Have you ever thought of being a little kid again? Where days went by without you worrying about what's going to your hips and thighs. Where running around 5 minutes made you perspire like 45 minutes extreme yoga. Where eating 2 slices of cake was "awww, so cute".
I do. A lot. You would know that exact second when I decide to indulge my inner child. Especially when i proclaim random resolutions like "I ain't sharin' my burger!" or "All meat no vege!" or "I'm eating straight from the pot!" Unfortunately, I kid not.
That's where the 6-layer cake comes in. And the rum...is just to congratulate us for getting over being a 5 year old. The cake I was looking for is a "black" cake. When I was searching for "the" recipe, I go to my favourite cake site and found this. However, things seemed a little too professional. Hence, I went to my new favourite site and found this same recipe. Who could resist challenging themselves, when 2 trusted individuals have tried-tested the recipe.
266g Granulated Sugar (reduced by 1/3 from the original recipe)
200g All purpose flour
160g Unsweetened cocoa powder (I did not use dark cocoa, the color was still wonderfully black)
10g Baking Soda
5g Baking Powder
a pinch of salt
240ml Black Coffee (I used a Kopi Luwak blend, any other coffee is fine)
120ml Vegetable oil (Used olive oil)
Note: I've decreased the sugar from 400g to 266g. Added cocoa instead from 90g to 160g. Both sugar and cocoa absorbs water. I did this in order to not mess around with the texture of the cake. I wouldn't do it any other way.
Adapted Directions for 6-layered cake:
1. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius/ 350 Fahrenheit. Line any number of equal sized pans you have with parchment paper. I used 8 inch pans.
2. Combine all dry ingredients (Flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt).
3. Add all of the other ingredients into the bowl and mix on medium for 2 minutes. The mixture will look thick, then will deflate and turn runny)
4. Weigh the batter and divide it into 6. Pour batter into pan, bake for 12 minutes, rotate them so that they color equally and bake for another 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. I chose to bake 6 layers, because it's cool. (Each layer stayed so very moist, don't worry.)
5. Cool 15 minutes, remove from pan, cool on rack completely (I did not), wrap it in plastic with parchment paper still attached. Freeze. (for ease trimming and layering) You see, the cake puffed up while baking, deflate while cooling. Hence, trimming was necessary. You can skip trimming or freezing. However, trust me, they're prettier when trimmed.
I chose buttercream. The baker in me needed to succeed in buttercream!
Swiss Meringue Rum Buttercream
185g Egg whites (approximately 5 large or 6 medium eggs)
200g granulated sugar
2. Make sure Butter is cut into smaller pieces and not cold / warm.
3. Let's begin. Combine egg whites and sugar in bowl. Boil some water in a pot and place bowl like a double boiler. (Make sure bottom of bowl does not touch boiling water).
4. Continuously whisk the egg white + sugar mixture on top of simmering water for 4 minutes. Check that all sugar is dissolved (not grainy to touch). Mixture shouldn't be fluffy just yet. Remove bowl from double boiler.
5. Begin to mix on high speed. At first, there will be steam. Continue and it will fluff up. Don't stop just yet, don't worry about over-beating. Continue to mix until bottom of bowl does not feel hot or even slightly warm. It should feel almost cool to the touch. At this point, egg whites feel so heavy that its almost like marshmallows. If in doubt, continue mixing.
6. Proper beating of egg whites will assure you that the cream stays firm. This should take 10-15 minutes. My cue was the temperature of the bottom of the metal bowl.
7. Begin to add butter. Do this ever so patiently. Each cube should be completely incorporated before continuing with the next cube, 15 seconds each addition.
8. After halfway through, cream should look a little curdled. Stay calm. Continue adding the butter. By the end, it will look smooth.
Note: Previously, my cream turned soupy at this stage, I chilled it in the fridge for 15 minutes as told, and ended up with a curdled watery mess. If this happens to you, do not throw it away. Keep mixing. KEEP mixing until you beat it to your will.
Note: What changed? I mixed the egg whites persistently. Until the bowl felt cool to touch. Something i remind myself. Swiss meringue buttercream is forgiving.
Layering the Cake:
1. I trimmed till my lil heart's content.
2. Place as equal an amount of cream as possible in between each layer.
3. Crumb coat. Chill cake.
4. Frost with a clean batch of cream. (As you can see, i still need more, much more practice)
Lastly, I know this post has been overly too long, but let's not forget to describe how this cake tasted. The cake was extremely moist and soft yet thick and full of flavor. The cream was light, fluffy and oddly, I could almost taste fresh milk. When they told me you'd eat spoonfuls of this stuff, I was sceptic. I repent. Both tasted nothing like plain sweet. Together, they were opposites yet similar. Oh, if only I could tell you, how delicious they are together. I blame myself for these pictures that do not even remotely tell you how yum these are.
If I can, you can do it better,