Last year on the day before my birthday, I came home from work to get ready for a celebratory dinner and walked into the apartment to see to a kitchen that looked like a scene out of my worst nightmare. There were dishes piled high in the sink, bowls littering the floor, and flour dusting every discernible surface.
Scott was making my birthday cake.
In his defense, the cake recipe complicated, involved multiple steps, several layers, caramel, filling and frosting, and he worked for a couple of days putting it together before and after work when I wasn’t home, hoping to surprise me with it (so sweet!). The end result was fabulous and worth every ounce of effort, and we savored that cake for days, not wanting it to be done.
Keeping with the high standard birthday cake baking that has inadvertently become our tradition, I knew that when Scott’s birthday rolled around a few weeks ago, I wanted to treat him to a cake that we’d enjoy just as much. I practically put myself into a cold sweat trying to look for a cake that I thought he’d like and after some serious internet scouring and thought, I settled on a cake featuring one of my favorite sweet combinations. It was very a good idea.
Best of all, it took me just over 2 hours (not 2 days! Ah! I have no patience for that.) in all to make this cake, clean up, and frost it, which I consider a decent accomplishment. And Scott loved it, which made me happy.
Something about homemade layer cakes for a birthday are so right. As a kid, my mom always baked cakes for our birthdays. Every single year. It was one of her (and my dad’s) many ways of taking time to show us that our birthdays were important and worth celebrating. We probably didn’t realize that at the time, of course, but now it makes so much sense. You bake a cake (or something sweet) for the people you love on their birthdays because it’s a great, special thing to do and because it makes everyone happy to celebrate. Cakes mean celebration!
Every aspect of this chocolate peanut butter cake I baked for Scott is complete perfection, worthy of a birthday celebration (or any kind of celebration, for that matter). The layers are moist and rich with a subtle hint of coffee and vanilla. The cake base is creamy and silky with a noticable, but not overwhelming, chocolate flavor that is just strong enough to hold its own against the creamy, addictive frosting. I wanted to bathe in that frosting It’s like sweet peanut butter cream that’s completely addictive and matches incredibly well to the chocolate cake beneath it.
The only slight problem I encountered while making this was that after I refrigerated the frosting, it hardened slightly and was difficult to apply to the cake. After fighting with it for a few minutes, I left it out on the counter for a while to let it thin a bit, and then the consistency was perfect for frosting the cake.
We savored this cake for several days before it was gone, and it was incredible the whole time, even after sitting out on the kitchen table barely covered by foil for part of it (which I wouldn’t necessarily advise, but…that’s how we do).
Best of all, we don’t have long to wait for the next birthday cake to make an appearance at our place; my birthday is this Sunday (!) and I think I will be having two cakes this year. (I know. Crazy. My mom wants to bake me a vegan cake from the cookbook I bought her for Christmas. How could I say no to an extra cake?!)
Have a happy weekend!
One Year Ago: Restaurants | Gramercy Tavern