I would like to start the post with a big thank you for all your support and good luck wishes for my 2-day PhD exam. I can tell you that I was pretty satisfied of my performance and glad that it is finally over after 2 months of study.
The day after my exam, I was invited to the 30th birthday party of my Brazilian friend, Carlos. After studying for so long, it was an opportunity to personally bake a surprise birthday cake for him. I love planning surprises and I had quite a few successful ones in the past. The last time I planned a huge surprise was on my 1st blogiversary for my Mexican friend, Mon. Her reaction was totally priceless.
Turning 30, that's something big. Being such a great friend, he deserves a surprise cake, one of these little joys in life. I knew there would be about 25 guests at the party, with half of the people that I never met. So I had to bake a cake, enough for everyone and make a first good impression too. When I think of the number 30, I immediately thought of baking three circular cake layers. The génoise was chocolate, the cream cheese frosting was chocolate, everything ended up to be chocolate. Who doesn't like chocolate? I assumed that everyone like chocolate. It took me a few hours to assemble it.
Now that it is done, it is time to carefully plan the surprise. The party was at my Peruvian friend's place, Jorge, so I knew his place pretty well. When I arrived at his place, I dropped the cake at the back porch and entered the building from the front. I was greeted by my friend Carlos at the door, wished him a happy birthday and started to chitchat with friends and guests. When Carlos got out of the conversation, I told them about the surprise cake. As the night progressed, more guests arrive and it was time to execute the plan. While a couple of friends distracted him, I took out the cake, lit the candle and everyone started to sing the birthday song. Reaction: priceless. Another successful surprise and a great collaborative effort from the part of everyone.
As you can see, I did not frost the edges of the cake, it gives the guest the freedom to choose whether they want 1, 2 or 3 layers of cake. Everyone ended up having 1 or 2 layers, except for one who asked for 3 layers. I received rave reviews about this cake, and some can't believe that an Asian guy like me made this cake. When you think about it, how many guys do you know know how to bake cakes? With a few years of baking experience, I know how to bake moist cakes and the perfect frosting which compliments well with the génoise.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Baking Time: about 20 mins per layer
Frosting adapted from Donna Hay
9 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
375g cream cheese, softened
75g (1/3 cup) butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1. Grease with butter and coat with cocoa powder three 9-inch round cake pans.
2. In a large bowl, place egg whites, stand for 30 mins at room temperature.
3. In another large bowl, beat egg yolks and 1 cup of white sugar until thick and pale.
4. In a small bowl, combine and sift flour, cocoa powder and salt.
5. Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients into egg yolk mixture until blended. Set aside.
6. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until it starts to foam. Add in cream of tartar and gradually add 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until stiff peaks. As a test, the egg whites should not fall if you invert the bowl.
7. Incorporate 1/4 of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites. 1/3 of egg whites at a time until incorporated.
8. Preheat oven to 350F. Divide batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. Bake for 18-20 mins or until it springs back when gently pressed or passes the toothpick test. Allow to cool completely.
9. Prepare chocolate cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until pale and creamy, about 5 mins.
10. Add in icing sugar and cocoa powder. Beat for an additional 5 mins until light and fluffy.
11. To assemble, turn out one cake layer onto a flat surface or plate. Spread with 1/3 of the frosting. Repeat this process with the remaining layers and frosting.
12. Hold a chocolate bar with a paper towel and carefully shave chocolate with a vegetable peeler to create curls. Garnish on top of the cake.