Saturday, November 19, 2011

Triple Chocolate Birthday Cake

My maternal grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday in October and this is the cake I made for her. It is a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and dark chocolate frosting.  Grandma requested something chocolatey, and this cake definitely hit the chocolate nail on the head. Whenever we visited my grandparents when I was growing up there were always fabulous homemade desserts waiting to be eaten. My interests in baking were definitely influenced by these visits, as Grandma is a fabulous baker and cook. She still bakes and cooks, but I insisted that she did not bake her own birthday cake this year. I was happy to bake for her, and the end result was declared a huge success. This is truly a decadent cake that any chocolate lover will enjoy. 


1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup cold water
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1 cup butter, softened
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup Hershey's Special Dark baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

1. For the mousse - in large mixing bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk, and melted chocolate until well blended. Gradually beat in water and pudding mix until smooth. Chill at least 30 minutes. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Chill at least 1 hour.

2. For the cake - preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 9-inch pans with parchment paper and spray pans with cooking spray. Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 22-25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove cakes from pans to wire racks. Cool cakes completely.

3. For the frosting - in a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency. 

4. To assemble, place one cake round on a cake board or serving platter. Top with about 1 1/2 cups of the mousse. Add the second cake layer and top with about 1 1/2 cups of the mousse. Place the third cake layer on top. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the dark chocolate frosting. Store cake in the refrigerator.

This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday and Sweet Tooth Friday.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chocolate Irish Cream Whoopie Pies

I made these little beauties a few weeks ago to take along to a wine party and they were fantastic!  I brought a bottle of wine, but some boozy treats seemed like a nice addition to the appetizer spread.  I really wanted to make cupcakes with this frosting, but the whoopie pies are so much easier to eat when standing around and holding a glass in one hand.  I made mine quite small, but you can make the cakes any size you wish - just watch the cooking time.  If you don't want the alcohol in the frosting, you could probably try substituting some Irish cream liquid coffee creamer to get a similar flavor.

Adapted from Whoopie Pies, By Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

3 cups powdered sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
4 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
2 tablespoons milk or cream

1. For the cakes, position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening, and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.

3. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk and beat until completely combined.

4. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

5. For the filling, in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the powdered sugar, butter, and liqueur.  Add milk or cream until desired consistency is achieved.  Beat until fluffy.

6. To assemble, spread or pipe filling onto flat side of one cake and top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.

This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday.