The Piece de Resistance
Amazingly, after three appetizers and a three-part main dish, we still had room for dessert. Good thing, since I had spent three days making it.
What birthday party would be complete without a cake? This was only the second time I had attempted to make a fancy decorated cake like the pros make. I’m no Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes fame, but I can pretend, can’t I?
If you don’t know about him, he is the owner of a bakery that makes cakes in all shapes and sizes, from football stadiums, to dogs, to CAT scan machines, to ears…whatever the client wants. He and his talented staff are featured on a Food Network show which always leaves me itching to try my hand at rolled fondant and minute piping details.
For my masterpiece, I had something a lot less difficult in mind. It was a square, two-layered cake with a mango filling, buttercream frosting, and decorated with chocolate to look like a present, complete with patterned wrapping paper, ribbon, and bow.
I had worked on it for several hours over three days’ time, and it was in the fridge, hardening. Or so I hoped.
I crossed my fingers and pulled the cake from the fridge. Success!
The chocolate clay I had used to decorate with had firmed up when it chilled, so the bow held its shape. We removed the foil which had provided support to the loops as they hardened. Waxed paper pieces under the edges of the cake, to catch all the drips and crumbs, were pulled out, and voila! Birthday Cake!
The cake itself was a veganized version of the recipe found on Hershey’s cocoa boxes. It is a moist, yet light cake, almost fudgy in texture, with surprisingly little fat, in the form of canola oil. I added some spices and concentrated coffee for part of the liquid to give it a subtle mocha flavor. So subtle, apparently, that I was the only one who could taste it. I’m not a coffee drinker and dislike a strong coffee flavor, so this was perfect for me.
I used real butter this time to make a buttercream frosting, although I have made it in the past with a vegan margarine-like product, with great results. Between the layers, I spread a mango filling flavored with cardamom, ginger, and orange.
On the side was a vegan mango-tofu frozen dessert made with soymilk and spices. No recipe, since I made it last summer when mangoes were falling off the trees and I had to use them all quickly before they rotted, and I don’t remember what exactly went into it.
I’ll post step-by-step pictures of making the cake. You will be able to see the progression from pile of crumbs to finished masterpiece, and yes, it was as delicious as it looks!