Tuesday, December 08, 2020

my first-ever CAKE

This is my first-ever cake.  I'm a chocoholic, so of course it's a chocolate cake with American-style chocolate butter-cream frosting.  The recipe comes from Cooking With Sugar on YouTube.  I had never made a cake from scratch before, so this was a bit of an adventure.

Sugar's recipe calls for using two round, 9-inch cake pans.  I don't have those, so I poured all of my batter (which I strained so as to prevent the formation of any lumps) into a single large, rectangular cake pan and prayed for the best result.  Two things happened:  (1) the batter puffed up and over the edge of the pan during baking, but not enough to drip onto the oven's burners; (2) the cake didn't cook all the way through after the prescribed baking time had finished.  I lowered the oven's temperature and baked the cake another fifteen minutes, and that seemed to do the trick.

To make a two-layer cake, I had to let the baked cake cool.  I shaved off the cake's "hump" so it would be flat (I ate the hump along with some of my homemade frosting—sue me), then I gently removed the cake from the pan, cut it into two more-or-less equally sized rectangles, frosted the surface of the bottom rectangle, then placed the other rectangle on top to create my two layers.  The cake was amazingly moist, which is probably a testament to how much fatty liquid went into the batter (1/2 cup oil, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup Nutella-fied heavy cream instead of the coffee that the recipe called for).  The frosting was awesome but a bit too runny; Sugar (the YouTube cook) advises adding more confectioner's sugar to firm up the runny frosting, but I was all out of confectioner's sugar (called "sugar powder"/슈가파우더 in Korean), so I did a clever thing and added almond flour—not enough to create marzipan, but enough to thicken up the frosting and make it spreadable.

The cake rectangles weren't perfectly shaped, and I didn't bother sawing the cake's edges to even things out.  The result is the lumpy, slumped monstrosity you see below:

But however the thing looked, every part of it tasted amazing.  I was partly inspired by my buddy Charles's recent adventure in cake, although I wasn't nearly as ambitious or as meticulous as he was.  I simply wanted a recipe for moist, robust chocolate cake, and I found one within minutes when I searched online.  This is definitely a recipe I can stick with, and it's geared for people like me, i.e., chocoholics who have a very sweet tooth.

I took the cake to work as a belated birthday gift for my boss, who celebrated his 60th birthday over the weekend.  He had originally hoped to have a huge party:  60 is the hwan-gap year in Korean culture, i.e., the year that you complete five turns of the Chinese zodiac, which is a full cycle lasting sixty years.  Alas, COVID-19 restrictions forced a cancelation, so my boss had a simple family outing instead.  I cooked my faux-Fredo linguine (with chicken, bacon, portobello, spinach, and Gorgonzola) on Monday, and that night, I worked on the cake whose photos you see in this entry.

The cake looked awful, but it tasted great, and it was a hit with my boss and coworkers.  My American coworker is athletically inclined, so he's cheerfully complaining about loving my cooking but needing to get back on a regular diet-and-exercise schedule.  It's true that I've been cooking meals for the office with somewhat greater frequency, but that's because I've been feeling increasingly celebratory as the end of my scholastic debt draws near (one more week to go before I wire the money for my final payment).

I made sure to get some cross-section shots before all the cake was eaten:

I'm definitely saving this recipe for whenever I need to make a cake for any given event.  The cake itself is rich and moist, and the frosting—a variant of French butter cream—is utterly decadent.  I need to buy the proper cake pans so I can do this right next time.  The cake was slightly overcooked this time around, but no one complained, thank Cthulhu.  I still have a lot of extra frosting, but I have no idea what to put it on.  I'll think of something.


John Mac said...

The shocking thing to me is that you never baked a cake before! It looks good to me. In fact, that edginess from the imperfection of the cuts gives it a certain appeal--it's the real thing.

Well done!

Kevin Kim said...

Gracias. It came out well, at least taste-wise.