Baking My First Cake

I wanted to make my husband a cake for his birthday. It was the first time that I had done it and it was my first cake. We were also having people over for dinner so the pressure was definitely on. Weeks before, I asked my husband what he would like and he chose a chocolate cake. This particular recipe is a Martha Stewart one. Reading through it, it seemed simple enough. Days went by and it was time to make it!

I went on Amazon and bought 2 Wilton 9×2 pans. Little did know, I already had 2 pans in my kitchen cabinet above the fridge. I was too lazy to check. So now I had 4 cake pans. *face palm*

Martha’s recipe is for a three layered cake covered in chocolate ganache. I got all my ingredients ready and used my stand mixer to blend them all together. It took me forever to get ready because I still had to cut the parchment paper to fit all three pans, butter them and dust the sides and bottom with cocoa powder. I only cut two at first because I did not think that my other cake pans would fit in the oven and I did not think they were tall enough since the recipe called for 9×2 pans (my other pans were shorter than 2 inches). But really, the pans worked anyway even though they were a little shorter. 

When I creamed the butter, it was not really doing anything because my mixing bowl was huge and my paddle attachment was not getting all the butter at the bottom of the bowl. Looking back now, I should have used the hand mixer to cream the butter. When it was time to mix the rest of the ingredients in, I forgot to scrape the bottom of the bowl while mixing. As I was pouring the cake mixture into the pans, I noticed that the mixture at the bottom was not mixed at all. It was still white and not brown like it is suppose to be. I was so frustrated at this point because I already thought I messed up the cake batter. I did not think that what I made would fit into three pans. I had to pour the batter from the pan back into the bowl and use the hand mixer to blend everything in. I also had to butter the pans, cut the parchment and dust cocoa powder into the pans again. At this point, half the day had gone by. All of this was going on while breastfeeding my son too. 

I finally got all my cakes in and out of the oven. Two of my cake layers were super thin because I miscalculated how much batter to pour into the pans since I did not bake them all together. I baked the top layer last, which got most of the batter. I was really upset and thought that my cake was a disaster. My mom was helping me here and there because I had to often stop for feedings. 

But still I continued on. I chopped two pounds of bittersweet chocolate, which took a lifetime to do. It was like a mini arm workout. Once that was done, I melted one pound of chocolate with the heavy cream I boiled. Then I had to let it cool in the fridge. It was this part of the process that I did not anticipate taking so long. I was getting so impatient! When it was finally cool, I had to whip it with a spatula. This was also quite the workout. Spreading this ganache onto the cake was the easy part. My dad helped me with this part because I had to feed my son. After that was done, back to fridge we go. It had to be chilled for 30 minutes, at least.

Then it was time for the poured ganache. Same method except without the chilling. I just had to cool it at room temperature. After that, pouring it over the cake was a breeze.

The cake ended up being dry. I think the problem was that I did not cover the cakes after they were baked. And I did not cover it in the fridge. It was a shame because my husband said that it was a good tasting cake. It was rich and not too sweet. Best served with coffee or vanilla bean ice cream. Next time I will have learned from my mistakes and hopefully bake a better cake!

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