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wedding cake: the chocolate

September 5, 2011

Can I tell you guys a secret? Lean in close, because this one’s a doozy:

Moving is EXHAUSTING. We started on Thursday and we still have quite a ways/a bit of more furniture to go before our office and workout/bulk storage/random room look livable…But luckily, with Laurel’s help, our living/dining room and bedroom look much more presentable now (if still a bit depressing because we haven’t put any photos up yet).

AND, most importantly, our kitchen is set up. And it is glorious and I’m a little bit obsessed with it. Wanna see?

When Chris and I were looking for apartments, our priority list went roughly: (1) good kitchen, (2) hardwood floors, and (3) a roof. We hit all three with this one!

Bonus kitchen nook, with an extra prep surface Chris MacGyver’d from one of his old media carts!

And look at all that cabinet space…I have a feeling any apartment after this one is going to be a bit of a letdown.

And now, back to baking. Considering that this cake was meant to be sturdy and stackable, I was pleasantly surprised by how moist and plush it still managed to be–even after overnight freezing (essential for decorating). Deb from Smitten Kitchen filled it with ganache, but I wanted to do something with almond and the vanilla tier was already reserved for mango curd, so by my highly scientific process of elimination, this is what I came up with.

Actually, that’s a lie–the filling you see in this photo isn’t the one I’m most satisfied with; I re-made this cake in one tier for my mom’s birthday with a filling that was more almond-y and less pudding-y than the one I made for my parents’ party. I’m posting the final version here; don’t be alarmed!

Chocolate (Wedding) Cake with Almond Filling
3 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
3 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon [I left this out–I figured the almond would give it enough flavor interest and didn’t want too many competing flavors…plus I’m not crazy about the chocolate-cinnamon combo, and clearly this anniversary party was about what I wanted. *cough, cough*]
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 sticks (12 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
1 package marzipan [usually in the baking aisle, next to almond paste and pie fillings]
3-4 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until moistened, scraping down the sides and bottom frequently. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Whisk the eggs and coffee together an add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only until blended after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans; each pan will take about 3 1/4 cups of batter.
4. Bake for 38 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully turn them out onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. Remove the paper liners once cooled, flash-freeze on a rack for 30 minutes to 1 hour [meaning, don’t cover the cake with anything, just leave it open to the freezer air–this part is essential, as I found out when I made my mom’s cake and just wrapped them and stuck them straight into the freezer, where they bent around the food stuff already in the freezer, resulting in funky spaces between the layers when I assembled]. Triple-wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.
5. For the filling, cut the marzipan into chunks and place in a food processor. Process up a bit and drizzle in the milk a little at a time until you reach a spreadable, jam-like consistency.

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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