Hands up if you like cake? Hands up if you like to eat cake for breakfast?! If your hand is still raised, you are going to adore this new monthly component that is the delicious brainchild of the lovely Miss Aimée White, creator of Food: Je t’Aimée. Aimée also happens to be one of our contributing cookbook reviewers as well as my Food & Wine Magazine Cover Recipe cohort, so when she told me about her newest project I signed up right away.
Each month we will tackle a recipe from Meg Ray’s Miette, a beauty of a cookbook based on treats baked up in Meg’s famous San Francisco bakery. Recipe by recipe we will bake our way through the book, blogging and bragging about our experiences along the way. One stipulation? We need to consume our efforts for breakfast along with our morning coffee. Twist my rubber arm.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to flip through the book, you’ll understand why Aimée decided to create a project around Miette. It’s gorgeous. Gorgeous in the type of way that makes you read through each and every page as if it were a novel, feasting your eyes on the beautiful photography and drooling over the baked deliciousness that scream “MAKE ME! MAKE ME NOW!”
Up first? The impressive Tomboy Cake that graces the front cover of the book.
Originally this cake was meant to be more of a conventionally frosted layer cake, but Meg fell in love with the aesthetic appeal of leaving the sides bare. She liked the contrast between the rough edges and girly pink frosting peaking out between the layers – hence the term Tomboy Cake.
This cake can be adapted to include a variety of cake and frosting combinations, but the book lists a Double Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream. Because the sides are left unfrosted and exposed to air, you want to ensure that the cake doesn’t dry out. The Double Chocolate Cake is exceedingly moist, making it the perfect candidate. But be warned – this cake is not for the faint of heart (or if you’re short on time). Next to the Spiced Chocolate Torte Wrapped in Chocolate Ribbons, I would have to say this is the most involved cake I’ve ever made. But I enjoyed the challenge and loved trying out new techniques, such as straining the batter through a fine sieve to remove lumps and prevent over mixing. Sifting the cake pans with cocoa powder (rather than flour) was also something new for me, a trick meant to give the exterior of the cake a smooth finish.
The recipe for Raspberry Buttercream is modeled after the European style of buttercream, and involves an egg white base. American buttercreams tend to be sweeter and do not use eggs, instead integrating a simple mixture of butter and icing sugar. Because I knew there would be a couple of pregnant ladies indulging in the cake, I opted to avoid the use of raw eggs and instead made my go-to (American) Buttercream Icing. However, I did adapt the recipe to include the fresh raspberry juice as outlined in the book.
I ended up serving this cake for an impromptu ladies breakfast, in celebration of my sister-in-law’s birthday.
Nothing beats indulging in a slice of this extravagant cake with your coffee at 9:30 in the morning!
There was one thing that stumped me: the recipe produces two 6-inch cakes, one of which is meant to be sliced into three layers. However, there was no way I could have got three layers out of one cake. If you look at the photograph each layer appears to be quite significant, so I’m not sure if food styling tricks were at play or I’m just out to lunch. In the end I used both cakes, slicing them each in half for a quadruple layer cake.
After each of the ladies took home a piece of cake for their significant others, I’m proud to say there wasn’t a single crumb left! The cake was rich, moist and decadently full of the irresistible flavour of chocolate. Initially I was concerned it would have been too sweet due to the amount of sugar called for in the recipe, but it was perfectly bittersweet and paired nicely with the sweet frosting.
Can’t wait for next month’s recipe challenge!