Checkmate Chocolate and Vanilla

I am back in business!! Well, sort of. What I mean to say is that the school year has started up again, and that means team birthdays, which means birthday cakes!

As I was browsing the internet recently, I came across this cool picture of a cake. And I thought to myself, “When can I next make this?” because it looks awesome. So when I was chatting with my colleagues about birthdays, we realized that our new colleague’s birthday was just last week, and she’s new to the school, so what better way to welcome her than with a belated birthday celebration!

So I started by making two cakes: a vanilla and a chocolate, and two batches of buttercream icing. Vanilla and chocolate of course 🙂

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Then came the fun, and rather complicated, part. You see, The two cakes were of different consistencies. I didn’t think of that before baking them. My vanilla cake was perfect, aka, not crumbly. I couldn’t say as much for the chocolate one. The smart thing would have been to make the vanilla cake recipe twice, but put some chocolate in it, instead of making two different recipes. But hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I didn’t have it at the time. So my yummy devil’s food chocolate cake was definitely not a good cake for this.

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Anyway, I persevered because, on one hand, I had no choice. The cake was for the next day, I had to go to work, and it was getting late. On the other hand, I don’t like fail, so it was a point of pride. I couldn’t accept tossing it all in the trash and buying a cake instead. So I put it all together, and got a pretty cool-looking cake.

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Finally, I got to the fun part. I covered the whole cake in chocolate buttercream icing. I love using buttercream because it has a real rich flavor, and I will always use butter over shortening when I can. For my overall decorating, I decided to pipe vanilla buttercream stars along to bottom to hide the edge of the cake, and to make buttercream roses to put on the top. Since Birgitta is new and I don’t know her tastes, I preferred to play it safe with flavors and decorations.

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Buttercream roses are fairly easy to shape. The important part is to keep the icing from getting too warm, because then, the roses no longer hold their shape. For the last two or three roses, I did actually stick my icing bag in the freezer for three minutes, just to firm things up. I learned how to make these from a video tutorial. Best tutorial I’ve found on these so far! Anyway, despite all of that, my first rose was a bit of a flop:

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But in the end, I did have a completed cake, that I was inordinately proud of (not the least because I managed to place nine buttercream roses on the cake without screwing things up).

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And the obligatory closeup of the rose centerpiece:

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Now, before all the cool decorating stuff, remember that I made a vanilla and a chocolate cake, and literally “cut and pasted” them together. So the final effect once I cut into the cake was this!

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Needless to say, my colleagues were very impressed… as was I! As always, I am thankful things seemed to work out. Although given the unevenness of the checkers in the cake, it is clear that I need to invest in some proper measuring tools, rather than guestimating with bowls and such.

Thanks for reading!

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6 thoughts on “Checkmate Chocolate and Vanilla

  1. CHECKMATE!….yum yum…

    Looks so awesome….I wanna eat it all up immediately!!!!

    Mi sembra incredibile …. Voglio mangiare tutto…

    And you sure are sweet as sugar….

    much love
    uncle peter

    PS…save some for me next time I visit Europe…

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