Friday, June 24, 2011

A 12-Layer Cake ~ An Amazing Dessert!

My cousin's 19th birthday was a couple weeks ago, and after I showed him the completely awesome and amazing 14-layer cake made by the talented Bakerella, he asked me, "Can you make a 19 layer cake?"

I considered it for about a month before his birthday rolled around.  It was going to be a challenge, because I would have to double any recipe for such multi-layer cakes as this one.  Then he said just a 14-layer cake would be fine.  Then I got to thinking about it, and decided just to make a 12-layer cake.

Please wipe the drool off your keyboard.

I used the same Smith Family's 12-layer cake recipe that Bakerella used, plus her chocolate buttercream frosting.  This required me to use a grand total of six sticks of butter.

It's almost an obscene amount of butter.

I've never used that much butter ever in one recipe.  Not even something from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Anyway, I creamed three of the sticks of butter together with 2 and 1/2 cups of sugar, then added 6 eggs one at a time, mixing well between each.

That's almost an obscene amount of eggs too, isn't it?

I sifted together 4 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Then came the tricky part.  I alternated adding the flour mixture with adding 3 cups of milk.  It was tricky because the flour likes to "puff" everywhere, and the more milk I added, the "sloshier" things got until the last addition of flour.  And my mixing bowl was the fullest it had ever been, right up to the top of the beater.  Last, I added 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Prior to starting the batter, I buttered 12 foil cake pans and placed rounds of baking parchment in the bottom of each one.  Then I used a scant cup of batter for each pan and spread it as evenly as I could.  The cakes need to bake in a 375 degree oven for about 12 minutes each.  The cakes won't be that browned, but they'll be firm and sort of look like pancakes.  I was able to stagger three pans in the oven at once - two on the top rack and one in the middle of the bottom rack, both positioned as close to the middle of the oven as possible.

The cakes need to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before you remove them and let them cool completely.  The cooling process took hardly any time at all because the layers are so thin.

While the cake layers were cooling, I made the chocolate icing to drizzle over the cake, as per the Smith Family's recipe.  I combined 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, one 12-ounce can of evaporated milk, and two sticks of butter (now rather softened) in a saucepan.  This I brought to a boil, then cooked on medium low heat for three minutes.  Off-heat, I stirred in a tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Of course, by this point I was starting to feel a little time crunch and realized I needed to get this icing process going if it was going to be ready for my cousin's birthday dinner that evening.  I couldn't use the icing until it had cooled enough to thicken some, so I tried putting it in the refrigerator for a little while.

I surfed the web, checked on the cake layers, watched the weather.

My icing still hadn't thickened after ten minutes, so I stuck it in the freezer instead.  After about fifteen more minutes and two stirs later, I had icing that was sort of thick around the outside of the pan, but still pretty thin and warm on the inside of the pan.  Then I got a brilliant idea.  I grabbed the ice maker bin out of the freezer and set the pan in that, stirring for all I was worth.

It worked.

Now I was ready.  I put an 8-inch round cake board on my cake rack, which I then placed in a small cookie sheet.  Then I set the first layer on the cake board and started layering icing with cake.  In hindsight, I could have probably put more than three tablespoons of icing between each layer because I then had an awful lot of icing leftover to pour over the top and sides at the end..  I'm pretty sure I had a good half a cup of icing in the cookie sheet instead of on the cake, but this was my first time trying this whole thing out.  Still, it was drippy and awesome.  I let the cake sit in the refrigerator for about a half hour to give the icing time to set up bit so I could frost it with the chocolate buttercream.

Now for the buttercream.  This took a stick of softened butter and an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese, also softened at room temperature.  These were creamed together, and then I added 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, a pound of powdered sugar (watching out for the "puffs"), a teaspoon of vanilla and 3 tablespoons of milk.

It was creamy and light, but not even half as dark as the buttercream Bakerella made, but it was still awesome.  I frosted the cake, put it back in the fridge until it was time to go.

So.... It wasn't the prettiest frosting job I'd ever done.  But I got to lick the beater and the spatula.  This was a really tall cake, too.  In fact, it was too tall for my cake carrier, which is why I had to transport it on my round platter, carefully wrapped loosely with plastic wrap (which, by the way, is both a blessing and a curse).

My entire family was astounded by the size of this cake.  They were even more astounded when it came time to cut into it.

Everyone ate a tiny sliver.

Then our arteries clogged from the amount of butter in this cake, and though we commented that we should go for a big walk around the block, we all rolled to a chair or couch somewhere in my aunt's house instead.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! I love Bakerella, and tried to make the exact same cake. I didn't do so hot. Somehow my cake layers were slanted, thicker in the middle and thinner on the edges. It looked so odd.