Chocolate Cake. Chocolate Frosting.

>> Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm switching the order of my posts this week to bring you this beautiful disaster:

I have been dreaming of a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for what seems like weeks now. Cake baking is the sort of thing that takes planning and time, which is probably why I end up mixing together so many cookies instead. (Latest favorites here and here.)

Last night, I had an extra half hour, and I decided to use that that wisely. I mixed the cake batter together while Stephen fed Ada her dinner. I whisked the frosting together during their daddy-daughter play-time. And I let it cool, for like five seconds, and frosted it during her bath.

Now, I'm not a betting man, but I think that's where it all went wrong.

I don't profess to be a master baker of any sort. Cooking + baking are a continual process of learning for me. Having a blog doesn't give me any more skills, credentials, or authority than your garden variety home cook.

Yet -- I get a lot of questions in my inbox starting with "I know this might seem silly/stupid/obvious . . . "

No. I assure you: These questions rarely are any of those things. Keep 'em coming, and I will try my very best to help. Though, after this post, I am sure the flow of emails will slow considerably. You are all now thinking: "She doesn't have the slightest clue what she's doing!"

Sigh. I learned last night when you don't let a cake completely finish baking OR cool properly (uhm, cake baking 101?) AND you make a too-thick frosting by adding a little lot extra powdered sugar, that said cake will fall apart.

When using a knife gets too cumbersome, you'll end up frosting it with your fingers. Taking breaks every now/then to lick off the crumbs. Waves of shame washing over your body. Or is that the sugar rush from the frosting? It will be difficult to distinguish because, after a while, they become one.

The whole thing will become a (delicious) mess.

Truth be told, this is the best cake I've ever eaten. Moist and fluffy, the frosting not too sweet (for my taste). Chocolate upon chocolate. I'd rather wait to share the recipes until the execution can be judged a 10.0. Or perhaps an 8.

Also: Did you know you don't need a light box to take OK-ish photos in complete darkness? 

Just invest in the 3 cheap lamps + daylight bulbs in this post. Set them up in much the same way . . . switch them on . . . and shoot in manual mode. You do lose a bit of control of shadows, the lighting isn't IDEAL, but it works in a pinch.

My settings for these photos were mostly 1/160, f/2.5, ISO250 and I used my very favorite 30mm lens. The 50mm lens would have worked well, too.

SWITCHING GEARS: Later today on Writing Chapter Three, I'll be writing about Ada's first gym daycare experience. Her first daycare experience of any sort, for that matter. As you can see, we had fun working out together.

On a related note . . . and not to sound like a total B . . .

Don't you HATE IT when your treadmill neighbor spies on your workout? I did intervals last night, and the person next to me wouldn't stop gawking and then upping her own pace in response. I wasn't imagining it either. She'd glance over, nudge her MPH up, and eventually bonk/have to walk. Ugh. Then she gave ME a dirty look when I left.

What annoys you most at the gym?

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