I’m going to share two secrets with you. Although I suppose nothing is a secret once it’s published on the Internet.
1) I haven’t baked nor decorated a layer cake since January 2009.
2) In the almost 8 years we have been together, I have baked my husband only 1 cake. Yes, even during the years we were dating and still in “I’m out to impress you” mode.
Bizarre, right? Well, I decided I was going to end both streaks in one shot by baking hubby his birthday cake. BTW, he has had something with a candle in it every year, it’s just either his mom made it, or it wasn’t a cake. So none of you have to boohoo him about it.
Here it is. The parenthetic “Jon” is from years of his family trying to get me to call him by his full given name, with me resisting along with all of his school friends. This was the compromise.
My experience: I’ve tried a couple of recipes in Rose Levy Berenbaum’s The Cake Bible, and the woman is a genius chemist and baker. Problem is, even with her very specific instructions, success still requires finesse and practice. The result? A yellow cake that was delicious, but a bit dry on my first run. No problem – cover it with chocolate ganache, fill it with Nutella mousse, and you forget about the crumbies. Except for the oh-so-permanent state of photographs:
Still, I can’t be upset that it still ended up gloriously 12 inches high and that mousse (my own recipe) was fantastic. If you butter me up enough (not too much, I’m relatively lactose-intolerant) maybe I’ll share the mousse recipe with you.