Since the first time I met them, The Electrician’s family has welcomed me to all kinds of dinners and celebrations. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be included in the big events and the teeny-weeny events, and to be treated like one of the group; it’s a totally new experience for me and I love it.
Tonight, we got together to celebrate his grandmother’s birthday. She goes by Mamère, and she turned (good manners keep me from discussing) years old while The Electrician and I were in BC last week. Suffice it to say she is very young at heart, and I could show you a photo and tell you Mamère’s age, but that’s a pointless operation because you’d never believe me anyway. She’s a dish at 70 something; I hope I keep it together that long!
While we were in Salmon Arm, our hosts took us to a local pottery and art sale to do a little shopping. My sweetie chose a beautiful hand-wrought glass dish streaked with vivid cobalt blue for Mamère. She loves blue and even just painted her living room a soft shade like the underside of a friendly cloud. At some point, I volunteered to make the birthday cake for tonight’s little gathering, and The Electrician’s mom suggested that we serve it on the new glass plate, which curves up at the sides and could hold a cake or a hearty portion of stew.
When it came time to serve it, The Electrician stuck some candles in icing like so:
Mamère loves dark chocolate, which is one of the many reasons why we get along so very well. I built the cake in three layers, and filled between the layers with a dark chocolate sour cream ganache. Then I used more ganache as a crumb coat and let it set overnight in the fridge before (very) gently frosting it with a mildly sweet boiled milk icing. The cake is crooked because the plate isn’t square, but I did the best I could on the birthday dish that was built for esthetics; levelness was not a priority for the glassmaker, which is cool but makes layering a cake on it a pain in the ann-oos. See the little dark chocolate curls on top? Yeah, I started them and then went to do my makeup, and The Electrician finished the job. He’s very proud of what he learned to do with the veggie peeler today.
But the best part of that cake was what I did to the insides. Check it out.
We didn’t tell anyone what flavour the cake was because we wanted the first slice to be a surprise. I used my checkerboard cake pan set, which I have been wanting to test out forever. Seriously, I’ve had it stashed in the cupboard for years. The lines between the devil’s food and the blue vanilla cake slumped a bit, but I think it’s because the cake was poorly supported on the curved dish. Regardless, the contrast of the chocolate and the Smurf blue is really pretty, and it tasted fantastic. I used sour cream to make the ganache, and it was delightfully zingy against the sweet cake.
If you don’t have a checkerboard cake pan, check out the Wilton website. Wilton has no idea who I am, but they make some good products and I’m happy to recommend the stuff I like. So far, this blog is sponsored only by my dad and my day job, and sponsors aren’t exactly lined up outside the dollhouse. Anything I promote, I genuinely approve of because there’s definitely no profit involved.
I found it much easier to put the cake batter into a big ziploc bag, cut one corner off and squeeze the goop into the pans evenly; frankly, I would have lost my mind doing it with a spoon. I’m going to practice at home a couple of times to see if using a level cake plate keeps the sections square after they’re layered, but I think a checkerboard cake will be coming with me to all the potlucks I attend in the next little while.
Besides, no matter how you slice it, as long as the cake tastes delicious (and it did) people really don’t care if the dessert is just a little bit crooked. Anyone who does can make his own damn cake.
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