and much agonizing and discussion (on everyone’s parts), it became apparent that getting their hands on a proper wedding cake was going to be a challenge. Enter Clarissa. I offered to make wedding cupcakes, knowing that I had a solid recipe to work with (and also knowing that there was no way I was going to try to transport a cake 11 hours, from HP to 31 Mile Lake, crossing the U.S./Canadian border along the way. Cupcakes somehow seemed more manageable, on many fronts…)

And so I made the recipe another three or four times, in order to turn out the number of cupcakes we determined we’d need to feed the wedding crows (which, luckily, was not all that big a crowd…).

I don’t think I’ve made this cake since then. But, if I needed a chocolate cake, this would be the one, it’s that good. My point being, it’s replaced the old favorite chocolate cake recipe…


Magpie Ima said...

Wedding cupcakes? What a brilliant idea!

Here's something sad--Simon had a bunch of school pals over for his birthday last July and naturally I made a chocolate layer cake. Two of these sweet teenage boys informed me that not only was it the best cake they'd ever had it was their first homemade cake ever! Can you believe it? So sad.

Anyway, it's always lovely to see an update on your cake blog. I hope everyone is thriving!

Daniel Bacon said...

Are you still blogging? I've only now just found you :)

-a former student