Father’s Day Cake – an in depth look

Posted on June 25, 2012


I feel like I have described, ad nauseam, how much my father likes chocolate, cookies, desserts — things that involve sugar, or most combinations of the aforementioned with chocolate. He’s the guy who used to lick the cake so that his sisters wouldn’t want to eat it. Then when we were kids, he would threaten to lick our sweets so he could have seconds. This trick worked fantastically well with me, because I’m easily pinned as a germaphobe. I will easily not accept food from somebody who’s hygiene is in question, or just unknown to me. I don’t like eating food that people have touched a lot, especially if I’ve had to see them handle the food…

This puts quite a kink in plans to eat out, you might think. I can, at times, try hard enough to put it out of my mind that I can get through a meal at a restaurant. But I usually end up thinking about it, just a little bit at the least, and getting grossed out. This is one of the things that motivates me constantly to cook at home. I can control most of the environment I’m in, and that makes me happy is a good thing, cause I’m a bit of a control freak. Any wonder, if I’m not into other people touching my foods, I’ve only very recently (technically speaking…) been ok with sharing food and drinks with my boyfriend, who I’ve been “sharing meals” with since I met him, almost 11 years ago. Sharing meals is a VERY DIFFERENT thing than sharing food. Yuck. But, I digress…

Where was I? Oh. Yes. Cake. Chocolate Cake.

this is the cake that we had, I made, it’s the tallest cake I’ve tried to make – ever

So, here is what we had going on for Father’s Day this year – my cousin from Texas was going to be in Boston, I found this out around Thursday, and by Friday we had a plan to have everybody come over to our new apartment, for those of whom hadn’t yet seen it – we could do a tour, and for those of whom had seen it, we now had places to sit, and enough dishes to feed all of them at once with. I was searching for a recipe for a dessert that everybody would like, and that involved enough chocolate for the chocolate lover we were celebrating, but enough flavor and a good icing, or detail that everybody who wasn’t coo-coo over chocolate would also enjoy (that’s me, I was really thinking about myself if we’re being honest…) I found this recipe for chocolate cake that was raved about on several blogs. I figured it was really the way I should go. Plus I showed a blog post photo of the cake to my roommates, and they agreed that it looked tasty.

I managed to make this cake on Saturday night, and when they came out of the oven, they were outrageously short -as noted in my very sleepy previous description. They never rose in the cake pans. I was perplexed, couldn’t figure it out. I covered them and went to sleep. Sunday morning, I took the recipe, and wrote it down on a piece of paper, which is sometimes easier for me to follow… oh, wait! what? Baking Soda, you say? Oh, did I not put it in, or not put it ALL in last night? I was determined to try again. I made another two layers, which did raise in the oven… My roommate and I had a good laugh when I told her about how I effed up the first ones. She said, they still smelled good, which made me wonder if I could still use them….

The ones that I made that Sunday morning came out much more cake like, way less dense, and way less like a fudgey mess. It was quite the relief to see that I could manage to make a cake without messing it up completely twice in a row… I tasted the first set, and accidentally ripped one of them, so I tossed it in the trash. I then had one short/squat 9″ round cake, and two 9″ rounds that were normal sized thickness. I decided that I would cut them in half and make a really tall cake – and use the buttercream frosting that I found to break up the dense cake in the middle. I ended up only slicing the messed up layer, so it was a 4 layer cake.

So it looked like this top to bottom:

full layer
half layer
half layer
full layer

It calls for chocolate buttercream frosting in this recipe. I wasn’t really feeling the chocolate on chocolate combo. I needed something that would break up the chocolate, and make it seem a little lighter. I found this really good sounding recipe for buttercream frosting that is not flavored.

Classic Buttercream Frosting

I made 1-1/2 times the recipe because I read on another blog about frosting cakes that you would need a certain amount of icing for 4 layers.

  • 1-1/2 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (not melted!)
  • 4-1/2-5 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • 1/4 (x1.5) teaspoon table salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

up to 5-6 tablespoons milk or heavy cream (I used heavy cream, because I bought a bunch of it thinking I would make strawberry shortcake at some point in the near future…)

In stand mixer: Beat butter til smooth. On medium, for a few minutes.
Turn to lowest speed, add 4-1/2 cups sugar – about one cup at a time.
Turn to medium speed: add salt, vanilla, and 3 tbsp of heavy cream.
Assess texture of icing, you can add more sugar or cream to even out texture and “togetherness” of frosting.

put down a little icing on the dish you are going to serve the cake on so it stays in place as you ice it, move it, cut it, and serve it.

This made more than enough icing to cover the cake that I made. I probably could’ve gotten away with making just a single batch of icing, no need to make 1-1/2 times the icing. But, really —- is too much icing really a problem?! Not in my mind. I gladly “tasted” quite a bit of it after icing the cake….

I have a shaky hand, thats for sure. But I decided to add a few raspberries on the top to distract from the sloppy lines of my attempt at doing some designs on the sides of the cake. I had a bunch of extra fruits from making sangria earlier. Raspberry seemed like the easiest to use to add to chocolate. Less triage needed than strawberries too. No cutting/hulling involved just washing, drying and inspecting.

It was a hit! It went really good with coffee, possibly because it’s made with coffee… But, I’d easily suggest making this cake for somebody you know who likes chocolate, or cake, or the two combined.