This cake was a first for me, and I can thank the birthday person for whom it was made for the germ of an idea. I’d asked him and asked his wife to ask him what kind of birthday cake he’d like. I’d planned to make my grandmother’s Dutch Chocolate Cake for his birthday this year, but that was before I knew I’d already be making two other types of chocolate cake this week. I thought we’d all be on chocolate overload.
I suggested the 3-layer cranberry/orange cake* with the fresh cranberries. No. (There’s already cranberry relish.) Okay, then what? Raspberry Upside Down Cake? he asked me. No, too juicy, won’t work with brown sugar.
He said that his mother used to make him a layered cake, chocolate and white, with middle rounds cut out and exchanged, not quite a checkerboard cake, but close. He seemed to want chocolate, asking, not his exact words, but close, “Aren’t birthday cakes supposed to be chocolate?” I mentioned that I’d made a chocolate/vanilla layered cake this summer for a neighbor child’s birthday, but we didn’t get to discussing the frosting (a necessity) before one of us had to dash away.
I offered several suggestions in an email and pointed out that fridge space after Thanksgiving dinner might be limited, so a cake which could sit on the counter, covered, would be more suitable. I suggested a family favorite, Crazy Cake with Penuche Frosting, a perfect 13 X 9, easy to whittle. He preferred a round cake, didn’t know the frosting. He’d seen some recipes in a mainstream newspaper, he said.
I later made up his mind for him since he hadn’t and I didn’t want to have to go grocery shopping on Thanksgiving to make cake on Friday. I told him it would be white cake, raspberry filling, buttercream; he agreed. I kept the chocolate layer and raspberry buttercream as surprises.
This was my first ever batch of fresh raspberry filling, lots of smashing and straining and cooking and stirring and reducing and whew! It worked. So worth it. I made it last night just in case it didn’t work. There was enough to fill the cake and send a pint over for various uses, including (I hope) giving the kiddies the job of putting some dots or streaks on the plates before the slices of cake went on top, a way for them to be involved in the cake part of the celebration. They like to do that.
There was one leftover 8″ layer of the Crazy Cake I made for the last birthday (and which I didn’t stack on top of the other two layers because it’s the moistest of cakes and three layers becomes pudding.) I had the aha! moment, then planned the other cake based on egg whites left from the German Chocolate Cake on Monday. (See what happened there? Three cakes tied together by ingredients and me. Synchronicity.)
I needed two 8″ white cake layers, so I had to use long division and fractions again to cut the recipe from the usual three 9″ layers, but that’s okay. (I had to use them making Cranberry Lolly a couple days ago as well as convert grams to ounces because the scale weighs grams and the cranberries, after culling, did not weigh 12 ounces per bag and I needed multiples. Thank you, Miss Mitchell, 4th grade, Midland Elementary School, Tacoma, WA.)
I wrote the birthday wish on the top in chocolate, did a bit of decorating with berries, nonpareils and candles, then delivered the cake and forgot to take a photo. I went back and took one and it didn’t turn out, but a chunk of the cake made its way back over here for sharing. It’s a delightful cake. Ooo, filling. Ooo, frosting. Ooo, ooo.