Saturday a few of my friends and I got together for a small dinner party to celebrate my daughter's birthday. Nicole wanted the meal to be something light, because she is eating healthy. I did mention that she can go off the diet for one night for her birthday and she corrected me my telling me it's not a "diet" but a "way of life". I am actually quite envious of her determination. Not that envious, that I have actually started following in her lead, but it did remind me of myself a few years back when I too, was not going to let my birthday celebration get in the way of my clean living, so when my girlfriends inquired into where I would like to go for my birthday. I chose Shabuzen. The restaurant was highly recommended by a woman I work with and the menu consists of lean meats and fresh vegetables boiled in a hotpot right at your table, sounds healthy right? When we arrived, the restaurant was packed. A very good sign. My friends and I finally got our table and by now, most of us were starving, but remembering we had to allow time to "boil" our own meat and vegetables. Karen H. commented..."if I wanted to cook for myself, I would have stayed home and cooked"! Regardless, we started to throw everything into the "hotpot" to boil and trying to keep each of our meats and vegetables separated. I don't think any of us "got the whole dining experience" or maybe we didn't know the right way to combine the vegetables and sauces, we certainly didn't find the broth tasty and as a matter of fact, Karen H. referred to it as "hotdog water" (the water left over after you boil hotdogs) we all had to agree and of course, spent the entire time we were there laughing our asses off at how obsurd the idea of cooking your own dinner in hotdog water was. Anway, I had to make up for this screwup, by suggesting we go to a nearby hotel and have a few cocktails and fondue. Dipping poundcake, cookies and ripe fresh fruit into soft, velvety chocolate beats boiled vegetables anyday......and of course we can't forget the martini's.
Nicole's Birthday cake was a chocolate fudge cake and I went to the best baking cookbook for the recipe
called Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes This cake is delicious, chocolately goodness. The coffee and cinnamon really enhance the taste of this cake. The frosting would have looked better had I just got it on the cake, but it thickens pretty quickly and I felt the need to try to make swirls to decorate my cake, but I suggest getting the frosting on as quick as possible. I tend to freeze my cakes a bit, to make frosting them easier, but with this type of frosting, it ended up seizing quicker then otherwise. If icing becomes too soft, chill slightly. If icing becomes too stiff, microwave on high 2 or 3 seconds to soften, and then stir to mix well.
I wish I had a pretty picture of the cake slice, but in my rush to cut a piece for my mother who was leaving the party early, I just cut the cake, not worrying about crumbs or even cutting an even piece to photograph. She couldn't help but eat the slice in the car on the way home.
Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake:
Ingredients for cake:2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 ½ ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup milk
1 ¼ cups hot, strongly brewed coffee
1 cup mayonnaise (not low fat or fat free)
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups sugar
White chocolate mousse filling:
4 oz white chocolate, coursely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg white
Sour cream chocolate icing:
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup half-and-half, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 9 inch round cake pans. Line the base of each pan with parchment. I sprayed each with Pam and dusted with cocoa powder.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the milk to a simmer. Pour the hot coffee and milk over the chocolate. Let stand for a minute, then whisk until smooth and let this cool slightly.
With a mixer, beat together the eggs, mayonnaise and vanilla until well blended. Gradually beat in the sugar.
Add the dry ingredients and mocha liquid alternately in 2 or 3 additions, beating until smooth and well blended. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out almost clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10-15 minutes before un-molding onto a wire rack and carefully peeling off the paper. Leave to cool completely.
For mousse, melt white chocolate with 1/4 cup cream, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Beat remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Whip egg white with sugar until fairly stiff peaks form. Fold beaten egg white into white chocolate cream. Then fold in whipped cream.
For sour cream icing, melt chocolate with butter and corn syrup on very low heat. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Whisk in half-and-half and sour cream.
Place one cake layer flat-side up on cake stand. Cover top with half the mousse, leaving 1/4 -inch margin around edge. Repeat with second layer. Set third layer on top. Use enough of the icing to thinly cover top and sides. Don’t worry if cake shows through. This layer seals in crumbs. Refrigerate cake 30 minutes to set. Cover cake with remaining icing, swirling with back of spoon or offset spatula.