Cold weather always equals a baking day. Today was so cold that all the schools in the area were closed, and anyone who could stay home, did. Considering I am on a two-month winter break, its not like I had to go anywhere anyway, but after sleeping in and lounging about in my pjs for awhile I decided to play with my kitchen as well as my new camera.
I don’t know if it is my new lazy don’t-need-to-do-anything-or-be-anywhere lifestyle or because it was so cold and I didn’t want to put on real clothes in order to drive to the grocery store in a -30 degree wind chill, but I decided to do something that I almost never do and used a box cake mix for the base of my cake. It was also partially because I wanted to make a gluten free cake, and it can be a real hassle to have all the right flours on hand in the correct proportions. I have always been fond of the brand Glutino, and so the other day I picked up a box of their chocolate cake mix–which I had never tried before.
True to form though, I added in some extra ingredients to make it a bit more “homemade.” I didn’t plan that in advance, but as I started pulling out all the necessary ingredients I felt too strong of pains of regret for not spending hours pouring over recipes and even more hours in the kitchen whipping up a masterpiece. So, instead of adding in milk or buttermilk, I added in a cup of vanilla kefir, and I also added about a tablespoon of almond extract. I don’t really know why I threw that in, but I just felt like it needed an extra something, but thinking of adding in the more typical coffee or extra chocolate seemed too boring.
I did, however, scour the interweb for a new recipe to use for the frosting. Again, I tend to prefer a more traditional Swiss or Italian buttercream, which while more time intensive leads to a better texture and flavor. But I ended up using a simpler yet extremely quick recipe with a Nutella base from the blog Bake to the Roots. Its pretty soft, but it worked perfectly for what I wanted with a single, small layer cake.
I made the cake earlier in the day so it would have a chance to chill in the fridge, and then I made the buttercream right before I wanted to frost the cake. I made the cake in two 6″ layers, and instead of cutting it up further I just left it at two layers. That said, if you use this recipe you could definitely split each layer into two for a four layer cake, or the cake could have been made into an 8″ or 9″ cake for a thinner cake.
I used a typical (if sloppy) frosting technique, though it took absolutely forever because I was playing around the the settings on my camera and took like 150 pictures start to finish. No, I’m not joking -_-
Then comes the stupid/embarrassing/interesting part of the story. My refrigerator is placed right next to a wall, so I can’t adjust the shelves inside unless I pull out the whole thing–which I am not willing (or strong enough) to do. Long story short, I couldn’t place my cake in the fridge to cool/firm up because I had ‘glued’ the cake directly onto a tall-ish serving tray.
Luckily for me, it was like a million degrees below zero. So I got creative and just opened one of my windows and stuck the cake on the sill–and it worked!
Of course by this time the sun is starting to set and I am running out of places with decent lighting, so I took most of my pictures still by the window sill. Like I said, I took a million pictures, but even though I have a new and amazing camera, I know absolutely nothing about cameras or picture taking, so…its a work in process.
I did add a few buttercream roses to the top and side of the cake for a little extra pizzaz. As I mentioned before, the buttercream is a bit on the softer side, and in retrospect I probably should have added in a little extra powdered sugar before I piped the roses, though it all worked out okay in the end.
I love that the cake is so simple and yet so stunning, all of which is clearly evident when you slice into it. I also had to slice into it because I decided to bring the rest to my parents house, and I didn’t know if I would be able to smuggle any back home with me.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more adventures in and out of the kitchen!