Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Cocoa-buttermilk Birthday Cake


Let me first say thank you, Laurie, for all your hard work and effort over the last two years! You do an amazing job keeping up with all the bakers who are part of this great group. Happy Anniversary to us!! While I have only been with the group on an official basis since September, I have had the book and been hanging around for almost a year. To think you all have been baking together two years now is just amazing! Laurie let us vote for a recipe to bake for this week and it was decided we could choose between two...Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake or Tarte Tatin.

I chose the Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake. I am definitely more of a cake (chocolate cake!) person than a fruity dessert person, though I do love apple desserts. But, when having to choose between chocolate and apples, chocolate will always win.


I gathered all my ingredients together and got busy. The cake came together easily. I had it in the oven in no time. Baked it for 25 minutes to start with. The recipe calls for 26-30 minutes. After 25 minutes I checked it for doneness, according to Dorie's recipe..."cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pan". My cakes were not doing any of that, so I baked them for another 3 minutes. Did a toothpick test for doneness and pulled them from the oven. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of rise in the cakes. Each layer was only an inch tall. Not at all like other cakes I have baked.

While the cake cooled, I worked on the frosting. I was looking forward to that. Chocolate Malt flavored buttercream. How yummy sounding! Again, I followed the instructions and things seemed to be going well until I added the hot malt-cocoa mixture to the melted chocolate. As I added the liquid and stirred gently with a whisk, the mixture seized up and attached itself to the whisk, refusing to let loose. What the heck!?! I kept moving the whisk around in the bowl and eventually the mixture loosened up and became smooth. Never did get glossy, but at least when I pulled the whisk out, the chocolate mixture stayed in the bowl.



Added the chocolate mixture to the butter/brown sugar in my mixer bowl and began to beat it. Recipe says it will be light and thick enough to use. Well, mine was light, but way too thin to spread on a cake. It was also very grainy looking. I added more powdered sugar and beat it longer, much longer, and while it became a bit thicker, it never lost the graininess. :( It was thick enough to frost the top and sides, but I decided to use some cream cheese filling I had for the center. I was afraid the chocolate-malt buttercream would just ooze out between the layers, it was that soft and thin.

So, I filled and iced the cake and stuck it in the fridge to firm up the icing. We tried it later that night for dessert. It was a big disappointment for both of us. The cake was dry, almost tasteless. The icing wasn't as good as we thought it would be with the addition of brown sugar and malted milk powder. It sat in the fridge for two nights, untouched. That doesn't happen in this house. My hubby is a "cake for dessert" nut. Ten minutes after dinner he is asking for dessert and I almost always have a cake on the counter. He asked for ice cream one night and for cookies another night, store bought cookies! Nuff said!


Next time I make this cake...scratch that...next time I will make the Tarte Tatin. Maybe some of the other bakers had better luck with this one than I did. Be sure to head over to TWD and see.

32 comments:

  1. Amazing how we how the same exact experience with this cake! I mean to the T! Weird :-/

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  2. I've heard it from more than one source and I made cupcakes and thought they were not chocolaty enough and very crumbly. I should have taken pictures of the mess that was made when everyone ate one.
    Nevertheless, your cake look beautiful!

    I'm having a giveaway on my blog today!

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  3. Your cake looks great! I also had a little trouble getting my frosting to setup, but I beat it for what seemed like forever and it seemed to improve. A delicious cake none-the-less! Great post! :o)

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  4. That looks amazing!! I love chocolate! Great job!

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  5. Your cake looks beautiful and sorry to hear that it didn't taste so great. I made it last month and had the same experience you did. I'm usually a cake person too, but that experience made the Tarte Tatin an easy choice. It was delicious--I highly recommend it.

