Spur of the Moment Cake

So, Amelia’s birthday was last week, and she came back from a day with her parents laden with new kitchen gear!  Since we’ll be living together again for the next year, her boon is my boon and I shared her new baking pan, spatula, cooling rack, candy thermometer joy.

She now has a 9-inch circular cake pan, a shape our combined kitchen supplies had been missing, and after we washed it, I’d just put it on the counter, since I didn’t know in which corner of our scant cupboard space she wanted it to belong.  As we were both sitting on the couch, watching America’s Next Top Model, she saw it on the counter and asked me if I was going to make a cake.  I said no, much to our mutual disappointment and told her I just wasn’t sure where she wanted me to put it.  Ten minutes later, we’d reached the conclusion that we really should make a cake.

We mixed up a quick “Lightning Cake” from Joy of Cooking (written rather illegibly into my rubber-duck-covered recipe book) and baked it in two parts (since we have only one pan). Here’s a rough version of the recipe:

Cream 1/2 C butter until…creamy.  Sift together 1 3/4 C flour, 1/2 t. salt and 1 C sugar.  Add to butter adn beat for one minute.  Scrape the bowl.  Add 2 eggs and 1/2 C plus 1 Tbs Milk.  Beat for 1 1/2 minutes on higher speed.  Fold in 1 1/2 t. baking powder and 1 tsp vanilla.  Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

We were surprisingly patient throughout the entire process, considering that we both had a strong craving for cake the moment if was accidentally mentioned.  Amelia started the ganache while I started the butter cream:

Ganache Recipe:

12 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
1 C heavy cream

Scald the cream (bring almost to a boil).  Pour over chocolate chips.  Let sit about 10 minutes, then stir until smooth.

Butter Cream Recipe
1/4 C Butter
3 Tbs. flour
3/4 C milk
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C butter
1 C granulated sugar

Melt 1/4 C butter over low heat.  Blend in flour.  Gradually stir in milk.  Cook and stir until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.  Cool to room temp (this is very important!  Otherwise you end up having to chill the final product before you beat it and you might get scared that it’s not working…or else that was just us.)  Add vanilla.  Cream remaining butter with sugar until fluffy.  Gradually add milk mixture, beating about 5 minutes.

Then we sandwiched and glopped to our hearts’ content.  We saved the leftover butter cream frosting to decorate, but when there was even more extra than we could use, we ended up doodling with it on our hands and licking it off.  In my defense: I’m losing weight from fasting, and I’m really not supposed to lose any weight at all!  Also, butter cream frosting is just the best ever.  Final product montage!!!

While trying to decide how to decorate it, we relied on our expert doodling skills and covered the sides with very technically named “swirly trees,” and put on the top the ever-classy “S-thing that we used to draw in elementary school.”  I think the overall effect is quite charming, and just cute.

We decided, after eating the leftover frosting that we needed something a little more savory before we tasted the cake, so we cleared out enough room in our over-tenanted refrigerator and our precious spur-of-the-moment cake is waiting to be sliced and eaten!  I’m confident enough to say that it’s going to be quite tasty!


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