Monday, May 25, 2009

Dirty Thirties

I haven't had much time to blog since being back from vacation. I only had a few days to get the house cleaned up and to bake treats and a birthday cake. This past Saturday was Brett's 30th birthday! He was surprised Friday night when he answered the door and found his brother and 2 of his very best friends from the Okanagan were standing on our doorstep. Brett honestly thought he was going to celebrate this monumental birthday solo! Silly boy!

I forgot to take a photo of it, but I made yummy peanut butter bars that had natural PB mixed with oatmeal and chunks of chocolate as the base with a cream cheese and PB icing on top. It was super dee-lish! I was originally going to make this Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa chocolate cake recipe that was in one of her cookbooks, but my cousin Tracy gave me another recipe for chocolate cake that she claims is the best cake she has ever eaten and made. So I thought I would give it a go. It was definitely a super easy cake to make and resulted in a very rich and intensely chocolatey cake. I never baked a layer cake before and was a little nervous that my layers would come out wonky and end up looking like roadkill or something. I was also a little skeptical about how it would taste since the cake itself contains no butter. I had just assumed that everything has butter in it!

So the cake consists of 2 layers of cake made with Dutch-processed cocoa and a cup of strong coffee (to bring out the chocolate goodness), with a thick layer of chocolate filling that was made up from both milk and dark chocolate. I had extra filling left over, since this cake was suppose to be a 3 layered cake but I got too lazy and decided to make it only 2 layers, and so I had spread the extra filling all over the cake (so that I could make it even and stuff). Unfortunately I do not possess an offset spatula (it's on my wish list!) and so when I poured the ganache on top my little butter knife couldn't spread the warm chocolate all around the cake in a smooth manner.
Oh well! The cake still tasted great. I had fresh raspberries on hand so I decorated the edge of the cake with them. I also completely forgot that the only candles I had were pink stars, but it really didn't matter since Brett is color-blind and expects me to make everything pink anyways. So why disappoint him? I still want to try Ina Garten's chocolate cake recipe. Don't get me wrong, this cake was yummy but it didn't live up to the raving reviews that my cousin had given it.

Anyways, Brett's birthday weekend was spent drinking beers, having a BBQ, time at the beach...good food with good people, having good conversations. Brett's not about flashy celebrations, this was his kind of fun, and so he had a great weekend. While he's still recovering I'll be spending the next few days cleaning up!!
Chinese beer that I brought back from Nelson, courtesy of my uncle, for Brett to try out

In the meantime, we've got our anniversary and my birthday coming up in a matter of days and weeks! This house will never get cleaned up!

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