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.

I Dream in Macarons

Don’t be fooled…I left the extra “o” out of there on purpose. These are not the coconut cookies that so many people either hate or love. After a long time comin, dreaming in macarons, I finally stepped it up to create this delicate French treat. Macarons are those fabulous little cookie sandwiches that look like they’re dancing out of their pastry case…like these on Tartelette! They’re made with almond flour, powdered sugar, and egg whites. People make quite the fuss over them, so I was kind of nervous to make them – hence why it’s been almost a year since I set my sights on them :/

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut, this happened…

I made a chocolate macaron cookie with three different combos: one with a salted caramel filling, one with a chocolate ganache filling, and finally a salted caramel filling dipped in chocolate ganache. Oh. My.

The inspiration all started with a surprise in the mail! I thought I had a small little something arriving from a friend, but NO! It was a HUGE box marked with perhaps four of the best words ever combined, “KITCHEN AID STAND MIXER.” AND IT’S YELLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D Best surprise ever, Mom and Dad! So the inaugural recipe had to be epic. And epic it was, my friends, epic it was.

And then I meticulously went through the recipe in my fancy black and white apron :)

They were met with open arms, and divine praise. I think the salted caramel dipped in chocolate ganache was my fave.

**French phrase for fun!

Il s’avère que les macarons ne font pas peur, après tout.

It turns out that macarons aren’t scary after all.

I basically used the cookie recipe from the LA Times here: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-macaronrecb-20100401,0,6389216.story

And I used the salted caramel recipe from Baking Equals Love here: http://www.bakingequalslove.com/2011/10/caramel-latte-macarons-coffee-macs-with.html

And a basic chocolate ganache like this one from David Lebovitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/10/french-chocolat/