I had a birthday. A big one. The big 4-0. And I’m loving my new decade. I don’t feel older than I normally do. I’d say I don’t feel old, but my kids ensure I get no more than three hours of sleep a night…. so in that way, I feel oooold and tired. But, that’s it. I do feel wiser in a “screw what the world thinks” kind of way. Of course, I didn’t pay much mind before, but even less now. I already see myself turning into the batty old woman that others mutter about when they see me coming “Oh God, here comes Dana again. What’s that lunatic up to this time?” I love that feeling and I truly hope I’m the village nutter.
As for my birthday cake, I relied upon the brilliant Stella Parks. May I just say, I think she’s awesome? Every time I tweet her a question she responds. She’s so nice. Not to mention a brilliant baker and is quirky herself.
So, for me, I made her Toasted Sugar Angel Food Cake. Yuuuum…. Angel food is one of my favorite cakes. The others being funfetti and dark chocolate. I haven’t had an angel food cake in an extremely long time and it was overdue. I toasted the sugar for three hours in the oven on a low temp to caramelize but not liquefy and it adds a subtle undertone of sugar crackle – a sugar brittle flavor. I like it and will do it again. Here’s a link to her angel food cake.
I adorned this cake with the lovely Nigella’s chocolate frosting, but I also made a strawberry sauce to go with it because it’s my birthday and I don’t have to decide which I prefer, I can have both.
Nigella’s frosting was the perfect consistency, nice and oozy. Very chocolate-y, very messy. A lovely luscious alternative to the canned variety and one Miles had trouble keeping his little fingers out of.
You may be looking at the photos and wondering if it really would have been too much trouble to wipe the knife down between cuttings. But two things, one, to get a clean slice you can’t have this frosting on the cake and two, there’s cake to eat! No time to be neat, pictures be damned!
This is a great cake, I hope you make it for your birthday too.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting – adapted from Nigella’s Feast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
6 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup or light corn syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (a Dana addition)
Slowly melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over gently simmering water or slowly in the microwave. If you do this quickly, the chocolate could seize and break or burn. Once the chocolate and butter have melted together, let them cool.
Sieve the confectioners sugar into the chocolate mixture. (Nigella offers to do this in a food processor to blitz up and lumps, but I’m far to lazy to want to clean the processor. I’d rather deal with a minor lump or two, but it turned out smooth regardless.)
Add the golden syrup (which I used) or light corn syrup to the mixture followed by the sour cream and vanilla.
In a small bowl or mug add a teaspoon or two of hot water from the tap to the espresso powder to dissolve. Add to the chocolate mixture.
If the frosting isn’t at the consistency you’d like add either confectioners sugar or water by the teaspoon to adjust. Slather all over the cake, don’t forget to lick the bowl.
Simple Strawberry Sauce – my own concoction
1 pound frozen strawberries, chopped
1/2 – 1 cup confectioners sugar
a two finger pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put the strawberries, confectioners sugar, sea salt, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer – not a boil – and let the strawberries breakdown, stirring every so often.
Off heat add the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of vanilla. Stir. Taste to see if it needs any adjusting.