This cake doesn't use any new recipes so it doesn't necessarily warrant a posting beyond a photo on the cakes page. But there are two reasons that I wanted to give this its own entry. First of all, I thought I did a really nice job of decorating it. And secondly, I made these two 6-inch layers back in May when I was preparing for the big wedding cake.
I had originally assumed this darkest chocolate stout cake layer would be the top tier of the cake, but the couple asked for this recipe to be used for the bottom main layer of the cake. I had already baked the 6-inch rounds, so I just kept them well-wrapped in the freezer.
In a way, I'm a bit embarrassed to share that I served a frozen cake to friends. At the same time, I'm also a bit proud of the fact that it is possible to bake from scratch but still manage your life so that you don't have to do everything at the last minute. I feel it's important to share this with others of you who have some time to bake, but maybe not at the times you most want to have baked goods. Don't be afraid to use your freezer, especially if you freeze things properly so they will be well-preserved.
Cake should be frozen on a plate just for 30 minutes or so, so they are firm enough that you can handle them and wrap them tightly. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then in foil. Label them so you know what they are, and place them carefully in the freezer until they are solid - you don't want anything heavy or sharp poking into it or it will dent! Frostings freeze really well and can be defrosted and refrozen multiple times without much problem. Cakes can also be filled and frosted and then frozen - this is common with wedding cakes, especially the top layer. Just freeze it unwrapped until it is firm, and then wrap it tightly in plastic. Cookies can be frozen as well! Our favorite thing is to make our own dough and freeze it in individual balls, then take out however many we want to bake up fresh. Friends who tell me they don't bake because "I would just eat them all!" have no excuse - bake a few, and freeze the rest of the dough and then you are ready whenever you want to give someone you love a fresh batch of homemade cookies.
I really like how the decoration on this cake turned out. Part of that is simply using a frosting that holds it's shape really well. See below for the buttercream recipe. The cake and the filling were both taken out of the freezer where I'd stored them for five months. Of course, when making something to take to a party, it's hard to sample the cake to know if it's still fresh - I just had to trust that it would be, and that any deterioration would be covered by fresh frosting. But I've done this enough times now that I don't worry about it anymore. I defrost the cake (and the filling and/or frosting, if they were made in advance as well) in the fridge overnight. Fill and frost it and it's ready to go - well, after a few chocolate shavings that is.
Amazingly Simple Buttercream
from Laura Temple
1 1/2 cups of sugar
6 large egg whites 4 cubes of unsalted butter (1 pound) softened to room temperature
3/4 teaspoon real vanilla
Put egg whites and sugar in top of double boiler over simmering water. Whisk until temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from heat and move to a stand mixer bowl. Whip on medium high until they are room temperature. (Wrap ice packs or bags of frozen vegetables around the base of the bowl to speed cooling).
Once the whites/sugar mixture is at room temperature, keep mixing, and add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time until all is incorporated. It might looked curdled part-way through, but just keep going and it will come together. Add the vanilla and mix just enough to incorporate it fully. Stir in any optional food coloring. This makes a great stark-white buttercream on its own.