There is nothing wrong with your vision. I know...the title says this is Ina Garten's Birthday Sheetcake. Instead, you are viewing a three-layer cake. You see, this week's choice for the Barefoot Bloggers comes from Susy of "Everyday Gourmet". Susy chose this recipe from Ina Garten's Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Family Style (which I recently purchased), because it's her birthday month. Happy Birthday, Susy!
I admit, that I groaned when I first saw this recipe. Don't get me wrong! I love cake, are you kidding?! It's just that my almost-21 year old son recently moved out and I'm adjusting to cooking for two.
What to do? I decided to bake with two 9-inch round cake pans. My second dilemma is that -- are you ready-- I'm not a huge fan of dark chocolate frosting. I like milk chocolate, in moderation. I just couldn't muster enough enthusiasm to make Ina's ganache-style frosting, because dark chocolate frosting just isn't my favorite thing. I do, however, appreciate a moist chocolate cake with vanilla frosting-- like my Chocolate Bliss Cake. I admit that I considered using the same lemon that I used for the zest, in this cake batter, to make a lemon butter cream. On second thought, I figured I'd be deviating too far of a from Ina's recipe...so, I had to carefully think outside the box. I jumped in without any set idea of where I would end up.
I'll quit yapping, and get on with the show--
Adding eggs, and then the dry ingredients. Hmmm, this batter seems pretty thick (my thoughts in my busy brain). Oooh! It sure tastes good!
Still, I'm thinking that this dough is kinda thick. I used an off-set spatula to even it out a bit. I had extra batter, so I grabbed a third pan and filled it.
Wilton's Cake release, too. I don't need to butter and flour-- I just brush this product on and the cake pop right out of the pan! I kept admiring how tall and even colored these layers are! Now, what do I do next? Think, think, think! I settled on making vanilla pudding, deciding I would use that as a filler instead of all chocolate frosting. I've made Ina's pastry cream for her delicious strawberry tart, but I'm just not in the mood for all that extra work-- because I still have frosting to make. So I grabbed boxed pudding-- the kind you cook and chill. Yes-- me, the person who strives to cook all things from scratch. Ha! I covered the pudding with plastic wrap and debated if I should make Ina's chocolate frosting, after all. I look at Ina's recipe and...
My decision is made. I'm making my own easy chocolate butter cream, using Dutch Processed Cocoa! My husband licked that beater blade clean, I'll tell you. He loved it. It's time to assemble the cake-- and I decide to grab a jar of my homemade raspberry jam. I'm thinking vanilla cake, vanilla pudding, raspberry jam and chocolate-- that should do it! I seriously wanted to call my cake baking/decorating diva and friend-- Monica, from "Lick the Bowl Good". I need ideas. I need support. Then, I realize, I can't find her phone number. I'm utterly alone and out of my comfort zone. I confess-- I never finished the Wilton Cake Decorating Class. I'm not very good at fancy cake decorating, and my Wilton roses look like cabbages. So, I forge on and put into practice a couple of very useful tricks that I learned.
So far, so good...
I stand back to admire my
...I carefully cut into the cake...
It's moist, but it has a dense texture. Personally, I prefer light and tender cakes. It's good... but this recipe doesn't earn my "OMG, this is fantastic!" The cake reminds me of Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake.
NOTE: After making this cake, I read the reviews. I wish I had done this in reverse order. This recipe doesn't have stellar reviews, but some folks said to reduce the baking soda down to 3/4 tsp.
I immediately freeze half the cake, to give to my son when he comes to visit-- which I suspect will happen once he's tired of eating Top Ramen and frozen pizza. The rest of the cake goes to my husband's office. I'm relieved, because I don't need that kind of temptation.
Overall, I made this cake more work than it needed to be. Sheet cakes are my lazy way of baking-- and I'm still in-love with Pioneer Woman's (Ree) Texas Chocolate Sheet cake, because it's so easy to make. Ree's recipe wins my OMG factor for chocolate ratio/moistness and ease to make-- (sorry, Ina). Overall, I much prefer a white cake that is made with only egg whites, and with a little hint of almond extract. I'm still searching for that perfect recipe.
Ina's recipes have never failed me, and I've posted several of her recipes. I wouldn't say this one failed me. It's just not one I would have personally chosen to make. Still, I enjoyed the challenge. Would you believe the next BB's recipe is another cake-- chocolate, no less?? You're killing me!
I've posted Ina's recipe and my chocolate butter cream a the bottom of this page. Thanks, Susy, for encouraging me to think outside the box. I can't wait to see what the other Barefoot Bloggers thought of this recipe. Come check them out, too. Join us, if you are a fan of Ina Garten. I've met some really nice people through this group. But, please, no more cake recipes for a while, okay? My bathroom scale thanks you.
Baked with Love,