Did'ja ever have a hankering for chocolate cake but didn't want to make the whole recipe 'cause you know you'd end up having to eat the whole dang thing all by yourself?
ya ya ya. I know. Ordinarily, having to eat a whole friggin' cake would be great in most circumstances, but this is reality. I don't want to be buying bigger pants and I don't want to be wearing spandex Lululemon yoga pants forever.
don't dicker with any piping tips. just slather on the buttercream and hide the bumps with sprinkles!
I've had my Small-Batch Baking book for a while now. I had purchased it for $11.59 at Costco a few years ago. I have made quite a few of the recipes...some with good success and a few flops. In general, I find the cakes to be on the dense side because the ingredients are so miniscule you can't take a standing electric mixer to it. Pretty much all the recipes require you to do all the mixing by hand, which isn't so bad a proposition because the work isn't heavy.
Of the recipes I've tried so far, some of the cake recipes yielded a really dense (almost biscuit-like) crumb and others are like their full-scale counterparts. I really liked the flavour in the coconut cake recipe, but it was so dense it was indeed like eating a biscuit. My favourite recipe thus far is the Chocolate Cake recipe. The frosting I tried was not a resounding success. I found the Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting too sour and rich. It had a fudgy texture though. So, I used my tried and true buttercream frosting and made sure it was pink because it was Bebe who requested the cake.
I know. She just had a huge birthday Castle Cake recently, but this girl's all about the frosting and the decorations. I knew if I made a mini cake, and decorated it with her favourite sprinkles, she'd be happy as a clam and we'd save mommy from having to bust out of her britches. That, and though it looks like I bake a lot, my kids and hubby don't really eat much of any of it. Stomach doesn't touch the stuff and only Bebe has a small kiddie-sized chunk of any sweets I make. Guess who ends up eating it all if I don't think fast and pass it along to family & friends?
For this cake, a stellar opposite of the Ariel Underwater Castle Cake, I did not expend energy finessing the buttercream; nor did I attempt to cover it in ganache (unappreciated in the under-13 set). All I did was go for what I know: sprinkles are the key to kiddie happiness.
This much I've figured out in the 5 years I've been a mom! Pretty impressive, huh? Kids don't care about the density of the crumb, the thinness and evenness of the layers, or even flavour. It's all about the decorations. In fact, if you're observant at a kiddie party, you'll notice this huge buildup to the singing of the birthday song, the blowing of the candle and the fighting over the cake-topper. The birthday kid getting the cake-topper is the climax, I believe. Then, after the first slice has been served, the kids vamoose and go play. Sometimes a few kids will lick the frosting off the cake, but in general most of the cake is left to sit idly on the paper Disney plates as the moms and dads wearily scrape the mangled cake slices into their own mouths.
I highly recommend doing the Small Batch Baking technique if you feel like having some homemade cake but don't feel like whipping out the KitchenAid. Ordinarily, I like to scale down recipes from recipes I already know I like. Halving is easy, but this particular cake is built for 2 single servings only. That's two mini cakes. The cookbook is great because you don't have to muss with figuring out and writing down the new measurements somewhere. If you really wanted to, you could kick it up and decorate the heck out of these little cakes and make 'em look like their bigger brothers with icing tips, fondant, ganache and fancy sugar work. But today, that would defeat the purpose. The whole cake took me half of Bib's nap-time to make from beginning to end. That's immediate gratification.
I served Bebe a quarter of one cake and she was satisfied and grinning from ear to ear.
it's bigger than a cupcake but smaller than a regular cake--and able to leap tall kiddie appetites in a single bound!
Mini Chocolate Cake
adapted from "Chocolate Birthday Cake" from Debby Maugans Nakos' Small-Batch Baking
[cakebrain's note: I used 2 mini cake tins for this but D.M.N. suggests using cleaned 14 or 14.5 oz cans if you don't have them]
- 1/4 cup plus 2 T all-purpose flour
- 3 T buttermilk
- Yolk of 1 large egg [I used the whole egg]
- 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
- 3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 t baking soda
- 1/8 t salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Grease the insides of the cans and lightly dust them with flour, tapping out the excess [I sprayed mine with Pam and lined the bottom with parchment] Place the cans on a baking sheet for easier handling, and set aside.
- Combine the buttermilk, egg yolk [I used the whole egg, what the heck!] and vanilla in a small bowl, and whisk to mix. Gradually pour the melted butter into the buttermilk mixture, whisking constantly
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl, and then whisk to blend well. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture and whisk just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cans, dividing it evenly between them. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of one comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the cans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of each can and invert them to release the cakes. Turn the cakes upright and let them cool completely on the rack.
- To frost the cakes, cut each cake in half horizontally. Spread a layer of frosting about 1/2 inch thick on the cut side of one cake half, then stack the other half on top of it. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Repeat with the remaining cake and frosting. Decorate as desired.