All day last Saturday, as I was busy whipping up goodies, Annie kept asking me if she could help. Ben was my dishwasher throughout the day (more than willing since I was paying him $10 to do the job), but Annie had no other job than to lick the beaters (a job she is very willing to do for free!). But she wanted to do more than just taste the unbaked components.
Upon completion of the nonpareil chocolate chocolate chocolate cake, and three varieties of cupcakes, all with different fillings and icings, I had several little containers of icings in the refrigerator. I also had leftover chocolate cake layers in the freezer from an experiment gone wrong. And we had friends coming for dinner - actually bringing the entire dinner to our house because they knew I'd have no time to cook that day. (These are very, very good friends!)
I told them that I'd provide wine and dessert.
Finally, Annie was allowed to get her hands on a cake! She was so patient all day. We pretty much just threw this cake together - cutting the cake layers and stacking them with a layer each of chocolate ganache icing, coconut buttercream, and vanilla buttercream (recipe below). Leftover chocolate ganache icing spread on top and leftover nonpareils lining the outside.
It was beautiful - and so delicious! And just the perfect size for each of us to have a slice.
Fluffy Vanilla Frosting a.k.a. American Buttercream
from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Note: This is the icing I make if I need a quick white icing for writing on or decorating a chocolate cake. It requires no cooking and whips up in no time. If I just need a little icing I only make 1/3 recipe using 1 stick of butter and I use a hand mixer. Add a little milk (a few drops) if the icing is too thick or isn't coming together.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until the frosting is nice and fluffy.