So Casey and Trent have the same birthday (wild, right?) and they alternate years getting to request a birthday cake. Casey is all about strawberries and whipped cream. This is Trent's year. He wanted CHOCOLATE. I set about tracking down the most chocolate chocolate cake I could find.
I found this cake on Epicurious (always my go-to when I want something that has already been road-tested). 1277 reviews and 91% of them would make it again? That's a hearty enough recommendation for me! I made the cake layers on Saturday with some hot Drew's Brews coffee from Sip. They came out absolutely gorgeous (I went with three 9" layers instead of the recommended 2 10"), dark and slightly sticky. I wrapped them up and managed to not alert Charlie Murphy the Chocoholic Cat to their hiding place.
Sunday morning I made a quick ganache for the frosting, according to the recipe, but I wasn't wild about the results. The cake itself was already so dark and moist and gooey, I thought a simple drapey ganache would be too homogenous. I stuck it in the fridge to chill and consulted Agnes when we popped by the Walden Market before lunch. We discussed the pros and cons of whipping a ganache or incorporating whipped cream. I thought I'd see how spreadable it was after the chill and play it by ear.
When we got back to the house (a mere two hours before the birthday party was scheduled to start, poor planning on my part...) that ganache was a solid unstirrable mass in the fridge. Oops. The spatula was sticking up at a perfect vertical angle. Hmm. Time to apply all of my dessert-making problem solving skills.
First I whipped the solid ganache with a hand mixer. This didn't go great. The bowl wasn't big enough for much movement, and the chocolate, while lightening significantly, clung to the beaters and was still not really spreadable. So I went WAY outside the realm of reason and popped that bowl in the microwave at half-power for a minute. It came out totally uneven and kind of lumpy, actually quite ugly. UGH.
So I went with my last resort and whipped up probably a cup and a half of whipping cream. I partially folded it in to the lumpy and runny ganache and then put the hand mixer back in there and whipped until everything was evenly mixed and fluffy. Gorgeous!
Now I'm off to Emma Talent Night! It's a shame I didn't manage to pull together a Baking Demonstration. Clearly, the skills!