I hardly felt 16, and now I'm already 17. I still feel like I'm 14 or 15 years old; I wish I were because it was nice not having to worry about university or scholarships... or life. I guess I used to like birthdays more because being older seemed cool. It's not really as cool now, so I don't like to make a big deal about my birthday. Wow, this post has just been a big ball of sadness so far, LOL. Here's a happy song to balance this post out.
I didn't do much on my birthday because I like to keep it pretty low-key. I guess that didn't really work because people at school sang happy birthday and wished me a happy birthday throughout the day, which was really sweet. I managed to get into contact with some official city people about starting up a community garden in my local park, and it seems like a possibility for 2013! That's enough of a birthday present right there! After school, I removed some nasty Himalayan blackberry with my friends' eco club. I actually really enjoy invasive species removal, so I did it on my birthday. After I came home, I was dead tired and I managed to sleep for 15 hours. I don't even know how. I really like sleep, so I guess it was a much needed gift to myself!
If it wasn't already obvious enough, I made my own cake for my birthday. Before you feel sad for me, it wasn't because my mom wouldn't get me a cake (she would have if I asked). I just thought this would be my fun baking project for Saturday. I've never made a two-layer cake but I figured I might as well ignore the disgustingly high amounts of fat and sugar for this "special" occasion.
The cake was so easy to put together. It literally took only a few minutes because everything pretty much went into one bowl. I only have one cake pan, so I had to halve the recipe and bake that first. Then after I removed the cake, I mixed together the second layer to my cake. The batter almost overflowed (both times), which was frightening. I didn't want a huge disaster in my oven, but thankfully nothing happened. I would have cried if I had to clean my oven after attempting to bake my own birthday cake.
The frosting was super easy to make, and the specks of instant coffee granules in it are gorgeous. Because I'm not a professional cake decorator, I don't have an offset spatula. I just used a dull cake knife to spread the frosting. It was my first time ever frosting a cake! I don't think it'll be my last time after this success!
This cake is so moist. I don't even know how it's so rich. It's unreal. The coffee frosting is amazing and if butter didn't kill, I would eat it with a spoon. My mom totally approves of this cake, and she ate the cake with the frosting too! She never eats the frosting on cakes! Eat this in small slices (like 1/16 slices) with a glass of milk. Then you can faint!
Mocha Cake with Coffee Frosting
Adapted from Allrecipes
Yield: 1 9-inch 2-layer cake (phew!)
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 cup hot water
For the frosting:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons + 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules, divided
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans* and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugars, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add in the oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Dissolve the instant coffee granules in the hot water, and add it to the mixing bowl. Stir until the batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, and then turn it onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer (or just a whisk) for about 30 seconds on medium speed. Dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules in the hot water and pour it into the bowl. Beat the coffee with the butter for about a minute. Then add in the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add in the vanilla and salt, and mix. Pour in the remaining instant coffee granules and combine.
To assemble, peel off the parchment paper from the cakes (because you don't want to be eating parchment paper). Put about 1/3 of the frosting on the top of the bottom cake layer (does that even make any sense?). Then place the top cake layer on top of the bottom (duh), and use about 1/3 of the frosting. Use the remaining frosting to cover the sides. Voilà!
*Using 8-inch pans may cause the batter to overflow when being baked because the batter got close to overflowing in my 9-inch pan.