Saturday, March 24, 2012

Half Birthday Cake

Several weeks ago, my friend and coworker, Rebecca began strategically advocating for the celebration of her half birthday -- a ploy for which I would be required to make her a birthday cake. Somehow she managed to work this half baked idea into nearly half of our conversations. Discussing a plea set for 3/23, she coyly said: You know that's my half birthday? Or when she mentioned going to her Dance Trance class at the YMCA last Thursday, and I told her I couldn't because I was making a birthday cake for my buddy, David, she matter-of-factly stated: Oh, you're practicing making my birthday cake?

I don't know how it happened, but sometime between last Thursday and this Wednesday, I began to half way consider it. Sure, making a birthday cake to commemorate a half birthday would set bad precedent in the office; I could barely keep up with our office's baked good demands as it was. Then again, it would be quite hilarious to show up with a half birthday cake.

As you can see, I succumbed to Rebecca's oh-so-subtle requests. It was quite the hit with the half birthday girl, as well as with the half of the office still there on a Friday at 3:30pm. My co-worker, James, even followed me into my office, had me pull out my calendar, pointed to his half birthday, and put in a half birthday cake request.

I guess I was right about precedent.

White Chocolate Whisper Cake
adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Makes one 8" round.

Preheat oven 350ยบ

In a small bowl, combine:
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir vigorously for 30 seconds. If unmelted chocolate still remains, microwave a bit longer, being careful not to overcook the chocolate. Set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly beat together:
2 ounces egg whites
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Set aside.

In an electric mixing bowl, combine:
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix for 30 seconds to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Add to the dry ingredients:
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup butter

Beat at a low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Beat at a medium speed for one minute.

In three batches, add the egg mixture, mixing for 20 seconds, and scraping down the bottom and sides after each addition.

Add the melted white chocolate and incorporate by mixing for 30 seconds at medium speed. [Note: Make sure the chocolate is still very warm so that it incorporates fully.]

Pour into a greased, floured, and lined cake pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before assembling and icing.

Chocolate Espresso Icing [I just used the leftovers from David's birthday cake, which turned out to be the perfect amount. Buttercream frostings can be refrigerated for up to a week; frozen they will stay good for months.]

Sing half of the birthday song and eat up!

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