Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!


I am having the family over for Mother's Day. My sister and I decided weeks ago that everyone would come over to my house for pizza and cake. It may sound strange but it was an idea to keep me from having to cook on Mother's Day. I thought it would work out fine. We'll see.

Since I love to bake, I decided to make a replica of one of my family's favorite cakes from way back when we lived in Brooklyn. It was a Mocha Cake with Almonds. It came from a famous bakery called Ebinger's. The Ebinger's Bakery is long gone but our memories linger on. With my sister's help, I created this cake that I hope is somewhat close to the one we used to get from Ebinger's. My sister C told me that the layer cake part was a sponge cake. My brother A disagrees and says it is was a regular yellow cake. I guess we'll find out tomorrow when we cut into it. I know the frosting and the almonds are right. It can't be too bad, can it? The sponge cake itself was pretty easy. Most of the sponge cake recipes I read would make a very large sponge cake for a jelly roll pan. I finally found one that made two 9-inch layer cakes. This recipe differs from a traditional sponge cake because it does contain a small amount of butter. Most sponge cakes simply consist of eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, sugar and vanilla. The most important thing to remember when making this cake is to add the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture very quickly so you don't lose the texture. Apparently, if you don't add the flour quickly your cake will taste more like a kitchen sponge than a sponge cake! I tried my best to do it right. It sure looks pretty to me. I can't wait to taste it tomorrow!

Sponge Cake

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup butter
1 cup boiling milk
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat eggs until very light. Beat in sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat in butter and boiling milk. Sift together flour and baking powder and beat in very quickly. Immediately pour into a prepared pans. I used parchment paper at the bottom of my pans because I read that no butter should be used on sponge cake pans. Makes two 9-inch layers or one 13 x 9 inch oblong. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done.

Mocha Butter Cream Frosting

1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
3 teaspoons instant espresso powder

Melt semisweet chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water or in a microwave in 30 second increments and set aside. The temperature of the melted chocolate should be lukewarm before adding it to the butter (around 10 minutes).

Cream butter on medium speed until smooth. Dissolve the espresso powder to the instant coffee in the 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of milk. Add the melted chocolate and coffee-milk to the butter and mix well. Add sugar gradually and beat until creamy and smooth. Apply to cooled layer cake. After frosting the cake, add the sliced almonds to the sides of the cake.

UPDATE: My sister's comments were that the Ebinger's cake had 3 or 4 layers, not 2. She also said that the frosting was a little thicker than it should have been. I will try this again and cut the two 9 inch layer cakes in half and then figure out a way to make the frosting lighter - maybe add a bit less chocolate and a teaspoon less of the espresso coffee. It was tasty, though. Just not the same as Ebinger's. I appreciate her honest evaluation. Thanks!

The Creative Cook