While decorating the tree a few days ago we were listening to Christmas music and I’ll Be Home For Christmas by The Carpenters came on. Every year around this time, my Dad breaks out his collection of Carpenter Christmas songs (he loves them) and you’ll hear it blasting in the living room or while he’s working in his office. Hearing it made me nostalgic for home and my family. Christmas can’t come sooner! 20 days to be exact. Not that I’ve been counting.
I have these two amazing parents that decided since I missed Thanksgiving this year, they’d bring me home for the winter holidays early on the 14th. I can’t wait to see the family and friends I have back in Hawaii, eat spicy ahi, catch up on all the books I’ve been wanting to read lately, hike, play with my puppy Meli, and simply relax in Paradise. I’m also excited to share my beloved home with you all for the first time on the blog!! Stay tuned!
*awkward writing transition time* I can’t seem to get the burnt cake smell out of my kitchen and hair and it’s giving me a headache. There is a disaster happening in the oven. The best part about considering myself a self-taught baker is that I don’t ever have to pretend to know what I’m doing.
To celebrate my wonderful friend Amy’s super 23rd birthday (check her out, she has a beauty/fashion blog!), I was in the midst of baking a rich and decadent chocolate cake because she’s obsessed with chocolate. I whipped up the batter easily and with no problems. It’s a super simple recipe to put together (though what I would eventually discover, very finicky). And a few moments after, I watched it all go up in smoke. Quite literally too. I suppose we’ll have to call a professional oven cleaner soon.
Here is an actual picture of what actually happened (please don’t judge me):
I have been a huge fan of Ina Garten, ever since that one summer in high school when I had my wisdom teeth pulled over Christmas break and spent two solid weeks watching only Food Network. I used her recipe for chocolate cake. It’s a great recipe, but I did run into a little trouble because I am stubborn and wanted to use 6 in. cake pans instead of the recommended 8/9 in. This cake has a much different texture than a traditional cake. It’s softer and therefore not as sturdy, which inevitably led to the bottom slice getting smushed and the creation of a second name for this dessert, The Leaning Tower of Cake. From the weight of the three additional cake layers, frosting, and fruits I added on top, the bottom layer couldn’t hold it all up anymore.
The secret ingredient in Ina’s chocolate cake recipe is quite literally, a cup of coffee. It’s what makes it taste so dang chocolatey! It’s absolutely perfect for any chocolate lover. Amy loved it, despite the Leaning Tower of Cake it had become by the time I served it to her. But hey, imperfections in birthday cakes just goes to show it was homemade, not store bought.
See the Leaning Tower of Cake in action below!
I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Birthday) Cake
I N G R E D I E N T S :
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed coffee
I N S T R U C T I O N S :
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease cake pans and place a circle of parchment paper inside. Note: I used four 6 in. cake pans rather than two 8 in. cake pans, both work.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, lightly combine the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
4. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry until fully combined. Then mix in the cup of coffee.
5. Separate the cake batter evenly into your prepared cake pans. Place on the bottom rack in the oven for 45 minutes.
6. After baking, let the cakes cool inside their pans for 30 minutes before removing.
7. Decorate as you wish. I used vanilla buttercream, fresh blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
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