A Secret Pool Party: Pocky Chocolate Cake

Warning: this blog contains lots of yummy pictures.
Growing up, I’m not someone who got so clingy to my mom. Though I’m the youngest in the family, my parents never spoiled me and they rather treat me as if I’m the first born or so. However, through times, I learnt that my parents, especially mom, is always be there for me…especially for me and Frederick. She’s the one who keeps encourages us to be thankful, stay close to one another, and of course…eat more veggies (stay healthy). Mom will be mom, but I also learn that she’s a true friend.

Her birthday actually fell on Wednesday this year, so it’s hard to get together with some of her close friends. Hence, one of us spitted out a lovely idea to surprise her, instead. It’s been years since the last time we did party for her birthday. So, it’s such a thoughtful idea to mingle and have pot luck.

There’s no special theme for this pot luck. First, we thought of bringing my mom’s favorite food, but she doesn’t have any preferences, quite honestly. She enjoys almost every meal she has, plus she’s a brilliant chef. Oh, have I mentioned that she once opened a restaurant and was the chef? It’s long time ago, when I was under 5 y.o., however she decided to close down because she also had to manage another store. Yes, she’s a career woman and still able to take care of her family and cook different meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, each day. I guess, the right term is not a career woman, and more like a super lady.

This time, I decided to bake her a birthday cake, plus another menu set. I love baking birthday all kinds of cake, though it’s time consuming, but I feel satisfy and energize seeing smile faces and the oohs and aahs when the cake is done. So, when browsing some ideas for this cake, I thought it would be lovely to have chocolaty cake since she’s a huge fan of chocolate. Oh, my mom is so tiny, her weight was below 100lb (now is about 105lb) and she keeps eating chocolate every day. I’m so jelly!

I once made this cake and it tastes amazing. Well, who doesn’t love Thomas Keller. However, this cake is rich and chocolaty, so please be aware of that, but it’s a good companion for a cup of Joe. Instead of using a small-serving size pan, I use 8inch round cake pan, instead. Yes, I didn’t follow the instruction thoroughly….

Of course a birthday cake will need some colors and i’m glad I follow the recipe for light frosting. I tend to have light frosting for cake because we try to stay away from it. So, I only used very light frosting in between cakes and on the side as glue. I also added rum extract to give extra taste to this dark chocolate cake.

Between spongy and chocolaty cakes, I think I’d pick sponge cake for Summer, but chocolate cake is definitely not a bad option. So, what’s your favorite birthday cake?

Thomas Keller’s Chocolate Bouchons (Bouchons au Chocolate)
Recipe courtesy of Bouchon Bakery

SERVINGS: 12

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter and flour for the timbale molds
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, such as Valrhona Equatoriale (55%), chopped into pieces the size of chocolate chips
  • Confectioners’ sugar

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter and flour 12 timbale molds (Bouchon Bakery uses 2-ounce Fleximolds and serves smaller bouchons. You can also use 3-ounce [2- to 2 1/2-inch diameter] timbale molds for larger cakes.) Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very pale in color. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then one-third of the butter, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to a day.)
  4. Put the timbale molds on a baking sheet. Place the batter in a pastry bag without a tip, and fill each mold about two-thirds full. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When the tops look shiny and set (like a brownie), test one cake with a toothpick: It should come out clean but not dry (there may be some melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate). Transfer the bouchons to a cooling rack. After a couple of minutes, invert the timbale molds and let the bouchons cool upside down in the molds; then lift off the molds.
  5. To serve, invert the bouchons and dust them with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with ice cream if desired. (The bouchons are best eaten the day they are baked.)

Pink vanilla bean frosting
Recipe courtesy of SprinkleBakes

Note: if making an 8-inch version, increase the frosting recipe by 1/2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar – the finest you can find (usually 10x)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Pink gel food coloring
  • * Milk or heavy cream, optional

Methods

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners sugar.  Begin mixing on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla bean paste and beat again for another minute until light and fluffy. Beat in food coloring a little at a time until the desired color is achieved.

*Note: If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency.

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