It’s not often we have a three-layer cake sitting around the house. I really like my baked desserts fresh as can be — ideally eaten warm from the oven — and cakes have a way of sitting around for a while, getting dryer with every passing minute. But I didn’t really see the point in cutting corners on this week’s cake, chosen by Stephanie. The whole idea is to have three beautiful layers, with plenty of billowy marshmallow frosting in between. Who am I to stand in the way of a three-layer cake covered in marshmallow frosting?
My secret hope was that the cake would taste like a supersized whoopie pie. There are few things in the world that make me happier than a truly excellent whoopie pie. Maybe one day I’ll grow out of it. I hope not.
Anyway, here’s what you need to know about this cake. It’s definitely worth trying, but I found it to have two slight drawbacks.
The chocolate cake is good, very good, but it’s not intensely chocolate-y. I would have liked one more ingredient to intensify the chocolate flavor — espresso, say.
The filling/frosting is a show-stopper, visually. It’s light, airy, silky soft. But the flavor left me a little disappointed. I read in the Tuesdays with Dorie “problems and questions” discussion that some quirky bakers didn’t like cream of tartar. Huh? Like baking soda or gelatin, cream of tartar should just quietly do its job to lift or stabilize or whatever needs doing and leave without a trace. [Will I ever be able to write that phrase without hearing Phil Collins crooning in my ear?] Well, it turns out I’m one of those quirky bakers. Cream of tartar provides a slightly metallic, chalky flavor, and the frosting is so delicate, there’s no place for it to hide. Little ole cream of tartar. Who knew?
It’s a beautiful cake and I’m happy to have it here. But next time I might try it with my favorite whoopie pie filling (coming soon) or perhaps my favorite peanut butter frosting….
Peanut butter frosting
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.