Birthday Cake by Proxy Tradition: Starlight Double Delight Cake

Starlight Double Delight & The New Year’s Ball

I knew before the big Christmas bake that there would be another chocolate cake early in the new year as well as which cake it would be. Since I’m thinning the recipes in five, count ’em, five, recipe boxes, it includes recipes for various chocolate cakes. With leftover cream cheese and starlight mints from the bake, plus two birthdays on the 5th of January for little girlies who don’t live near me, it’s time for another in my new tradition, birthday cakes by proxy. Happy birthday to Hannah! and Anya!

My father told me several times that this particular chocolate cake was his favorite but I don’t recall having had it. Now that I’ve baked it, I know why it was his favorite.

Light chocolate, moist and with perfectly soft icing

For the person who prefers light rather than dark chocolate and who likes a hint of peppermint, this is a marvelous cake and fun to make. It was the 1951 Pillsbury Bake-Off Grand Prize winner by Helen Weston from La Jolla, California, and two reasons for the win are easy to discern. One. It’s delicious. Cake judges also like cake. Two. The technique by which it incorporates frosting into the dough, two cups of it, is unusual. It eliminates the need for granulated sugar in the cake dough, and there is a total of only four ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate in cake and frosting combined. Cake judges like new ways of doing old things.

Light chocolate with hint of peppermint. Lovely.

The cake pleases those who go begging for a chocolate cake and frosting that isn’t “too dark” or “so dark.” This is “Ah, light chocolate.” The others might not get their chocolate quota from this cake, but they will certainly get their “I like cake” fix.

My hints: 1) Scoop the frosting out of the big mixing bowl into a smaller bowl, then measure two cups back into the big bowl and commence re-use of bowl to mix cake batter without washing in between. It will not be necessary to use the big mixing bowl again after the cake batter is done, either. The frosting stays beautifully moist if covered until the cake cools. 2) The recipe on the Pillsbury website and many food blogs says to spread only 1/4 cup frosting in between the two layers. Huh? That is way, way too skimpy to go out of my kitchen. Top and middle layers should be equal and maybe there’s less on the sides. Who wants the bottom layer to have just a hint of frosting? That’s what 1/4 cup is when spread across a 9″ layer.

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