Recently, I had the honor of making cakes for my friend Kathleen’s birthday party. This was quite a to-do, and included a paella grill that was four feet across, manned by a guy who also played the flamenco guitar (though not at the same time – different shindig). I baked a cake in honor of the birthday girl that is so her: gorgeous and feminine but packing a wallop. The Food Network Magazine calls it an Almond Layer Cake with White Chocolate Frosting but I have renamed it The Kathleen (all I have to do to earn this right is tweak the ingredients, or I have to want to change the name really, really, badly). Feast your eyes then, on The Kathleen:
I did not include the white chocolate in the frosting but rather, drizzled some over the top of the cream cheese-based frosting as a decoration. I have my mother to thank for this touch. The downside is that the frosting is thinner and lacks a certain cinematic glamour. On the upside it tastes better and isn’t coat-your-tongue sweet. Skulking in the background is the cheesecake I made that, though yummy, was a bit sloppy to handle. My fault; I gave in to Kathleen’s husband’s desire for strawberries on top (frozen ones from last summer’s crop at Johnson’s Organic Farm). And get a load of the pageant-ready beauty below! Its working title is The Black and White and Black and White Cake, and like the name, it’s a mouthful. I am trolling for a new title for her so I welcome your suggestions:
I ended up serving the top half and working down to the bottom half because I couldn’t quite figure out how to make a four layer piece that would remain intact and I am not known for my manual dexterity. I am, as I may have mentioned, known for my cakes (also my fear of flying and my insistence on plunging into any available source of water, with or without permission/ swimwear). I reinforced the whole shebang with four bamboo skewers and I advise you do this as well. It was already Dr. Seussian enough, and I was concerned it would continue to list alarmingly to one side. This cake necessitated one of my favorite activities, making ganache. The process is so simple and once it’s complete you can top a cake, make truffles, have a quick and decadent bite or freeze it for later. It’s quite forgiving, and can be heated and chilled repeatedly.
The BWBW cake recipe was also in Food Network Magazine. The filling – not be confused with the ganache topping – was a milk chocolate mocha concoction which actually brought me to tears. But in matters of tasty cake, my emotions are close to the surface.
Happy Birthday Kathleen! I can’t wait for your next birthday celebration. I am considering my Green Velvet Cake, The Hawaii Five-O, or maybe The Porcupine. Curious? Stay tuned…