Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Mousse Frosting

My church had a women’s brunch today, and my friend who was organizing it asked me to make a dessert. After spending hours searching through recipes and emailing with the aforementioned friend, I realized that our other friend’s birthday was this past Thursday but she hadn’t been in town to celebrate it. So I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and make a birthday cake.

This was quite the adventure. I’ve never made a layer cake before and I’ve never written on a cake with frosting, so this covered two firsts for me. A friend who is a crazy good baker/cook/is a food science major at UW Madison gave me some tips beforehand, so it turned out to not be that hard- or a piece of cake as my really punny high school teacher friend would say. Haha.

Anyway, while neither of those new experiences gave me much trouble, I did run into trouble with whipping cream by hand. I’ve made homemade whipped cream several times, and I’ve never run into this issue. Last night it happened TWICE in a row. It kind of freaked me out a bit. I always knew somewhere in the back of my head that when you whip heavy cream the cream has to be cold. I guess last night the cream was too warm, so when I whipped it, it separated out into butter and buttermilk! Finally the third time (I actually had to go out and get more heavy cream) I put the mixing bowl in the refrigerator and the whisk in the freezer and kept the cream cold and it came out fine.

All in all though this recipe was a success! Maybe next time I’ll be more adventurous and use hexagonal cake pans instead of boring old circular ones.

In other news I watched the Hunger Games movie tonight, let me know if you want to discuss!

Recipes from Joy of Baking and Allrecipes.com

Ingredients
For the cake:
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk, room temperature

For the chocolate mousse frosting:
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup cold water
1 (3.9 oz) package of instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

For the icing (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2-1 tbsp milk
food coloring (optional)

Other things that you’ll need:
1 ziplock bag, quart size
2 9″ cake pans
parchment paper
oil (for the pans)
stand mixer/hand mixer/whisk

Preheat the oven the 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using the stand mixer/hand mixer/whisk beat the butter until soft and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well mixed. Add vanilla extract. On low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mix, then 1/2 of the milk, then another 1/3 of the flour mix, then the remaining 1/2 of the milk, then the final 1/3 of the flour mix.

Prepare your cake pans by oiling the bottom, lining the bottom with parchment paper, then oiling the parchment paper.

Evenly divide the batter between your two 9″ cake pans and bake for 27-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry.

While the cake layers are baking, melt the unsweetened chocolate and mix with the sweetened condensed milk. While mixing, gradually add the water, then the pudding mix. When it’s well mixed, chill for around 30 min.

When the cake layers are done baking, remove from the oven and cool both layers. It is really important that the cakes are completely cooled before you frost them. I put mine in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.

When both layers have cooled, remove them carefully from the pans. Make sure to peel off the parchment paper (I almost forgot!). Place the bottom layer with the rounded side down (or cut off the rounded part off) and spread about 1-1 1/2 cups of the mousse frosting on top. Place the top layer flat side down on top and finish frosting the cake. Chill until ready to serve.

If you want to write/draw on top of the cake, make icing by first beating the butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract, then gradually add in the powdered sugar. Add milk in small increments until the icing reaches the desired tendency. Add food coloring (optional). Spoon the icing into a quart-sized ziplock bag. Cut off one of the corners of the bag to make a hole about 1-2 millimeters in diameter. Decorate your cake!

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