I was sincerely bummed, Gentle Reader.
It was my birthday, but not only were the Matthews Family Band stuck at our respective homes and unable to make the trip to Greensboro to celebrate with …
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I was sincerely bummed, Gentle Reader.
It was my birthday, but not only were the Matthews Family Band stuck at our respective homes and unable to make the trip to Greensboro to celebrate with family, the inability to travel, and restaurant closures meant that there would be no Dewey’s birthday cake.
Dewey’s cake with extra frosting is the one thing that in some small way makes up for being one year older and closer to decrepitude. I literally swoon when I have that first bite.
Extra. Frosting. Denied.
This whole stupid pandemic completely ruined my birthday.
Gentle Reader, I’m am somewhat self-aware and know the global tragedy that is happening all around me. I also understand that in addition to the medical, riding shotgun with this virus is an unprecedented financial crisis that has ratcheted up the collective depression and anxiety level of everyone.
But occasionally you need to take a break from trying to figure out whether this is an apocalypse, the rapture, or Ragnarok.
So, sometimes I obsess about cake, and the lack of cake, and how many organs I would happily sell for a Dewey’s cake with extra frosting. Turns out, a lot, and even a few from my own body.
My birthday’s in April. It had been a month since the world shut down. So, I was depressed about missing out on festivities. I was also experiencing that first wave of cabin fever where we weren’t used to being stuck at home, but it was kind of fun to hunker down, read lots of books, and binge watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race. It was the days of sourdough and Joe Exotic.
It felt like a snow day, sort of. But even snow days get old if they go one for more than a month.
The Kid and I are really good at sensing one another’s moods. And I’m really good at whining and moaning. Thus, my child knew of my birthday bummage.
My sweet spawn decided to bake me a birthday cake.
I tried to get the recipe for Dewey’s frosting but didn’t worry about the cake itself, because after all, isn’t cake just the instrument that delivers frosting to mouth?
But no dice. Dewey’s has an ironclad policy against sharing recipes. I searched online, and kept running into this recipe that called for coffee creamer (I know!), and almond extract. Everybody said that it absolutely tasted like the best of bakery frosting.
As for cake, I asked for chocolate. But not just any chocolate; I wanted an uber-moist cake so dark and deep that it absorbed surrounding light, like a black hole.
On my birthday The Kid showed up with a chocolate cake slathered with a triple batch of frosting. The cake was awesome, and the frosting was good, but not quite right with this cake. We decided that lacking a recipe for that darn Dewey’s frosting, the second-best for that cake would be my mom’s.
When we lived in Puerto Rico, Mom took a cake decorating class. This was the all-purpose frosting they used. It’s so good. We use this frosting for my mom’s Christmas cookies (recipe in News + Record, Dec. 27, 2019, edition). I also like it on a spoon or failing that, a finger when nobody’s looking.
Thanks for your time.
Contact debbie at bullcity.mom.
BraveTart’s Devil’s Food Cake
12 ounces unsalted butter (3 sticks)
12 ounces brewed black coffee (1 1/2 cups)
3 ounces Dutch-process cocoa powder (1 cup)
6 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate, roughly 72% (about 1 1/4 cups)
16 ounces light brown sugar (about 2 cups)
1/2 ounce vanilla extract (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large eggs, straight from the fridge
3 large egg yolks, straight from the fridge
9 ounces all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal (about 2)
1 tablespoon baking soda
Getting ready: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F. Line three 8- by 3-inch anodized aluminum pans with parchment and grease with pan spray.
For the Cake: Combine butter and coffee or tea in 5-quart stainless steel pot or saucier over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat, then mix in cocoa and chocolate, followed by brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix in eggs and yolks, then sift in flour and baking soda. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. (If you don’t have three pans, the remaining batter can be held at room temperature up to 90 minutes, though the rise will not be quite as high.) Bake until cakes are firm but your finger can still leave an impression in the puffy crust, about 30 minutes (a toothpick inserted into the center should come away with a few crumbs still attached).
Cool cakes directly in their pans for one hour, then run butter knife around edges to loosen. Invert onto wire rack, peel off parchment, and return cakes right side up.
Let cake return to cool room temperature before serving. Under cake dome or inverted pot, the frosted cake will keep 24 hours at cool room temperature. After cutting, wrap leftover slices individually and store at cool room temperature up to three days more.