‘Tis the season for birthday cakes! My Greek hall-mate, Elisavet’s birthday was coming up and I wanted to make her something special to celebrate.  Even though a lot of my friends know I love to bake and cook, I have never attempted to make an actual birthday cake EVER, until now.  I have made tiramisu, cookies, and small pastries, but never an actual birthday cake.  The biggest reason for that is that Birthday day cake has too much responsibility attached to it. Not only is everyone going to sample apiece, but it’s also not something you can test before you share it. (Well I guess you can but that would be sneaky and wrong.)

Finally, I built up the courage to make some! With ready-made cake mix out of the picture, I settled for a chocolate base with a coconut crème. I needed something sweet but not overly sweet, since Elisavet, and many of my other international friends, complain that American desserts are just too sugary to handle, and I agree.

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The chocolate cake base:

Ingredients:

  1. 3 eggs
  2. 2/3 butter
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 2 cups of flour
  5. 2/3 cup of Cocoa ( I used Ghirardelli brand)
  6. 1-1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  7. 1 and 1/3 cup of milk

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Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat sugar and butter on high until you get a creamy mixture.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, while continuing to mix the batter.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients: baking soda, cocoa powder, flour.
  5. Add the dry mixture and the milk alternately to the batter.
  6. Continue to beat until you have a very creamy consistency.
  7. Oil the sides of your 9 by 9 cooking pan and poor in the batter.
  8. Place into preheated oven and bake for 35-40 min.

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I really dislike heavy sugary frosting so I decided to make a whipped cream instead. I was also very low on points, so much so that buying butter and other necessities for normal frosting would surpass my limit. But that reason did not change the fact that I was not going to settle for the container ready-made brand.

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Whipped cream:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup of heavy crème
  2. 2 tbspoons for sugar
  3. 1.5 teaspoons for vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Place mixing bowl and whisk into the freezer for 5 min.
  2. Start off with cream that has been chilled in the fridge, and pour it into your chilled bowl.
  3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and turn your blender on high OR whisk away!
  4. Continue beating the mixture until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat or you will be left with a buttery mixture!

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Assembly:

  1. Place your chilled cake upside down onto a serving dish. Then take your whipped crème and spread it over the cake with a spatula or spoon.
  2. Sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes and on top. To make toasted coconut just place coconut flakes on a baking sheet, spread out, for 5-10 in for 325 F. Keep on eye on them and mix them around. I recommend sweetened coconut, as it will darken faster.
  3. Resist the urge to sample from the side of the cake (people notice, I know from experience).
  4. Place the cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve (best if it’s within 8 hours)!
  5. FINALLY invite your friends over and surprise the birthday girl!

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Until next time,

- Ania ‘16