Let Them Eat Birthday Cake (Part II)

My favorite young goalie makes a save at the Verizon Center.

 
My nephew Michael loves to play and watch hockey. During hockey season he follows the exploits of the Washington Capitals.
 
He has even been known to read the newspaper (which I certainly never did when I was ten) in order to keep up with the latest Caps news.
 
I shudder to think what family life will be like when he realizes that entire chat rooms on the internet are devoted to analyzing the team’s performance on the ice.
 
When Michael’s birthday rolled around last week, his mother Leigh asked me to design a birthday cake that would (a) taste yummy and (b) look like a hockey puck.
 
“A” was not a stretch. All my cakes taste wonderful (probably because I’m so modest).
 
“B” was more challenging. Luckily, I knew I would have Leigh to help. She is much better at presentation than I am.
 
Even with her help the cake was a learning experience! As I mentioned in my recent cupcake post we had a couple of tries to get it right since like royalty Michael enjoyed a public birthday as well as a real one.
 
My concept was a chocolate cake with fudge frosting that would include a moon-pie-like marshmallow filling. (I know this is a bit excessive, but I also know kids love marshmallow filling.)
 
We started out with a pan from Williams-Sonoma with ridged edges, designed to mimic a chocolate sandwich cookie. The cake was adorable, but the ridges made it difficult to frost.
 
Even when we used a straightforward round cake pan we had a little trouble with the filling, which tended to melt and ooze when confronted with warm frosting.
 

 
Our solution was to refrigerate the cake and filling—and to make sure that the filling didn’t go all the way to the edge of the cake.
 
For one version of the cake we added butter to the frosting (you’ll see I’ve marked it as optional in the recipe). The butter made it possible to frost the cake later in the life of the frosting—that is, when the frosting was almost cool. It made the frosting a little less fudgy, however. This didn’t bother me, but Leigh was disappointed.
 
You may ice your cake either way. Frankly, delicious as both versions were, I don’t want to see another chocolate cake for a long time. It’s all yours now, dear readers…… 
 
 
Washington Capitals Puck Cake
 
For the Cake:
 
Ingredients:
 
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 squares (1 ounce each) baking chocolate
3/4 cup hot water
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the baking powder and soda.
 
Melt the chocolate in the hot water. Add the flour to the mixture alternately with the milk. Stir in the chocolate and hot water. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch layer pans (you may use 8-inch pans, but 9-inch pans look more puck like), and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack before removing them from the pans. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.
 
For the Filling:
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream
 
Instructions:
 
Beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Fold in the marshmallow cream.
 
For the Frosting:
 
Ingredients:
 
2 cups sugar
4 squares (1 ounce each) baking chocolate
2 eggs
6 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla
 
Instructions:
 
Place the sugar, chocolate, eggs, milk, and butter (if you are using it) in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
 
Cool the mixture for about 15 minutes. (If you use the butter, you may wait an hour before you use the frosting.)
 
For Assembly:
 
Ingredients:
 
2 layers of cake
filling
icing (you may have a little of this leftover, or you may skip the filling and use the icing between layers)
additional colored icing of your choice for decorating the puck
 
Instructions:
 
Bake the cake and allow it to cool completely. Assemble the filling, and spread it on the bottom layer of the cake. Do not go quite all the way to the edge of the cake. Refrigerate both layers, separately, lightly covered with foil to keep them from drying out.
 
Make the frosting. When it has cooled sufficiently to be usable assemble the cake layers and quickly but firmly spoon and spread the icing over the cake. Return the cake to the refrigerator until ready to decorate.
 
Decorate just before serving. Serves at least 10. 

Here are a couple of our experiments......

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4 Responses to “Let Them Eat Birthday Cake (Part II)”

  1. Mattenylou says:

    Happy Birthday Michael!

    I know some big kids that still love marshmallow filling, I’ll have to give it a try!

  2. commonweeder says:

    Fortunately no one in my family requests anything more than a standard cake with candles – and I use James Beard’s 1-2-3-4 cake that makes three layers. That is fancy enough. Do you know my son once dared say to me he really preferred Duncan Hines cake? Where did he get a Duncan Hines cake! Really!

  3. tinkyweisblat says:

    As you can tell from my previous post, Commonweeder, I am also a 1-2-3-4 girl. I can only presume the Duncan Hines crack was a joke. I happen to know you’re a great baker. And Mattenylou, do let me know if you use the filling. It was really yummy–with enough butter to soften the flavor and texture of the marshmallow!

  4. Well this is just darn adorable.

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