The majority of the summer was focused around my grandmother since we were hosting 90th birthday celebration for her. It was such an honor to celebrate this milestone with our family and friends. We had family that flew in from CA, AZ, FL, NY/ NJ and CO to help celebrate our grandmother's special day.
I took the week off from work to spend with our family... and bake and bake and bake. I made a double layer 9x13 birthday cake & 3 dozen cupcakes as well as about 8 dozen cookies for the evening. It was definitely an adventure to make all of the desserts but it was a great learning experience as well. I put my little kitchenaid stand mixer to work. For the cake & cupcakes, I use the marble cake recipe I've used before but tried a new chocolate frosting recipe. I also made about 100 royal icing pansy flowers to decorate the cake. I really liked this frosting-- I think I should have added a bit more milk to some of the batches as it was pretty dry but it came together nicely and worked pretty well for decorating.
I learned a few things in the process:
- I needed to double each cake layer recipe but couldn't really double it in my mixer, so I had to make 4 batches separately. That is really hard to do with a marble cake mix!
- The frosting was delicious but I had to make each batch separately as well... which slowed the decorating a lot because I had to stop and make a new batch when I ran out (I think I made 4 batches of frosting).
- I think I made the layers too thick because slicing the cake was nearly impossible. It was stacked a bit too high and fell over. I think I needed to use 1 1/2 batches of the cake recipe vs 2 batches.
adapted from Williams Sonoma
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 cups confectioners' sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 Tbs. milk, plus more, if needed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
All ingredients should be at room temperature.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler (I use a pyrex bowl over a pot of simmering water) or microwave the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, the 6 Tbs. milk, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, then reduce the speed to low. Add the chocolate and beat until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute more.
If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Makes about 4 1/2 cups.