This cake just looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it? Well good, I’m glad that you agree. Otherwise, I’d be thinking that your eyes are smaller than your stomach, and well, we all know that ain’t right.
This six-pound beast of a cake (or shall I say beauty?) is currently renting an entire shelf in our refrigerator at the cost of one slice per hour. And considering that almost half of it has already been devoured, my guess is it’s only a matter of days before the platter is left with nothing but crumbs and possible traces of our dog’s trouble-making–and no, I’m not ashamed. I will, however, be ashamed if I weigh 5 pounds heavier at the end of the week than I did on Monday, as that does not make for an ideal birthday gift to oneself.
Time to amp up the carb-crushing cardio (or perhaps some intense birthday shopping will suffice).
If I didn’t just give it away, it was my birthday recently. Just yesterday, my twin brother John and I shared our 22nd birthday together, and yes, to celebrate I baked this monstrosity for an army of, well, four–but it was pretty awesome having a cake the size of a toolbox sitting on our patio table.
I have to say, I was slightly skeptical about baking this, as I am with most every other cake I attempt. Sure, I started off with high hopes and expectations like I usually do, but I know myself much too well to assume that this was going to turn out exactly as I had planned; most of my layered confections turn out looking like the leaning tower of “my-bad!”, and this one was hardly an exception.
But alas, I pressed on.
Aside from its little imperfections and slightly off-centered stature, I have to say I was pleased with the way that it came out. And as much as I hate to admit that I sneaked a piece of this at 11 o’clock tonight, I must tell you guys that it tasted even better than it did the day before, which gives you something to look forward to. I guess that’s just what happens when you pair a beautiful, raspberry sundae-inspired delicacy with true, creamy vanilla ice cream–magic happens (as well as some addictive tendencies, milk-consumption, diner’s remorse, and many pathetic sprints up and down the stairs). Enjoy this one!
Chocolate Sheet Cake
(Fills one 13x18x1 sheet cake — recipe adapted from the amazing SweetaPolita)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 2/3 cups sugar
2 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
150 ml vegetable oil
280 ml buttermilk
260 ml hot coffee
2 tablespoons of vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat the bottom & edges of a baking sheet (bakers half sheet 13 x 18 x 1) with baking spray and add a layer of parchment paper to the bottom. Dust it all with flour, tapping out the excess. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaning ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour into prepared pan (batter will be liquidy).
Bake for about 25 minutes in convectional oven. Cake is done when toothpick or skewer comes barely clean. Do not to overbake!! I tend to underbake a few minutes so the skewer is still slightly gooey. Cool on a wire rack in pan.
This cake recipe is sturdy, yet moist.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(Makes about 10 cups — from Martha Stewart)
10 large egg whites
2 cups plus 4 tbs. superfine granulated sugar (I use Domino)
2 pounds (8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into tablespoons
4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and vinegar, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water, whisking constantly, until sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
Remove from stove. Starting on low, begin to whip with mixer until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool; about 10 minutes on medium-high. Then, while mixing on medium speed continously, add softened butter in chunks one tablespoon at a time until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture. Add vanilla and salt, mix well, and 1/2 pint or more of fresh raspberries (pureed if you don’t like the textured effect). Add raspberries just before utilizing the buttercream. Save some frosting (without raspberries) for crumbing coating.
This frosting also freezes well for 6-8 weeks. Let sit at room temperature overnight to thaw, and rewhip in the morning.
Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
9 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli again)
1 cup heavy cream (small carton)
Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very closely that it doesn’t boil out of the pot. Pour over the chocolate, whisking until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake, otherwise the cake will melt.
1. I let my cake sit in the pan overnight, and covered it with plastic wrap after it had cooled. I then cut it in half using a serrated bread knife and chilled each half in freezer for 30 minutes or until firm (cake will still be slightly sticky).
2. Cut those halves also in half, so that you have the longest possible rectangle.
3. Place 1st layer face up on whatever you choose to serve the cake on and spread about 1/2″ thick layer of buttercream on top. Place the send face down. Repeat with the following 2, placing your final layer face down. Cover with plastic wrap loosely, and chill for about 15 minutes in freezer or 30 minutes in refrigerator.
4. Crumb coat: coat cake with thin layer of (plain) buttercream using a small spatula. *Always start at the top of a cake, working your way down.* Freeze 10-15 more minutes to set buttercream.
5. Using clean tools, add a generous layer of buttercream on top, working it over the edges and then finish the sides. Chill the cake for as long as you need, but at least 15 minutes to set the frosting.
4. Drizzle your warm ganache over the top so it seeps down the sides. Be careful not to use too much, there will be some leftover! I used a small metal spatula to smooth it over the top. Chill to set.
5. Decorate however you like and wipe down platter with wet paper towel. Take cake out of fridge a couple hours prior to serving. Enjoy!