Monday, November 2, 2009

The End...and A Beginning

Yesterday evening I got my very last pre-teen daughter hug. Today my daughter is 13. It is indeed a milestone. The child is in the rear view mirror and the teenager is hurtling at the windshield. Having been through it twice before, I'm fairly certain I'll be able to endure it again. Fairly certain. And just in case, I've stocked the liquor cabinet.

The birthday cake I've pictured here is not my daughter's. I've got to bake that today; I'm sure it will show up on the blog eventually. This one is her brother's cake that I made this summer. Since I've got to get her cake baked, I'll leave you with the recipe for this chocolate deliciousness, and a few of my favorite quotes about teenagers. And happy birthday, honey, I love you!

*Little children, headache; big children, heartache. ~Italian Proverb

*Adolescence is perhaps nature's way of preparing parents to welcome the empty nest. ~Karen Savage and Patricia Adams, The Good Stepmother

*Mother Nature is providential. She gives us twelve years to develop a love for our children before turning them into teenagers. ~William Galvin

*Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years. ~Author Unknown

*The troubles of adolescence eventually all go away - it's just like a really long, bad cold. ~Dawn Ruelas

*Small children disturb your sleep, big children your life. ~Yiddish Proverb

and my favorite, the one we've been threatening my daughter with for years:

*When a boy turns 13, put him in a barrel and feed him through a knot hole. When he turns 16, plug up the hole. ~ Mark Twain

Triple Chocolate Birthday Cake

- adapted from Sky High - Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-1/4 tsp baking soda
1-1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2-1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup milk
1-1/4 cups hot water
1 Tbsp + 3/4 tsp espresso powder
2 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip or salad dressing)
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups sugar
White Chocolate Mousse (recipe follows)
Sour Cream Chocolate Icing (recipe follows)

1- Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 9-inch round cake pans. (Make sure the cake pans have straight sides, so the layers stack evenly.) Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Set the bowl aside.

3- Put the chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Add the hot water and espresso powder to the milk. Stir to combine, then pour the mixture over the chocolate. Let stand for a minute, then whisk until smooth. Let the mixture cool slightly.

4- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, mayonnaise and vanilla until well blended. Gradually beat in the sugar. Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate liquid alternately in 2 or 3 additions, beating until smooth and well blended. Divide the batter among the three prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops with a rubber spatula or off-set spatula.

5- Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans on wire racks for 10 to 15 minutes. Unmold onto the racks; carefully peel off the paper and let cool completely, at least 1 hour. (If you need to bake a day ahead, at this point, wrap the layers well and refrigerate.)

6- To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a serving plate or cake stand. Cover the top evenly with half of the White Chocolate Mousse, leaving a 1/4-inch margin around the edge. Repeat with the second layer and the remaining mousse. Set the third layer on top and pour half the Sour Cream Chocolate Icing over the filled cake. Spread it all over the sides and top. This is the crumb coat. Refrigerate uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the icing to set. Cover the remaining icing and set it aside at room temperature.

6- Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing, which should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If the icing is too soft, chill it briefly. If it's too stiff, microwave it for just 2 or 3 seconds to soften it, then mix well. Use the back of a spoon to make swirls in the frosting, if you like.

White Chocolate Mousse

4 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg white
1 tbsp sugar

1- In a small metal bowl set over a pan of very hot water, melt the white chocolate with 1/4 cup of the cream. Whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and let the white chocolate cream cool to room temperature.

2- When it has cooled, beat the remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. In a clean bowl, whip the egg white with the sugar until fairly stiff peaks form.

3- Fold the beaten egg white into the white chocolate cream, then fold in the whipped cream just until blended. Err on the side of undermixing.

Sour Cream Chocolate Icing
12 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup half-and-half, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1- Melt the chocolate with the butter and corn syrup in a double boiler over barely simmering water or in a heavy pan over very low heat. REmove from the heat and whisk until smooth.

2- Whisk in the half-and-half and sour cream. Use while soft.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Happy birthday to your new teenager :) Love that cake, but I can't wait to see the birthday cake!

CookiePie said...

Happy birthday to your daughter! Mine is 7 months old today, I can only imagine what this milestone is like for you! I say, embarrass her as much as you can, call her what you called her when she was little (I call mine "pumpkin pie" and "the mush") :) She's going to be tormenting you for the next few years, you go ahead and torment her first! :)

Gorgeous cake, too! I'll be excited to see what you make for your daughter!!

