Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Best Friend, Esquire

Ok, so she can't use the suffix until she passes the bar and, regardless, she doesn't intend to use it. The bar is a different kind of hell that I'm happy to never experience. However, the suffix "Esquire" amuses me, especially applied to Indira. If it isn't already obvious, my best friend just finished law school and is preparing for the bar. I was honored to bring a cake to her graduation party. She only had two requests: the flavor should be chocolate/raspberry and there should be some sort of screaming pink color on it.

The end result was a tiered chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream that was decorated with dark pink Swiss dots, dark pink "ruffles", and purple carnations. Costco didn't have carnations in pink, so the purple was our next best choice.

The raspberry buttercream was delicious and has a lovely story to it. My friend J., the recipient of my first successful tiering attempt, is originally from Santa Fe, N.M. She and her mom made incredible wild (yes, hand-picked) raspberry jam and gave us a couple of jars. I still had some on hand, so I stirred it into the buttercream, resulting in a sweet and strong raspberry flavor.

The cake is from an old standby that I've been using for a couple of years. Just about all of the chocolate cakes on this blog have been made with that recipe. It's amazing, foolproof, and produces a light and delicious cake that doesn't require any frosting. It's great as a layer cake or as cupcakes. In my oven, the baking time for layer cakes is shortened to 35-40 minutes and it dries out easily, so keep an eye on bake time.

I was anxious about transporting it to the Bay Area because I had to check my luggage. The whole affair went off smashingly. The cake was filled and frozen, then packed carefully with tubs of frosting and my tools. The frozen cake thawed en route, but was still pretty stiff by the time I arrived at Kirkleton's apartment 4 hours later. Once we were in Indira's hometown of Manteca, CA, I frosted, stacked, and decorated the cake. It was small, cute, and transported in an ingenious carrier: a frying pan that the cake fit into exactly. The sides were high enough to keep the cake still, but shallow enough so it could be removed easily.

Some lessons learned from my second tiering attempt:

  • Use lots of frosting in the beginning, because scraping and smoothing removes tons of it. The dark chocolate frosting layer ended up being rather thin after I scraped and smoothed it out. I had more than enough frosting, so there was no reason to skimp.
  • When freezing a cake, use lots of frosting to fill it. I found that the cake actually seemed to shrink a little bit, resulting in the bottom tier being shorter than I liked.
  • Line the cardboard round with strips of parchment. Using strips the same length as the radius of the round, line the round like petals of a flower. After it's decorated, the strips could be carefully removed for a clean cardboard. I didn't do that, so the frosting ruffles were a last-minute effort to cover messy edges and the top tier's cardboard, which was sticking out.
Overall, it was great. My buttercream crystallized a little bit, resulting in a grainy appearance, but it was still creamy and delicious. The party was a lot of fun, topped off with a touching speech thanking me, Kirkleton, and Tirrone for being there for her. And a proud cheering squad we are! Hehe.

Congratulations, Indira!

3 bites:

Sharon said...

Wow, your cake looks amazing! I'm still quite a novice at layered/tiered cakes. I'm hoping to take a cake decorating class sometime this summer.

Congrats to you on your beautiful cake and your friend for graduating!

Garrett said...

Even though it's nearly midnight right now, I could definitely go for a big bite of that cake.

Meandering Eats said...

Sharon and Garrett- Thank you! It was a lot of fun to make.

3 bites