It was Greta’s birthday this week, and birthdays equal cake. Really, I’ll use just about anything as an excuse to make cake. [See next week, where I make cake because someone’s facebook status was a wish for cupcakes, and Julia said “Cindy will make you cake, come over.” And I said, “How’s Sunday?” I kid you not.]
But, in what seems to be a first, we managed to actually eat and craft on craft night. I attribute this to the fact that we crafted first, and THEN had cake. And – amazingly – went back to crafting after we ate. Certainly, the fact that we all had projects we really wanted to work on might have contributed as well.
Greta requested chocolate, so I whipped up a Devil’s Food cake, layered with Dark Chocolate Mousse and Mocha Whipped Cream. The cake recipe came from my baking bible – Baking Illustrated from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen. If you’ve never watched the show or visited their website, you should. Especially if you like science. When I got this book (because the idiot lawyer I used to work for didn’t want it and was giving it away!) I literally read it cover to cover. Because in the page or two before each recipe, it details all the variations they tried (different amounts of butter, chilled vs. room temperature ingredients, baking powder vs. soda, etc.) and what results they produced. So… you get a scientific paper with methods and results, followed by a seriously kickass recipe. What could be better? I love it. And if you’ve been following this blog – it’s where my pizza crust came from too. Also – my wedding cake. Yep. And I will stop extolling the virtues of this book now, and get on with the post.
The mousse is the dark chocolate variation in this Martha Stewart recipe, and it is really good – with or without the cake.
We had also been wanting to try out some more interesting ice cream flavors, so we went with pumpkin. I glanced at a recipe for sweet potato ice cream in The Perfect Scoop (another great cookbook), and modified it for pumpkin. Here’s what I ended up with:
1 cup whole milk
1 15oz can pumpkin
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon or so freshly grated ginger
Healthy sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg
Splash of cream (not necessary, but I had a smidge left from the mousse that needed to be used up)
Whisk ingredients together and chill in the refrigerator for several hours, then process in your ice cream maker according to directions.
When you eat it, it tastes just like pumpkin pie. Delicious!
And now for the inside joke portion of this post: