Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Birthday Cake, Part Deux

Eek.  Sorry, I know you've all been on pins and needles, eagerly awaiting the post about the rest of the cake.  Namely, the frosting.  I had a super busy, fun weekend, and yesterday I had the monkey all day.  We went to the park and my face is kinda red now.  I guess at some point I should use sunscreen on my self in addition to the baby.

For some reason, I think that a lot of people are intimidated by making frosting from scratch.  Don't be, for the most part it follows a fairly simple outline: softened butter, flavoring (cocoa powder, lime juice, etc), and confectioners (aka powdered) sugar.  Then, you mix all that together, add liquid as needed to make it the right consistency and you're done.  I usually use cream/milk, but for a fruit flavored frosting, the fruit juice would be better; water or some kind of booze (if you're making that kind of cake) would also work fine.

Chocolate Frosting (adapted from Love and Olive Oil)

What you need:
3 Sticks of Butter, SUPER softened (if you're house is as freezing cold as mine is, put it in the oven with the light on overnight.  Or the microwave for like 15 seconds, you don't want it to melt though, so careful)
1 Cup Cocoa Powder
2-4 Cups Confectioners Sugar
Up to 1 Cup Cream
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Mix the butter until it's all fluffy-like.  This actually often helps soften it some, but it doesn't work unless it's fairly soft to begin with.  So don't be like me and think that if you just mix the ever loving crap out of it all day it will work, because then you'd be wrong and have a very tired arm.

Add in the cocoa powder and blend until well incorporated.

Begin adding the sugar, and add a touch of cream as needed.  Overall, I ended up using about 2 1/2 cups of sugar and maybe 1/3 of a cup of cream.  This is kind of a matter of personal taste; because this was going on the lemon cake, I didn't want it overly sweet.  But just taste as you go along and once it tastes how you want it to, you're done.  Finally, add in the vanilla.

Now, time for frosting the cake.  Honestly, I'm not very good at this, but practice makes perfect and I have a posse of peeps who don't care how it looks and are totally willing to eat the practice cakes.

First, you need to make sure that the cake is totally cool before you start.  At least two hours of sitting, and if you're not needing it that day, overnight.  If the cake is still warm, the frosting just melts right off.  Like this:

Second, invest in an offset spatula.  I got mine at Kitchen Witch for like $9.  You can also get them at this fancy French place that I love called Tar-jay.  It just makes the whole process easier.

Third, use only a little bit of frosting at first.  It makes it easier to spread evenly.

Fourth (I didn't do this), put some foil around the bottom of the serving dish so it's easier to clean up.  I just wiped the excess off the plate, but it would have looked nicer if I hadn't.

Fifth, DIG IN!!

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