Tony got up early to make my birthday cake. When I woke up, there was a lovely chocolate cake smell wafting through the house and Tony was kissing me goodbye. When he came home he whipped up a lovely birthday dinner, my favourite: Linguine with Chicken in Sour Cream Sauce. Whenever he asks me what I want him to make, this is what I ask for. The cake too, was familiar: Mocha Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, which was the first birthday cake he ever made me.
Tony is good at cakes, and makes them and their frostings without difficulty, something he seems to have inherited from his mother. He laughs a little, surprised, when I express my appreciation for his cake skills. He prefers to mix everything by hand, even his egg whites (and he does manage beautiful meringues). Here’s the recipe for my birthday cake.
½ C strong hot coffee (he doubles the mix for instant coffee crystals)
½ C cocoa
½ C butter
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ C sour cream
2 C all purpose flour
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Grease 2 9-inch cake pans. Dust with flour.
3. In a small bowl (bowl A), mix coffee with cocoa, stirring as you add the coffee. Let stand until cool.
4. In a separate bowl (bowl B): Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks; beat until batter is thick. Add coffee mixture.
5. In a small bowl (bowl C), dissolve baking soda in sour cream.
6. Alternately add sour cream mixture and flour to coffee mixture (bowl B); beat well after each addition. Fold in egg whites.
7. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ C butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ½ C confectioner’s sugar
1. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar and beat until fluffy.