Coffee Chiffon Birthday Cake with a Fudgey Ganache

Alternate titles for this post: “Can we just have cake for dinner?”/ “I is a burrito.”/ “If this is what a quarter-life crisis looks like, I like it!”

You see, this past Saturday, our beautiful Caitlyn turned 25. Now, minus the misplacing items frequently and difficulty hearing, she really doesn’t seem any older :)  She carried the weekend in true style and grace. We celebrated in DC with many friends and then headed out to West Virginia where we rented a cabin for a little fun in the countryside! We saw a truly breathtaking sky full of stars, hiked, made a big family dinner, and just had a wonderful time celebrating. It was the perfect way to celebrate one of the best ladies I know.

If she wished for a delicious birthday cake, she was in luck ;)

After discussing this CRUCIAL decision with the birthday girl, I settled on a coffee chiffon cake with a fudgey chocolate ganache. The cake was a very light sponge with strong coffee and a hint of cinnamon. Each layer was  soaked in a coffee-rum glaze and then iced with a thick layer of rich ganache icing. I know that that’s not really a thing (don’t tell Caitlyn cause she doesn’t like icing), but I’d probably realistically call it a dark chocolate fudge frosting. Hair-splitting aside, the cake was delightfully moist and light while the ganache was a wonderful, rich dark chocolate contrast. And I took some step-by-step photos for you, cause I was super together on this one!

Start with your dry ingredients in a large bowl: cake flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, some instant coffee, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, mix up the wet ingredients: egg yolks, vegetable oil, coffee, vanilla.

Then whip up your egg whites with some sugar until they form soft peaks.

Pour the coffee egg mixture into the dry ingredients, and fold them together until just mixed. Then fold in a quarter of the egg whites.

Then add the rest of the egg whites being careful not to deflate that delicate bowl of beauty. You want to slowly cut the spatula down the middle, pull some over the top, turn the bowl a little and repeat.  When you’re almost done, it will look like this:

Then divide the batter into two 8 inch rounds (while trying to take a perfect picture)

Soooo I didn’t do step-by-step of the ganache because it was made in a mad dash while prepping the apartment for our party and prettying myself. But lemme tell ya, it was mostly a ton of melted dark chocolate with some cream, a little suga and butta, and some mo’ instant coffee. It was ridiculous. Oh. Boy. I mean, oh, wow. Silly.

Once the cakes are cooled, you cut each one in half with a large bread knife, and douse each layer in a “simple syrup” of coffee, rum, and sugar. Ice it and decorate it! Boom! You’ve got yourself a birthday cake fit for a princess! :)

*Here’s the recipe:

Coffee Chiffon Birthday Cake with a Fudgey Ganache

Preheat the oven to 350.

Whisk together in  a large bowl:

-1 1/3c. cake flour
-1 c. sugar
-1 t. baking powder
-1/2 t. cinnamon
-1/2 t. salt
-1 T. instant coffee

In another bowl, whisk together:

-1/4c. vegetable oil
-6 egg yolks (save the whites)
-6 T. strong, freshly brewed coffee (cooled to room temp)
-2 t. vanilla extract

Whisk the remaining 6 egg whites on medium, until foamy. Then slowly add in:

-1/2c. sugar

Whisk the sugar and eggs on medium-high until the whites form soft peaks. (They’ll droop off the edge of the mixer when you pull it out, but still keep their shape.)

Fold the coffee/egg mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended. Then stir in a quarter of the egg whites. Fold in the rest of the whites being careful not to deflate them – be gentle here. (Like I mentioned, you want to slowly cut the spatula down the middle, pull some over the top, turn the bowl a little and repeat.)

Pour the batter into two 8 inch round cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cakes are cooling, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine:

-1/3c. strong coffee
-1/3c. rum
-1/3c. sugar

Simmer until all the sugar is dissolved.

**For the Fudgey Ganache

Melt all together in a saucepan over low-medium heat:

-1 pound dark chocolate, chopped
-1 c. heavy cream
-2 T. light corn syrup
-1/2 stick (1/4c.) salted butter

Once everything is just melted, transfer the melted chocolate mixture to the bowl of a large stand mixer, and whip the ganache, slowly adding:

-1 c. powdered sugar
-2 T. instant coffee

**To assemble:


Using a long bread knife, carefully cut the cakes in half, so you’ll have 4 layers. Then, using a spoon, lightly drizzle the glaze over the bottom cake layer. Ice the layer, and stack the next cake layer on top and repeat. Then ice the whole darned thing, and decorate it if you you have a special occasion – like a birthday! :)

Cut into it and this is what you’ll get…


**French phrase for fun

J’aime un souhait d’anniversaire qui devient réalité :)

I love a birthday wish that comes true.

Aubrey’s Birthday Cupcakes!

“Cupcakes involving chocolate and cream cheese frosting,” the birthday girl demanded! Jokes, of course, but seriously I had to just straight-up ask her what she’d die to have on her birthday…how does one sneakily ask what someone’s favorite kind of cake is when it’s only a couple of days before their birthday?! This is something I frequently struggle with. I’m a HUGE surprises person. Maybe this is girly, but I really do love to give thoughtful surprise presents, or in this case, surprise birthday dessert!

