Monday, October 5, 2009

CONTEST: SWF Looking For The Perfect Chocolate Birthday Cake

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
“The old believe everything;
the middle aged suspect everything:
the young know everything.-- Oscar Wilde

I am a Monday's child. It is the day I was born. Tomorrow is my birthday. Last year I was researching and writing my forthcoming book on chocolate. And boy, did I have a whole lot of chocolate--from coast to coast--in the house. We're talking chewy brownies, spicy chocolates, rich truffles, and chocolatey cookies. This time around I'm thinking: "I want to make my own birthday cake. It's got to be chocolate." The problem? I'm a Libra (The Scales) and can't decide what kind of cake to bake. And that's where you come in...

I'd like a simple not too complicated cake to bake. Think creative and definitely quality dark chocolate. (I have a two layer sunflower cake pan on its way that I'd love to use since it will give me a feel of Tuscany, a place I dream of visiting.) I wouldn't mind if white chocolate and/or milk chocolate is part of the creation. I love nuts (hazelnuts and almonds). I like creamy buttercream frosting--all flavors, especially with a hint of citrus such as lemon, lime and orange which are delicious with chocolate. And, most important, I prefer using mostly healthful, natural ingredients.

So, the baker or bakeress who dishes out and gives me the best recipe for me will be the winner. What is the prize? You'll receive a signed copy of my book The Healing Powers of Chocolate (Kensington, January 2010)--and receive an advance copy before the new year! Post your recipe right here on this blog post.

Deadline: October 12, Columbus Day (my parents' anniversary). It will be a belated gift and I will bake the Perfect Chocolate Birthday Cake.


  1. Dark Chocolate Cake, Citrus Orange Buttercream Frosting!
    Olive oil and flour for the pan
    1-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp. almond extract
    4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) all-purpose flour
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. baking soda
    3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
    2/3 cup Orange olive oil
    1-1/3 cups sugar
    Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 325°F. Generously oil an 8x2-inch round cake pan (or an 8-1/2-inch springform pan) with olive oil and line the bottom of the pan with parchment or waxed paper. Oil the paper and dust it lightly with flour.
    In a small saucepan, boil about 1/2 cup of water. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder through a strainer over a small bowl. Stir 6 Tbs. of the boiling water into the cocoa until it's smooth and glossy (if the mixture is very thick, you can add as much as 2 Tbs. more boiling water). Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Set aside to cool slightly. In another small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
    In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs and yolk, olive oil, and sugar. Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed until thick, lemon colored, and creamy, 2 to 3 min., scraping down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the warm (not hot) cocoa mixture until it's well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
    Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it but with no wet batter, 55 to 60 min. Put the pan on a rack and carefully run a paring knife around the inside edge to release the cake. Let cool for 10 min. Carefully lift the pan from the cake, gently peel off and discard the paper liner, and let the cake cool completely.

    Orange Buttercream frosting
    • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
    • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
    • 4 cups (approx. 1 lb.) sifted confectioners' sugar
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    • 2 zest of oranges, chopped fine
    • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil
    • Orange Icing Color (optional)
    Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in orange zest, orange oil and desired amount of color.
    Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

  2. Wow. My first birthday cake recipe! This is awesome. Wow. Thx! Love the flavored olive oil. I really like this.

  3. Love that quote!
    ...& must say my stomach starts growling each time I visit your site :)


  4. Hey there Lenore...It's OK to eat this stuff if u do it sparingly. Still size 4, 122 lbs. It can be done! Share, freeze, one truffle at a time and space it out with fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains--and getting a move on...No worries.

  5. The sunflower cake pan arrived on my doorstep! Going to bake up my belated birthday cake this month for sure. The pan? Ah, it's lovely.

  6. Kara,
    You win! I'll be in touch shortly to get address for your chocolate book. Good job.