Thursday, May 06, 2010
Mini Layer Cakes
This week is Teacher Appreciation week at my boys' school. There is a theme for each day, but, alas, I've not done ANYTHING. With a tinge of self-loathing, I berated myself for a couple of minutes and then decided to do something with a bang. After all, we do appreciate my boys' teachers; both of the school-age boys adore them. I do want to show our appreciation for their hard work. I initially thought I'd make a cake for each teacher, but that was starting to add up (and would've taken HOURS), so Quinn (the genius) suggested making small layer cakes. I was given small tart pans (a little bigger than the palm of your hand) a few years ago by my Grandmother (who's a genius baker) and I've never used them.
I dug them out of the back of the cabinet (I have six) and washed the dust off, greased and floured them and then set to the mixing of the cake. You could easily follow directions on a cake mix, but I decided to "kick it up a notch" and make my (er, Southern Living's) Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe.
1 box Devil's Food with pudding in the mix
1 5.9 ounce box of instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup oil
3 cups chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt cake. Mix 1st five ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Stir in two cups of chocolate chips. Normally, you would pour this into a prepared bundt pan, but for the mini cakes, soon approximately two big tablespoons full into prepared (greased and floured) mini pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 18 to 19 minutes.
Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in pan and then remove from pan to let cool on a wire rack for a bit.
For the next bit of "notching it", I prepared an easy recipe of cream cheese icing.
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix together. Apply a generous amount of cream cheese icing between two cakes and then let sit on rack.
Ganoche sounds hard (perhaps because it's a Frenchy French name), but is super easy to prepare. Simply take the remaining cup of chocolate chips (from cake recipe) and 1/2 cup whipping cream and stir them in a small saucepan over low heat until they melt. Let sit, unheated, for a couple of minutes after the chips are melted.
Then apply two large spoonfuls on top of each layer cake, spreading to the edge. Then lick the saucepan (you know you want to). (Also, please ignore chipping nail polish on my fingers, ugh that looks bad).
To finish the cakes, sprinkle a dusting of powdered sugar over the top. I would wait until just before serving to do this last step. I applied the sugar last night and this morning it had melted into the ganoche. No biggie, I simply reapplied the dusting again.
This recipe made six layer cakes. It could make more or less, depending on the pans you used. You could use a muffin tin and make REALLY cute, tiny layer cakes.
The cakes were so cute and made a really pretty presentation. You could really do this with any kind of cake. I think next time I'll try it with red velvet, with cream cheese icing in the middle, and a white chocolate ganoche on the top. I placed the cakes on a pretty disposable plate this morning and sent them to school with the boys in a box lid, which also means they may not make them EXACTLY to their teachers. Normally, my pride and vanity would make me go to the school myself and take them, but, ick, Lida B didn't sleep well last night and I'm pooped. I'm guessing Silas will have a serious mishap; poor thing gets his clumsiness from his Mother.
Anyhoo, I'm about to make a fresh cup of coffee and get a "sliver" (snort) of the last cake, which our family sampled this morning for breakfast. It was delicious!