Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008 - dessert

This thanksgiving was a little bit different than other years. My grandmother recently turned 80, so we celebrated her birthday at the same time. I was in charge of the birthday cake. I almost never make layer cakes - for some reason, they intimidate me a little bit. I wanted a foolproof recipe that wasn't too complicated, since I had to split my time between the cake and other thanksgiving dishes. Who better to turn to than Dorie Greenspan? I pulled out her cookbook and settled on devil's food white-out cake, which looks beautiful on the front cover of the book. Here's a link to the recipe.

The recipe calls for baking the cake layers in 8"x2" rounds. I only had 9" rounds, so I went with that, and my layers came out a bit flat for obvious reasons. I wanted a tall, dramatic cake, so I went ahead and doubled the recipe, making a total of 4 layers and twice the frosting. Since my layers came out fairly thin (about 1") and flat, I decided not to slice them in half. The frosting is meringue based and pretty simple to make.

In the recipe, one of the cake layers is crumbled and used for decoration on the sides of the cake. I skipped this step, instead opting to use all 4 layers in the cake. I stuck a couple of skewers into the cake for some support, because I had to transport it later. I coated the outside of the cake with mini chocolate chips. I think this was a good move; the chocolate chips added a nice textural contrast.

Here's grandma with her cake:

She was thrilled, and I'm happy to say that the cake tasted as good as it looked. The meringue frosting kept it from being too heavy and rich. Everyone finished their piece after a huge thanksgiving meal, and a few people commented that it was the best cake they'd ever had.

We also had a pumpkin pie and some chocolate frosted pumpkin bars, but I didn't get a chance to get pictures of those.

26 comments:

Jo said...

that cake looks wonderful and your Grandmother looks so... gorgeous posing with her cake :) Neato!

By the way... I added you to my link list, hope you don't mind :)

priscilla said...

your grandma doesn't look 80, she looks like she loves that cake. and it looks great!!

We Are Never Full said...

whoa!! how did grandma get that cake in her mouth?! maybe cake is what makes her look so young?

i would've loved to have seen a slice of that on a plate.

Maris said...

Your grandma looks so young! I can't believe she's a grandma, I would have guessed that was your mom!

And her cake looks fab! :)

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Sara, that cake is gorgeous, as is your grandma! Mr. Hawthorne has been after me to make the cake.
Maybe next month for my birthday.

Manggy said...

Grandma's looking very strong and sassy still! Happy birthday to her :) Grrreat job on the cake. I love it when they're tall :)

Patsyk said...

Beautiful cake! How sweet of you to make her a special cake from scratch!

Happy cook said...

Wow the cake looks so high and yummy.
Happy belated b'day greeting to your lovely grandmother.

Allie said...

Your cake looks wonderful! It's so fancy with the meringue frosting I see why it was a winner with your family.

Maria said...

That cake looks so good! Your grandma is gorgeous too! Sounds like a fun day!

Joie de vivre said...

That cake does look fabulous. Your grandmother does too, I never would have guessed she was 80!

Judy said...

A very good-looking 80-year old, and a beautiful cake.

Annie said...

The cake is almost as beautiful as your grandma! Wow she looks wonderful. You are so lucky to have those genes! ;)

Robin Sue said...

How do I get your Grandma's genes? She looks so young and healthful and your cake looks so delicious and beautiful. Sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving!

Meg said...

The cake looks amazing and your grandma looks so happy!

Zesty Cook said...

That cakes looks awesome Sara!!! Great pic too :0

zesty

Debbie said...

That was the best cake ever!! Light but still very rich in taste and texture. Debbie

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A beautiful cake! Lucky her!

Your grandmother looks beautiful and a lot younger than 80...

Cheers,

Rosa

Tartelette said...

Dude, I want to look like your grandma when I get to be 80!!! Wow!!

Katherine said...

It turned out great, Sara! I don't really know Dorie Greenspan at all. I'll have to try her out. I love that sweet potato recipe. I'm curious what changes you made to Ina's sweet potato dish. My sister-in-law brought delicious sweet potatoes to thanksgiving this year, but I must admit, I really missed having these. :)

Your grandma is gorgeous!

Grace said...

nicely done--the perfect birthday cake! happy birthday to your grandma. :)

Reeni said...

A gorgeous cake for a gorgeous Grandmother! Four layers of YUM!

Erica said...

ahhhhhhhhhh the cake turned out BEAUTIFUL and how great is your grandma? Good job! I have never made a layer cake :)

Erin said...

Looks delicious! I love the addition of the chocolate chips!

Barbara said...

What a wonderful birthday cake for your grandmother! I love the height of that cake. I bake cakes, but I'm a klutz at decorating them.

Yasmeen said...

Belated Happy birth day grand ma:)
Sara you did an excellent job putting together such a delectable cake:)