First off, Happy New Year to all. I hope you survived the holiday season with waistline and sanity intact.
One of my goals for 2013 is to resume regular posting (and baking), so here goes. Our house is still recovering from the glut of baked goodies (ours and gifts from others) that we acquired in the past couple of weeks so I haven't baked anything new this week. I do have a backlog of projects to post though, so that's not a problem!
Our family's Christmas Eve food tradition is a dinner of baked ziti, Caesar salad, and Texas Toast, with something rich and chocolatey for dessert after church service. My younger son commented that he was having a hankering for cake so I decided to make the Triple Layer Chocolate Birthday Cake from one of my favorite food blogs, Eat, Live, Run. Jenna Weber is the creator of Eat, Live, Run, and in the past year, it has become my go-to when I need ideas for something to make (savory and sweet). My Pinterest boards are easily 80% Eat, Live, Run repins!
Back to the cake. I used cow's milk (rather than almond milk) in the cake and vanilla extract rather than vanilla bean in the cake and frosting. I was slightly concerned baking the three layers, since I only have two straight-sided 9-inch cake pans; I used an old supermarket-quality (i.e. sloped-sided) 9-inch pan for the third layer. The batter mixed up great and the layers rose nicely and were pretty level when they came out of the pans. I did put greased and floured parchment rounds on the bottom of each pan because I didn't want any surprises when it was time to depan the layers. I tested them at the prescribed 40-minute mark and they seemed perfect -- sides beginning to pull away, a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick -- so I pulled them out then.
No incidents with making the ganache or the frosting... everything went painlessly and I managed to sneak in a 2-mile run while I was waiting for things to cool/set up. The whole cake came together beautifully and I used every last bit of the frosting, thus the sad solitary rosette on the top of the cake! In hindsight, perhaps I should've used a smaller tip to decorate, but I was going for speed at that point, and I rarely run out of frosting (most recipes make way too much) so it didn't occur to me to go light.
The three layers create a MONSTER of a cake. Lift with your knees, peeps!!
Now -- the eating of the cake. In hindsight, I'm thinking my layers were overbaked because the cake was a tad dry right off the bat. Next time, I would check them a bit earlier and/or brush the layers with a flavored simple syrup. My guys LOVED the frosting, but were just meh about the ganache between the layers; they couldn't taste it. I only had enough ganache to do a fairly thin layer between the cake layers; it just didn't stand up to the dryness of the cake itself. I think if there were more (and the cakes weren't overbaked) it would have made more of an impact. Also, the cake really could've used more frosting (I have never, ever said those words before). The guys suggested that next time I make only two layers, replace the ganache layer with frosting and use the same or more frosting to ice the cake, so that'll be my plan. I'll let you know how it turns out!