I know myself well enough that I’m not at all surprised to find that I’ve been away from this space for almost a year and a half and felt suddenly compelled to return all on account of…a cake. Or, should I say, the cake.
First though, happy 2015! It feels really right to be back here, with the keys of my ancient MacBook clicking away under my fingers (and the entire computer threatening to spontaneously freeze and need to be restarted at any second) while a comforting late winter rain with falls heavily and satisfyingly outside. Here we are, just over a full month into this new year…
Okay, back to this cake.
You guys. I first stumbled upon Molly Yeh’s gorgeous, eponymous blog WAY late in the game. As in, oh, 5 + years after she started it. Everything about it appeals to me, from her photography to her writing style to (most importantly) the unbelievable recipes she creates and posts. Which is how I suddenly found myself inspired to spend an entire Saturday running around to buy the right sized cake pans, new cookie cutters, marzipan and practical things like cocoa powder and flour that most people just have around (I didn’t) and get to work in the kitchen on a cake I literally had not been able to stop thinking about since the day it was posted. I think it would be very fair to say that I developed a fat crush on this cake immediately, which tells you a lot about me.
Fast forward to me in the kitchen, covered in all those ingredients I just mentioned, swearing a lot. By the end of the first day, all I’d managed to do was dirty every surface within a 10 foot radius of the kitchen and bake off the four layers. I celebrated completing the first half of operation cake by joining some friends at our favorite, dive-y karaoke spot for severely strong gin & tonics and some expertly choreographed Backstreet Boys throwback tunes. As one does.
The next day, feeling rejuvenated and ready embark on the home stretch, I resumed the effort with my sights set on finishing and transporting said four layers of cake glory across the city to the Superbowl party I was attending. You see where this is headed right?
I learned how not to roll out marzipan (which I now know you should definitely dust with almond flour beforehand), stacked four rich chocolate cakes with a hefty smear of cocoa cream frosting, circle of flattened marzipan and dollop of raspberry jam spread between each layer and then figured out a good box to put the fully assembled cake into. I called a Lyft and struck gold with my driver who dramatically rolled up to stoplights with the lightest touch of his foot to the brake and accelerated on green with the speed of a tortoise to try to keep my precious cargo safe.
As you may have guessed, I peeked into the box with one eye squinted shut in preemptive dread upon arrival to discover that the entire top of the cake had managed to make an epic departure from the bottom half and now lay slumped against one wall of the box. The marzipan “12s” on either side had decapitated themselves and to be honest, the whole thing looked (as my brother so eloquently put it) like a “big pile of elephant poop.” I had to laugh. Very hard. It was by far the most lofty baking project I’ve ever taken on and I had so much fun making it but the sight of it in that box was absolutely hilarious. Glad to see that my sense of the absurd is still intact.
Oh, and: it was out-of-this-world good. Of course I used a spatula to recover it to the best of my ability and then we all dug in. I can’t say enough about this recipe (make it! Probably much more elegantly than I did!) and highly encourage you to check out Molly’s lovely blog for inspiration of your own.