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Milky Way Cake & The Little Things in Life :)

CAKE!!! You know that saying, “I love you like a Katie loves cake”? Wait… :) Well, I’m making it a thing. I do love cake, and you know how much I love to show my love and enthusiasm for all (especially silly) things. So little exciting highlights of the week (my joie de vivre at its finest!):

Yesterday, I’m not kidding you here, I saw a woman with a buzzed head that had a spider web design shaved into it! It was WILD! WILD! I also got my business cards this week!!!!! Got pretty excited about that too. Too much? Nah, I’m a legit working lady now! And I got to go salsa dancing – something about moving my hips like I’m not white as a marshmallow just makes me happy :)

Aaaand it was my lovely roommate’s birthday this week, I gave her some cake options, and she chose (oh so wisely) the Milky Way Cake! Nom nom nommm! Here it is for you to feast your eyes on! I melted the Milky Ways into the cake batter and made a chocolate pecan buttercream frosting! “Oooooo!”…is what I’m imagining you’re saying ;) The Milky Ways made it super dense and moist, and I mean buttercream is dih-viiine. I would eat it by the spoonfull if I didn’t have a birthday cake that needed frosting! :)

**French phrase for fun:

Profitez de gâteau d’anniversaire = c’est la joie de vivre :)

Enjoy birthday cake = it’s the joy of living

Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

5 outstanding things I highly recommend you do this weekend:

  1. Try to work “angst” into a sentence.
  2. Try to just be whelmed – don’t go over, don’t go under.
  3. Go! Go for that kick-ass workout!!!
  4. …Then sleep in the next morning and make yourself a fabulous breakfast.
  5. Most importantly, combine peanut butter and chocolate in a delicious creation.

For example, you could whip up a PEANUT BUTTER BIRTHDAY CAKE!!! Wiiiiiiith chocolate buttercream frosting. :D

Of course I brought my cake decorating tools in the move- I mean why wouldn’t I?! A girl needs to treat the birthday girl/boy, and I may or may not be helping someone make a wedding cake soon, so that’s REALLY gonna pay off! :)

This cake was quite the magical combination of peanut butter and chocolate – the only thing missing was the Reese’s garnish that I forgot at the store :(  but it was still divine.

**French phrase for fun!

Dit “Joyeux anniversaire” avec un gâteau au beurre de cacahuètes!

Say “Happy birthday” with peanut butter cake!

Zucchini Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I thought I was only going to have time for one new recipe this week what with the craziness of moving and all, but as it turns out, I had access to a big, beautiful, well-stocked kitchen for the WHOLE weekend! :D Every girl’s dream, right? …Well mine at least!

So I made a celebratory Zucchini Cream Cheese Pound Cake with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting. It was a delight! :) Rich, yet deceptively light because of the zucchini and tang from the cream cheese. If it didn’t have the frosting it would have been a perfect dessert-breakfast crossover cake…but I didn’t let that stop me! :D Hey, don’t give me judgy eyes, I had it along side a healthy smoothie, and it was goooooood!

**French phrase for fun!

Règle cardinale, ne mettez pas le glaçage sur un gâteau tiède sauf si c’est déjà 22h30 et les gens ont besoin de dessert. 

Cardinal rule, don’t frost a warm cake unless it’s already 10:30 and people neeeeeed dessert.

Truth: I Am Like My Birthday Cake.

Here’s a peek into my life via cake…

There’s seemingly not a whole lot going on there, but wait…it’s just like me: highly caffeinated, layered, a little crumbly in the middle, but sweet, and dark… Dark like my soul. (well, scratch that last part, but it IS delicious!)

Truth: I probably drink too much coffee (but I really just drink it so I can make jokes about how I like my coffee like I like my men.)

Truth: I have layers, but I like to think that they’re sweet like this cake.

Truth: I’ve got a lot going on what with moving, a new job, and trying to figure out life, so it makes me feel a little crumbly. (but on the honor system, this cake was actually really dense- not crumbly, but I didn’t love the idea of calling myself dense.)

Truth: I’m super sweet!…or at least I try. (the darkness only comes out during a full moon.)

So I made myself a birthday cake. It worked out perfectly- I needed to make a new recipe this week, and I love nothing more than people gushing about my delicious creations! :) Soooooooooooooo I scoured my favorite food blogs, and finally embraced this luscious coffee coffee cake from the Pioneer Woman. Your eyes don’t deceive you; that is a rectangular cake- ya make do with what you have! :D It was fantastic.

**French phrase for fun!

Vérité: cinq personnes m’ont demandé si j’étais française la semaine dernière!

Truth: five people asked me if I was French last week! :)

The Year of Making Things Happen

2012. The year of making things happen. I can, and I will. Job search in DC?…bought my ticket, and just went! BAM, just like that! Making that awkward phone call? Went for it. Crazy hard spin class? (sore for a couple of days) but, DID IT!

It’s also a year to be filled with many more delicious recipes. And to catch you up on the magic that happens when I don an apron, there have been sweets abound, but also more soup than I remembered to take photos of. The cupcakes were the lovechild of a “chilly” (read, 62 degree) California day and my joblessness. For the Super Bowl, Caitlyn and I decided, “why not?! it’s Christmas! let’s go for it!” and made “slutty brownies” (…because they’re oh so easy and just a little bit dirty) – definitely one of those things that makes life better.

I also HIGHLY recommend Joy the Baker’s vegan cream of mushroom soup!!! <3