Happy Birthday Eskot!

Today (well, technically, in one hour), Scott turns 42. Here’s a picture of him on his 40th birthday with his best friend, the foraging Hedgehog (who had recently shaved his spines), mic in hand, singing along to Journey. Scott is a mensch. And because he is a mensch, I baked him a birthday cake. Well, that, and I’d been wanting to bake a fancy cake for ages. In fact, I kind of demanded that I make his birthday cake because I was so desperate to make a fancy cake. And he (and his fiance Leandra) sportingly agreed. They then asked if I’d like to make it for a private dinner or for a big party, to which I replied “private dinner”– to mess up in front of friends is one thing; to potentially mess up in front of 30 strangers is another. But, as it turns out, the recipe was perfect, so the cake was perfect. And now I kinda wish I’d said “big party”.

Since Scott has an unnatural love for the black and white cookie, I made Dorie Greenspan’s black and white cake, from her book “Baking, from my home to yours”. It’s a lot of work– making the chocolate cream, making the white chocolate cream, making the sponge cakes, then decorating the whole lot. But you can do it in pieces (the creams can be made up to 5 days in advance), and if you’re into baking (which I am), it’s kinda fun to have big projects. Especially big projects like fancy birthday cakes with lots of layers. Especially if, after all that work, you get to sit down with a glass of champagne and have a big fat slice of said fancy cake.

And on that note, full of cake and champagne, I’m going to bed.

Happy birthday Scott, you big old mensch. *hic*

Black and White Chocolate Cake

For the cake:

2 cups sifted spelt flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

10 tbsp butter (at room temp)

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup buttermilk

For the chocolate custard:

2 cups whole milk

4 egg yolks

6 tb sugar

3 tb cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

7oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

2  1/2 tbsp butter

White chocolate cream:

6oz white chocolate

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350. Butter 2 9-inch pans.

In a mixer, mix the butter on medium speed for five minutes or so, until fluffy. Add the sugar, and mix for another 3 minutes, then add the eggs and egg yolk and vanilla, one by one. Add one third of the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Then one half of the buttermilk. Another third of the dry ingredients, and then the rest of the buttermilk, and the rest of the flour etc.

Separate the batter between the two pans, and cook for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Invert onto cooling racks and leave until completely cool.

For the chocolate custard:

Heat up the milk (I use raw milk, so I don’t actually boil it), then pour into a bowl. In the saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt, and then start to drizzle in the hot milk slowly. Once all incorporated, add the whole lot back to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking vigorously, until the mixture has thickened considerably. Whisk in the melted chocolate, and then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until cold.

For the white chocolate cream:

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Meanwhile, heat up 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Once the chocolate is melted, add the cream, and stir to incorporate them both. Remove from the double boiler, and put the chocolate mixture in the fridge to cool completely.

Once it’s COMPLETELY cool, in a mixer, whip up the rest of the heavy cream. When it’s almost whipped to stiff peaks, add the white chocolate mixture, and whip on high until it’s formed stiff peaks, and it’s all mixed together.

Cover tightly and refrigerate until using.

To assemble:

Using a large serrated knife, cut each sponge in half lengthways– this will leave you with 4 very thin sponge cakes. Place one of these cakes on a cake round, cut side down. Using an icing spatula (a knife would work fine I’m sure), spread a thick layer of the chocolate custard all over the top. Place another piece of the sponge cake on top, cut side up, and spread on a layer of the white chocolate cream. Top with another layer of cake, cut side up, and cover with a layer of chocolate custard. And then the final layer of cake, cut side down. Spread the remainder of the white chocolate cream all over the cake.

Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel strips of chocolate off all over the top of the cake.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, though let it come closer to room temperature before serving.

3 Responses to “Happy Birthday Eskot!”
  1. Your cake looks beautiful – I love how you have decorated it!

  2. eskot says:

    and it tastes even better than it looks! as a matter of fact, i’m gonna go have another slice right now… 🙂

  3. healy says:

    wow as in wow! SALIVATING OVER IT. . .like the chocolate topping, Oh cake:)

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