This cake makes me think of some beautiful, undersea algae or anemone. It’s a bit garrish with the neon icing, but certain things are allowed on birthdays that might not be allowed on other days.
Better-than-Boxed Chocolate Cake (borrowed from StyleatHome.com)
- 3 C all-purpose flour
- 2-2/3 C granulated sugar
- 1 C cocoa powder, plus some for dusting pans
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-3/4 C warm water
- 1 C vegetable oil
- 4 tbsp melted butter, plus some for pans
- 5 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly butter two or three* 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottom with parchment/baking paper. Butter the parchment. Dust the inside of both pans with cocoa powder and knock against the side of the counter to settle a thin dusting of cocoa inside the pans; discard extra cocoa.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1 CUP of the warm water, oil and melted butter and mix on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add the remaining 3/4 CUP warm water and vanilla and beat until smooth and aerated, about 2 minutes. The batter will look loose and watery, about the consistency of heavy cream or hot fudge.
Divide evenly between the prepared pans and tap lightly on the counter to smooth the top. Bake about 40 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until they are just warm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Slide a knife around the edges and flip the pans to unmold the cakes onto a rack to cool completely.
*I used two nine inch pans and had to slice off a very large dome from both cakes, wasting a lot of cake. The layers will be thin (and therefore need less bake time) if you use three pans, but I think it would be more resourceful and the layers would be naturally more flat, requiring less shaving.
My key to layer cake: refrigerate overnight before slicing and icing.
Whipped Cream Cheese Icing
*I love this recipe – not too sweet, very creamy. It’s decently sturdy but needs to stay refrigerated, so you will have to pause in your icing process to put it back in the fridge. I’m still searching for a better sturdy icing recipe for form icing projects like this.
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 C white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 C heavy cream
- several colors of food dye
I made a time and a half of this recipe (using 12 oz cream cheese, 3/4 C sugar, etc…) in order to do the project featured in this blog post.
Beat together everything but the cream until smooth and fluffy. Add cream in a slow drizzle on medium speed. Allow to beat for two minutes or so until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
Assembly and Icing:
Slice domes off of cakes and layer with about 1 cup white icing. Separate remaining icing into five separate bowls and dye using food coloring. I recommend investing in several star piping tips and bags if you decide to do this project – I had to wash out and reuse the same icing tip each time I changed colors and it was very laborious. Pipe random stars all over cake until covered.
Happy birthday to my dear old friend Kristina!