Our friend, Bob, had a birthday a couple weeks ago. We are happy to have Bob as an “adopted” part of our family.
We met Bob back when we lived in Arizona. He’s been a part of our family since Scott (my oldest who is 14) was 3 and Parker (11) was just a few months old. When Kevin graduated from the University of Arizona and got a job teaching at the University of Kansas, Bob moved to Kansas to be near us. When we moved to Utah a couple years ago, he followed along. No, he’s not stalking us, we’ve offered for him to move near us. Too bad here in Utah the place he’s found to live is 45 minutes away, but that’s better than 24 hours. ;) He’s enjoyed watching the boys grow up and we’ve liked having him around for holidays, family events and even just whenever we can work it out to get together. He will even spend the night Christmas Eve because he loves watching the boys Christmas morning.
A few years ago, Bob decided to starting “ordering” what he wanted me to make for his birthday. It’s all in fun and I actually like when he finds something and tells me exactly what to make. This year he wanted this Tuxedo Cake (and a turtle cheesecake I’ll blog soon, too, oh, and some of my chocolate chip cookies). Yes, he puts in some tall orders.
When Bob first mentioned a tuxedo cake, I found the one that is so popular from Costco (that I’ve never had but looks divine).
Photo courtesy of www.chowtimes.com
Now I know what I want for MY birthday.
But the Tuxedo Cake Bob wanted was one found at The Baking Pan which is a version adapted from Rebecca Rather’s The Pastry Queen. Her cake is three layers of chocolate cake. It is then “frosted” with whipped cream, then “drowned” in a chocolate ganache. I’m not that great making layer cakes, I just haven’t made very many. I like to blame it on my husband who claims to not like cake. What he really doesn’t like is all the super sweet and buttery buttercream frostings that most cakes have (that and fondant). Not only did Bob like the cake, but Kevin did, too. He admitted that THAT is a cake he’d eat a lot more of and would want again. Yay! Thanks, Bob. Now maybe I’ll get more experience with layer cakes, knowing the trick is to frost them with whipped cream!
I decided to not try a three layer cake and actually went hunting the internet for which chocolate cake I wanted to make. One of the problems I’ve had with cakes, especially here in Utah is that they tend to sink a little in the center of the cake. I assumed it was a high altitude problem—and I believe I’m right! Before making the final tuxedo cake, I found a cake I wanted to make and made it four times, with only 1/4 of the recipe baked in a six inch round pan. I changed the temperature and amount of leavener in the recipe each time (Kevin was a big help in all the science and math of this.)
Each cake was baked the same amount of time. The only changes to the recipe were with the amount of leavener (baking soda) and the oven temperature. Number four in the bottom right was the winner with hardly any sinking in the center. The picture didn’t come out the greatest, but it was a fun experiment. I will now bake cakes here in Utah (we’re at about 4800 feet) at a 25 degree increase and with only half the leavener called for in a recipe. I will write the recipe as it stated, but note my high altitude changes. The chocolate cake recipe that I went with, by the way, is one I found at Amanda's Cookin'. She made a delicious looking cake with peanut butter frosting. The cake recipe is adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes. Amanda made her cake with two 8-inch round pans and some cupcakes. I made it with two 9-inch round pans. I like being so precise that I weighed the amount of batter and divided it evenly between the two pans. I am not very good at eyeballing it. ;) The final cake/recipe, as I made it with my high altitude adjustments, came out great!
It was all actually quite simple and not as “scary” as I thought frosting a layer cake. The middle layer is also the sweetened whipped cream.
Tuxedo Cake, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from all the sources listed above
2 cups (240 grams) all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups (500 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (60 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
*2 teaspoons baking soda (see note for high altitude directions)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (224 grams) canola oil
1 cup (240 grams) light sour cream
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degree F (375 degree F for high altitude). Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms of each pan with parchment paper cut to size. Butter the paper.
In a large bowl (electric mixer works well but is not necessary), combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk together. Add the oil and sour cream beat together to combine well. Gradually beat in the water. Add the vinegar and vanilla and stir to combine. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl to insure all is mixed well. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
Bake for 30-35 minutes (I baked mine for 37 minutes) or until a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 20 minutes. Invert cakes on to wire racks. Peel off the parchment paper, then turn them on to another wire rack to cool upright completely. (These cakes are soft and frost better after being frozen for at least 30 minutes, I froze mine overnight.)
*For the high altitude cake, I used 1 teaspoon of baking soda instead of 2 teaspoons. Also note the temperature difference.
Sweetened Whipped Cream Filling and Frosting
3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 cup (about 105 grams) powdered sugar
In a chilled mixer bowl (also chill the wire whisk), whip the cream on medium-high until it begins to thicken. Slowly add the powdered sugar while it is continuing to whip until firm but still fluffy.
Remove the cakes from the freezer. Put filling on the first layer nice and thick. Spread almost to the edges. Top with the other cake layer. Even everything out then frost the top and sides with the whipped cream covering everything completely. Then smooth it all out. Chill the frosted cake for at least an hour.
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup corn syrup (or Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Bring the cream just to a boil in a microwave safe dish in 25 second intervals or in a small saucepan on the stove. Pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for a minute. Then stir the melting chocolate and cream together until combined. (Don’t over stir it.) Once the chocolate is completely melted, add the corn syrup and vanilla and stir until all combined and the mixture is smooth. Let the glaze sit for 10 minutes, then immediately pour it slowly over the top of the cake, letting some of it drip down the sides of the cake (but do not completely cover the whipped cream on the sides). (If the chocolate glaze has sat more than 10 minutes and has thickened up too much, slightly reheat it in the microwave in 20 seconds or so. Refrigerate the cake until the glaze has set, at least an hour. Keep the cake covered in a cake server.
I took two bites of the cake and it was delicious. We brought a few slices home and Kevin said it was really good even the next day. I’ll be making this again! I have a whole year to find the best salted caramel apple pie that Bob has already ordered for his next birthday. ;)