Chocolate (Strep) Cake with Raspberry Buttercream | Matt's Birthday

Did you know that small children can be "carriers" of strep throat but not show any visible symptoms? Did you know that Matt is a very open person who shares water glasses with the kids and is ready to receive slobbery kisses on the mouth from them at a moment's notice? This is all true and it's also the perfect storm to get strep throat three times in the span of five months. After Matt got it the second time, my mom mentioned the whole "they could be carriers" thing. I took the kids to the pediatricians and found out that yes, they both "had" strep. Point being, when it came time to decorate this cake (in the style of Wolfie of course) those cherry Ricolas felt juuuuuust right in celebrating Matt's year. (The plastic bug thing was Teddy's idea.)
As is the family tradition, when it's your birthday you get to pick what kind of cake you want made for you by me. Matt is typically a vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream kind of guy, but because Teddy's chocolate birthday cake was so delicious, he decided to go for this chocolate/raspberry combo. I used two different recipes: the cake is Lori's Chocolate Midnight Cake via Samin Nosrat. And the icing is from Yossy Arefi's Sweeter Off the Vine.
Isaac wasn't thrilled about the idea of waiting to eat the cake.
I don't think I've ever a made a buttercream the way this recipe instructed me to do it: you whip egg whites and sugar together in a heatproof bowl over simmering water until the sugar is completey dissolved and the mixture syrupy. Then, you whisk it, via an electric mixer, for 7 to 10 minutes, until it's super glossy and can form stiff peaks. Then, once it's at room temperature, you switch to the paddle attachment and add two whole cups of butter, one tablespoon at a time. (Teddy helped me at this stage, plopping each tablespoon in with his buttery fingers.)
The result is superb. It doesn't have that shocking sweetness of frosting made with powdered sugar. And when you get a bite of cake, fresh berry, and buttercream, it tastes like a richly flavored, multi-textured trifle. I like it a lot.  

For those of you who have tuned into Mom Rage, thank you so much! (We fixed an audio glitch so along with some great interviews with fellow parents, in two or three more weeks, you can look forward to some super clean, crisp audio too.)
In short, happy birthday, Matt! May this year bring you joy aaaaaannd far less strep! xoxxo

For chocolate cake recipe, go here:
Raspberry Buttercream via Yossy Arefi's Sweeter Off the Vine

8 ounces (225 grams) raspberries + another 8 ounces for the top of the cake
5 large egg whites
1 1/4 cup (250g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 cups (450g) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

Use an immersion blender or potato masher to puree the raspberries, then pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the seeds (or feed them to a four-year-old kid who is helping you).

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large heat-safe bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water, but rests just above it. Cook the egg whites and sugar, whisking often, until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites are syrupy and very hot to the touch. 

Remove the egg whites from the double boiler and, with the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the salt. Switch to the paddle attachment and turn the mixer down to medium low. Slowly add the butter to the meringue, tablespoon by tablespoon. During this step, it is likely that the frosting will "break," and you will think you have messed up. You didn't! All you have to do is turn up the speed on the mixer for a few seconds and the buttercream will come back together.

After all the butter has been incorporated and the buttercream is smooth and fluffy, very slowly stream in the raspberry puree and mix until well combined. 


Matthew said...

I love when you get the perfect bite of cake, ricola, and buttercream. Here's to a year of significantly less strep! xoxoxoxo

Kara said...

Happy Birthday, Matt!! This cake is beautiful, Amerz, and the plastic bug is my favorite part. I can’t wait for more Mom Rage! Yours, not mine. ;)