Recipe quick takes: Birthday Cake 2015

In the week before Christmas, I baked three different things, the first of which was my birthday cake. It seems a bit weird to bake a cake for one’s own birthday, but I’ve found it’s the best way to preempt otherwise well-meaning people from getting me a cake that I don’t like (ew, coffee) or can’t calculate the calorie toll for.

Birthday cake decorated with crushed peppermint candy
The frosting is based on the standard Italian Meringue Buttercream I wrote about back in August, but I added peppermint flavoring (should have looked harder for the extract!) to give it a light minty flavor, and added crushed peppermint candy cane on top for decoration.

Interior of birthday cake
The cake itself is Ovenly’s Black Chocolate Stout Cake, using all black cocoa (not half-and-half) and the same beer as before (still two bottles left!). The filling I used was leftover milk-chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream from the Joanne Chang recipe I made back in October — I wanted something that would complement the dark, bittersweet chocolatey cake without competing with it, flavor-wise, and my tasters all thought it was an excellent choice.

Slice of birthday cake
As before, the stout cake has a wonderfully moist, dense texture, so portion sizes need not be large. Unlike the previous time, however, my layers were a bit over-risen along the outside, despite use of cake strips, so I had to cut off the tops of both nine-inch layers. I had originally hoped for layers that would be tall enough individually to allow making two shorter cakes, but ended up using both layers, unsplit. At 16 slices (my usual assumption for layer cakes) that worked out to about 690 kcal per slice; due to imprecision in the calculation I’m not going to be providing the full details here.

Because the week before Christmas is so light, and most people are on break, I ended up with out a quarter of the cake left over, which I stuck in the freezer. Hopefully I’ll remember to eat the rest once the weather gets warmer and I can afford the calories again!

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