Sometimes towards the end of the year, I feel like there's a mad rush of garbage that comes out of nowhere to stress me out. Summer and I have both been kinda mopey, and when I sat in her kitchen the other day, watching my toddler spazz out over some trivial nonsense (I believe he was furious at Summer's son for repeating the phrase, "To infinity, and beyond!" For some reason, it just makes him LIVID. Uh, get over it, kid.) she asked me what she should bake that we could just chow down immediately. "Chocolate cake, duh."
Things started out innocently enough, but between flipping absentmindedly through cookbooks and rowdy kids, the cake got left in the oven a few minutes too long and it was a smidge on the dry side. Boo hoo. Instead of getting discouraged, I decided to go crazy on the cake, and I cut the single layer into rounds for mini layer cakes. My initial idea was a grandiose notion- a Dr. Suess-like, 6-layer cake. Uh... unsurprisingly, we were unable to frost it.
Still, we endured, breaking the 6-layer cake in half and turning it into two more reasonable-looking miniature triple layer cakes. At that point we abandoned any notions of vanity and allowed the kids to help us decorate the cakes.
Anyway, the craving was satisfied, and of course, miniature cakes have my heart for all time.
Chocolate cake with frosting:
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
2 generous teaspoons honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 1/2-inch
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then add the
chocolate and cocoa, and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Whisk
the egg whites in a bowl until they are creamy and stiff. In another
bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are foamy, then beat in the
sugar. Add the chocolate mixture, a bit at a time initially to to
acclimatize the eggs. Next, sift in the flour and baking powder and
mix well. Add the milk and mix until smooth.
Carefully fold in the egg whites, trying not to deflate them, and
gently mix until they are completely incorporated into a fluffy but
dense mixture.Scrape out into the pan and bake for about 30 to 35
minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan before
moving to a serving plate.
For the frosting, whip the butter with the confectioners sugar until
fluffy. Whisk in the cocoa a little at a time so that it doesn't fly
everywhere. When it is completely incorporated, add the milk and
honey, and whisk until very smooth. Spread it over the top of the cake
with a spatula, using swift smooth strokes.
To transform your single layer of chocolate cake into wee sloppy layer cakes, just use a biscuit cutter, or cut out rounds using a margarine tub as a guide, and stack. Dip the leftover bits in frosting and eat them, of course. Summer had a half of a pint of raspberries on their way out, so she mashed them up with a few tablespoons of sugar and stuck it between some of the layers. You could fill the layers with darn near anything, though I tend to prefer just straight up frosting.