Monday, August 10, 2015

Surprise Inside Cake!

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Thankfully no one tries to load it with 51 candles!

Surprise inside!!!

Making wishes!

Happy Birthday to me!  So there has to be cake, right?  I had offers of cakes from the store, the bakery, even Mr. Preppy offered to bake one, but I had a plan.  As you may know, I share my birthday with my daughter, so there is often a cake war.  I blogged about the challenge  joys of sharing my special day a few years ago here,  and honestly it is awesome, and we both enjoy the special day.  But back to our cake.  She wants chocolate, I want angel food.  She wants chocolate, I want anything but.  However,  I have seen no less than a zillion pictures on Pinterest of cakes with little surprises in the middle, and really wanted to make one. Most I saw were white cake, and I thought the color surprise in a chocolate cake would be stunning, so I relented.  I did a little research, and found Beki and her blog on her many attempts to perfect this.  This was the plan.  Polka dots inside of a chocolate cake. I followed her instructions, and strongly suggest you do the same.  Here's how it went.

Homemade vanilla cupcakes, sifting is a must!

First step was simple white mini cupcakes dyed various colors.  I used this delicious and simple recipe designed to make 12 cupcakes or makes 24 generous minis.  My suggestion is that you use Americolor Gel Food Colors.  The colors are bold and bright, especially the electrics, which is what we chose in orange, pink, blue and green.

One Dozen Vanilla Cupcakes

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl with hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, and mix just until blended.  In another bowl, sift dry ingredients,  and in a small cup mix milk and vanilla.  Add to egg mixture in 2 increments, alternating dry and wet into the butter.  Beat the batter just until it is smooth.  Do not over mix.

Divide batter into 4 bowls, and add your gel color as desired.  Mix well.  Spray a 24 well mini muffin pan and add your batter to fill 3/4 of the way up.

Bake at 350ยบ for about 8-11 minutes.  Use a toothpick and remove as soon as the center is set.  Do not overbake!!  They will be baked again!  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then pop out onto rack to cool completely.

Americolor gel brights


A rainbow of cupcakes!

When you bake the cupcakes, don't use paper liners, and I filled them pretty full.  When they bake, it forms a bit of a crust on the edges, I simply used a round cookie cutter to slip that off and create a truer circle.

The messy part, but you want no crunchy parts!  It almost makes them ball-like.

Arrange them on their side, then pour in the batter.

I totally cheated on the chocolate cake and bought a Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Chocolate cake mix.  (It's 4th of July weekend, we are busy!!!)  I used to sell this stuff, and I know if you are using a mix, this is the only one.  I figured (wrongly) that the polka dots would displace enough batter that we would have plenty to fill the pans.  Not the case.  So in a desperate moment we ran to Walgreens and bought a chocolate cake mix, NOT Duncan Hines and it was flavorless and bland.  But we had no choice.  So we quick mixed it up and poured it in and around the yummy Duncan Hines and, damn.  Too much batter.


We baked anyway, and what a mess we made of my oven! However, when you read Beki's blog, she really felt that 2 layers was too small.  Since my layers were enormous, they were actually quite perfect and made a nice tall cake.  I think there is plenty of batter in 2 mixes to make 3 layers, but I am not sure how many more mini cupcakes I would need or if I could just move some around.  So my personal suggestion is 2 boxes of Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Chocolate and bake it in 2 layers.  after the allotted time the toothpick will still be a little gooey, so I turn the heat down about 30 degrees and let it bake a little slower.  I am making another in September, and think I will try the 3 layers.  I will keep the same recipe for the minis, but maybe make them a little smaller so I can make more.  I will update when it all goes down.  Take a good look at how the minis are put into the pan before the batter.  You want to have that large circle when you slice into the finished cake.

Cake and Ice Cream...

Every slice looks different!

But wait, no cake is complete without frosting.  So we slathered my favorite chocolate buttercream on and called it a day.  This frosting gets positively fudge like when it is chilled.  So decadent!

Chocolate Buttercream

5 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 cups confectioners sugar
2 sticks butter, unsalted and at room temp
6 T. milk plus more if needed
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
Put the chocolate in the top of double boiler and melt. Then cool to room temp. In the bowl of electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar, vanilla and milk on low speed. Increase speed. Add more milk if it seems dry. Take about 1 cup frosting and set aside. Add melted chocolate to the rest and mix well. 

Make your list and get on it!  This cake is a showstopper and everyone will ooh and aah over it.  Don't let on how simple it really is!  What are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake a cake!  Surprise!