Disney Princess Chocolate Cake with Flowers

I promised cake number 2 and here it is!  Part two involves more princesses, lots of flowers and pink. You know, sugar and spice and everything nice, just exactly what little girls are made of :)

Back when I was in university, some *cough* ten or so *cough* years ago, I worked part time at a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop.  There I learned some of the basics in cake decorating... how to pipe a border, make flowers and write Hallmark-like greetings on cakes.  A nice, creative departure from trying not to blow up things in the laboratory, solving calculus problems and cutting a rug every friday night at the local night club. And saturday night and maybe the occasional thursday night.  Oh the memories......

Where was I?  Oh, yes, cake decorating.  Back on task.  

One thing I can't get down is smooth icing.  Smoothing ice cream icing is a lot easier than buttercream icing.  This explains, if you ever see an actual cake of mine in person, why the icing sides have a textured pattern to it.  I think it's partly due to the fact that I don't cut the cake beforehand to give perfect straight sides.  And I'm also not a fan of 1 inch thick icing on my cake, in order to achieve the straight smooth side.  And really, who says that the icing has to be smooth?  Definitely not me,  I think the texture is nice so I'll stick with it.

I mentioned this in the last post but I have to mention it again, this cake was really moist.  I also put a layer of raspberries and buttercream in the middle, though it's not very apparant in the above cake slice. 

Happy, happy birthday to my little princess.

chocolate cake
makes one 9-inch layer cake

4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
2.5 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Pour boiling water over the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Stir to melt. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar and mix on medium high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla and melted chocolate.

Fold in one third of the dry sifted ingredients (flour, soda and salt) with a spatula. Fold in one-half of the buttermilk. Alternate folding in another one-third of the dry ingredients, buttermilk and final dry ingredients.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until medium peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the cake batter.

Prepare two 9-inch round pans with parchment paper . Butter the paper and dust with flour. Pour the batter into both pans. Bake cake layers in a 350F oven, until toothpick comes out clean, approximately 30-35 minutes.

Recipe from: Classic Chocolate Cake, Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking.

yields 1.5 cups

1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp milk

Cream margarine. Add sugar gradually beating on medium speed. Icing should appear dry. Add milk and beat until fluffy. Color your icing by mixing in food coloring of your choice.

Buttercream adapted from Wilton's Decorating Guide Yearbook