This adventure started with someone asking me for a favor. The question of the day was “would you make my engagement cake?” The anxiety started when I realized the party was for 40-50 people. My baking supplies consist of some 8-10″ cake pans, a 9×13″ pan and a bundt cake pan so you can understand the anxiety. I calmed down a tad when I got an update on the count…it was now down to close to 35 people. Even with the lower amount I still did not have the resources to make one cake to feed the entire crowd. I wanted to help out but the only way was to make to separate cakes. The soon-to-be bride agreed so a chocolate layer cake and strawberry cheesecake it was. I knew I would use Dorie Greenspan’s Tall and Creamy Cheesecake recipe as I used it before with much success. I am not a major fan of chocolate cake so I do not have a “go to” recipe. After some time on the internet I came across a recipe that many people claim to be the best chocolate cake recipe. Initially I found it on Leigh Anne’s blog Your Homebased Mom but also saw it on several other blogs. I was hesitant at first because this meant I would have to use a cake mix. The recipe doctors up a cake mix by adding sour cream, instant chocolate pudding mix, chocolate chips, extra eggs and milk. The verdict? There was no reason to doubt as the cake was delicious. I frosted it with a mocha buttercream…so good! Now, I wish I could say the decorating process went just as smoothly. I was quite nervous about this part as I never did much decorating other than frosting a cake in a “homely” manner. Again I searched the internet for some tips and came across one where you use a foam paint roller to smooth the buttercream once it sets. The problem came when time was passing me by and the frosting still needed to firm up some more. I thought I would speed up the process by placing it in the freezer. I left it in there much longer than I should have and the buttercream was rock solid. I tried to let it “defrost” a bit to be able to smooth it out with the paint roller method but it would not budge. As if this was not enough I now had to pipe directly onto the cake because my initial idea did not work. The plan was to pipe “Congratulations Marley & Jesus” in melted chocolate onto a silpat and freeze it. Once frozen I was planning to peel it off the silpat and put it on the cake. My hands were shaking like a leaf but I managed to get it on there. Even though it didn’t turn out exactly as I would have liked everyone loved it and that’s the most important part! Besides, don’t you think the perfect (crack-free) cheesecake makes up for my lack of decorating experience?
First Time for Everything