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  6. That is one beautiful icing job Susan! It's a stunning cake! I agree - the frosting was a bit strange, but you've mastered it. Fit for a 2-year-old (of any age)! Nicely done!
    mike
    web.me.com/mikejdunlap

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  7. I cook for teen boys and husband as I don't like chocolate, so I can't personally attest to this cake, but they loved it and they don't eat many cakes for some reason. Go figure. Different results for different bakers. Have you ever noticed how we all have the same recipe and yet everyone gets different results and different looks? Lots of fun each week to hear all about it. Make the tart...it was delicious! Happy New Year!

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  8. Bummer that this didn't work out for you! It sure looks pretty, and I love the 2 candle on top! As I like to say, there's always next Tuesday!

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  9. I HAVE to figure out how you did those swirls! *puts on extra-strength thinking cap*

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  10. You made this cake look like a million bucks! Yum! I love the number 2 candle!

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  11. Sorry this cake didn't work out for you - it certainly looks fabulous. Glad you joined us, and may we have another fun baking year with Dorie!

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  12. Oh.... my!!!!! Delicious!!!!!!!

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  13. Sure looks good. That counts for something. Sorry about your frosting.

    Haven't you changed the look of your blog? I like the new header and pictures on the side.

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  14. Ok I just now read your post about your new look. Where you live must be absolutely gorgeous. Wow!

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  15. Oh no! A chocolate cake fail is traumatic! Personally, we liked the cover cake, but I haven't made this one yet. Ina's Beatty's Big Cake was The.Best.Ever.

    I love your new look! I'm so glad to see you showcasing some of your beautiful photography.

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  16. Your cake looks stunning! Thanks for sharing :)

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  17. You did a beautiful job decorating the cake. No matter, the issues, your cake looks like a winner.

    I forgot to write on my blog about the amount of crumbs that collected but today was better and less crumbly.

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  18. Your cake looks so good...even though it didn't turn out that way. My cake wasn't very "chocolaty" either, but I didn't add the "optional" (semi-sweet, wasn't it?) chocolate, did you? I did however use the Marshmallow frosting and that WAS sweet so I don't think anyone at my work really noticed that the cake itself wasn't as sweet as we know cake to be....I guess we should have made the tart!!

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  19. oh no! my cupcakes are a little dry but still edible. i saw the comments about frosting graininess and played around a little. i love your cream cheese layer...mmmm:)

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  20. Oh no, what a bummer that this one was a disappointment for you guys. Your frosting is gorgeous though - so perfect! I made cupcakes, topped with a peanut butter frosting and thought they were pretty tasty but maybe that had a lot to do with the frosting...

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  21. I'm sorry the cake wasn't a hit but wow it's gorgeous- it really does look wonderful!

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  22. Sorry you weren't keen on the cake, but it looks great, nevertheless. I'm not a cake fan-can't seem to get rid of it in my house, although my husband is a chocolate freak.

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  23. It's hard to believe that cake doesn't taste delicious, because it looks beautiful. I'm totally a chocolate person, too, but I think you'll love the apple tarte tatin (mostly because it's covered in delicious caramel!).

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  24. Sorry that the cake didn't work for you. But it still looks really great in pictures!

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  25. Well, even if it didn't taste great, the swirls in the frosting are pretty. I personally thought it was a little dry but my husband loved it. Hmmm, it seems like there were a few bakers that had the same problems with this recipe.

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  26. Your cake looks beautiful, soory you didn't like it. Mine was a bit dry too.

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  27. Your cake looks fantastic, sorry it was disappointing. I definitely recommend the tarte tatin next time you want an apple dessert, it was really yummy!

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  28. Your cake LOOKS amazing!! Im sorry it didnt rank up there otherwise for you!

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  29. I think your cake looks amazing! I guess looks can't account for ease of effort or taste for that matter.

    But your frosting skills are high on the radar :D

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  30. Oh, and it looks so pretty, too! So sorry that it was a disappointment for you, though. And I'm guessing if anyone chooses STORE BOUGHT cookies over a home made dessert...it's not a good sign. Keep smiling!

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  31. Aaah, what a shame. It sure looks good, sorry the taste wasn't.

    There's always next week :)

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Please let me know what you think. I love to hear from other bakers.