Megan said...

My oldest will turn into a teenager in 8 months (which she reminded me of yesterday).

You've given me hope that I will survive those years!

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Happy day to your daughter. My baby just turned 13 and it's killing me, lol.

That cake looks amazing.

Jennifer Jo said...

1. I'm assuming that the stocked liquor cabinet is for you, not her?

2. The quotes are great. My oldest is 10, but we've had a preview of life with teenagers thanks to two teenage foster daughters. (Not a fair representation, I don't think, considering the one came to us from the police station post a high-speed car chase through town, but I may be wrong...)

3. I must make that mousse. It's my duty.

sarah said...

Happy birthday little Serena!!!

Barbara Bakes said...

That is a spectacular cake! I love the contrast of white and dark!

grace said...

regardless of the occasion for this particular cake, it's a masterpiece! i'm glad you recognize how precious your daughter is, and i hope she realizes what a gem you are!

Debbie said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter. My 2 older sons are in their early 20's. I've got lots of grays from their teen years! My youngest is 10 so I have a few more years till the craziness sets in! The cake looks so good...I would love to make this sometime and I'm going to bookmark it!!!

Karen Baking Soda said...

Hmmm I think Moms need that cake more than their daughters however what do I know about daughters anyway? I do have 13 yr old boys twins to share... or a 16yr old not yet barreled up (God I love that last one!!)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

My daughter is 22 now and look I am still here and sane:D I am sure she will love the cake and that you will still get plenty of teenager hugs:D

Cindy said...

Looks delish! Having raised 6 children (my baby is 21)my favorite saying is 'teens don't want parents, just a sponsor'!

Abby said...

13! I'm sure she's thrilled to call herself a teenager! I remember that day - and with it came the countdown to my LICENSE. But now that I'm a mother I realize it's not polite to talk about your babies driving. Egads.

Beautifully frosted cake!

Melinda said...

The cake is so chocolate naughty niceness! Gorgeous.

Now, Serena, your mother will soon be going through a very special but scary time in her life as a woman.
Be careful and be nice to her. I am sure you will both get through it just fine.

Christy said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter! We're just embarking on all those wonderful teenage keep that cabinet stocked, I may share a drink or two with you!

Your cake looks lovely and oh so yummy!!!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Amazing how the years fly by, isn't it...?

That's a wonderful-looking cake, with indulgence written all over it! And I know just the person to bake it for...

Aimée said...

Aww, a milestone indeed. Hang in there for the next 6 years or so, OK?

CaSaundraLeigh said...

That cake would sure make my birthday!!

Just wait till your daughter leaves for college, my mom had a rough time--but the distance has definitely made our hearts grow fonder!

Dolce said...

Happy birthday to your daughter!

The Mark Twain quote is good indeed...

But probably not as good as the cake recipe (I think I could use the white chocolate mousse at itself!)

Barbara said...

Good luck with your teenager. I lived through it three times. Thank God that's over!

Now your cake is a different story. Triple yum!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, I sort of feel something like that, because of my little sister - I looked after her as a baby and now she's 16 and all grown up... I sometimes pinch myself 'cause it is hard to believe she's an adult now! :D

That is an amazing cake - love that book!

NKP said...

What a gorgeous cake! I want to just put my whole face in it.
I like the teen years, they were my fave of all the childhood stages with my guys.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Mmmmm that cake looks familiar! Wasn't it so delicious?? :D

eatme_delicious said...

What a gorgeous looking cake! The white chocolate mousse filling especially mmm. Happy belated birthday to your daughter!

Elle said...

Gorgeous cake and wonderful sayings, too. Having survived the early years, you will undoubtedly survive the teen years, but a stiff drink now and then sure helps!

kelley said...

Hi there, I have enjoyed your blog. I am not a baker but looking at your postings makes me excited to try. So I tried my hand at the Triple Chocolate cake...I had a problem with the mousse. First time I made butter the second time I don't think I mixed long enough to make the stiff peak. How will I know the right consistency? keep up the good work. Lots of inspiration.

Lien said...

Congratulations on your teenager. Wow in half a year we're there too, wasn't it yesterday that she learned how to cycle? they grow up quickly.
I love your cake... you could wake me up for it anytime!

Unknown said...

What a beautiful cake!

Unknown said...

Belated Happy Birthday to the new teen! What a way to celebrate. I remeber the Cake Slice Bakers making this, and I've wanted to ever since!!