Monday, May 07, 2007

A Blue's Clues Birthday

My nephew turned two this weekend and that meant a trip for "Aunt D" to San Francisco to make the cake. This has become quite the tradition with me making semi-annual trips west for the production of the birthday cakes (my niece's birthday is in October).

Having few words yet, Will couldn't specifically ask for me to make his cake yet. However, Maggie took care of this for him for this year (mostly so I would visit and she could eat my famous chocolate cake).

Since Will has not shown an interest in anything but Blue's Clues and trains, I decided to draw Blue onto the cake as it was something I knew he would recognize. He was so thrilled with the cake, he immediately stuck his finger into the icing on Blue's ear (note above). He ended up coming back for more and more nibbles of cake and icing as his playing with his friends permitted.

The cake was a huge success and Maggie has already started talking about what she wants for her next party!

The Perfect Chocolate Cake
Serves 12 adults or 24 kids

1 Cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 Cups water boiling
2 3/4 Cups flour, all-purpose sifted
2 Teaspoons baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Cup butter, unsalted softened
2 1/2 Cups sugar, white
4 Each egg, whole
1 1/2 Teaspoons extract, vanilla

In a medium bowl, combine cocoa with boiling water, mixing with whisk until smooth. Cool completely.

Sift flour with soda, salt and baking powder.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well and lightly flour 1/4-sheet pan.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla on high speed, about 5 minutes.

At low speed, beat in flour mixture in fourths, alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Do not overbeat. Pour into cake pans and smooth top.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Loosen sides and remove from pan; cool on rack.

Buttercream Icing
2 Cup crisco, butter-flavored
2 Pound sugar, powdered
2 Teaspoon extract, vanilla
4 Tablespoons milk, skim

Cream shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

Rewhip before using.

Add appropriate icing coloring to achieve desired colored icing for decorating your cake.