Abstract Painting Chocolate Cake
Hola! Do you know what today is? It’s my birthday! I’ve completed 27 wonderful and sometimes awkward trips around the sun! 27 doesn’t feel too much different than 26. Except last year I distinctly remember that all I wanted to do for my birthday was eat Mac and Cheese all day... and this year all I want to eat all day are vegetables and other green things. I can’t really tell if that is a sign of maturity and a stronger awareness of self care or if it’s because we just got back from vacation 2 days ago and we each ate a total of 15 tacos in 3 days. Who knows?!
We just got back from a long weekend in Mexico City! It was so lovely. As I already mentioned, we ate a lot of tacos, and so many other delicious things! Literally everything we ate was like the best thing I ever ate. I’m going to share a blog post about our whole trip- everything we saw and ate- and share it soon! Hopefully within the next week, otherwise it’s never going to happen. You all should plan your trips to Mexico City now though. Seriously. Such a great place! The colors of the city alone were so inspiring. I’m thinking of making a Mexico City or Luis Barragán inspired cake! I’m imaging blocks of Mexican pink, bold blues, and some creamy neutrals.
I’ve gotten very into abstract cake decorating lately if you haven’t noticed. I love it so much because it doesn’t involve painstakingly piping perfect flower (I will attempt that later!) and it’s a stress free way of playing around with forms and color. I wanted this year’s birthday cake to sort of be a self portrait. Last year’s birthday cake was more Reuben focused because was turning the big 30 and had just passed all his architecture licensure exams, so I made the cake look like a concrete column... sort of. But this year the cake is a reflection of me! It has swooshes of warm orange and yellow hues with a little accent of blue. If you want to hyper analyze the design of the cake like we did in college art history, you could say that it’s an expression of my big, colorful, and chaotic moves in life, but the blue accents represent Reuben’s presence in my life and his ability to balance me out. Our something like that lol.
It pretty much matches the aesthetics of my life which makes me so incredibly happy. The inside of the cake is a classic chocolate. I realized that all my cakes on Eat Cho Food are vanilla based and I felt like I needed to diversify! It’s really yummy and moist! I got to enjoy the cake scrapes when I first made the cake a week ago, but we finally got to cut into it last night at dinner. Still yummy and moist! I’ll probably have another slice tonight and then another for breakfast tomorrow.
Does anyone want a slice of chocolate cake????
Abstract Painting Chocolate Cake
makes one 3 layer 6" cake
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup AP flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk*
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup boiling water
4 sticks softened unsalted butter (2 pounds)
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp milk
gel food coloring
* if you don't have buttermilk and only have milk, you can stir 1 cup of regular milk with 1tbsp of white vinegar and allow to sit for 5 minutes until thick.
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pans and line bottom of the pans with rounds of parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Stir in boiling water and mix until smooth.
3. Pour the batter into the cake pans. Lift each pan about 3 inches from your work surface and drop a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 28-30 minutes until done. Test for doneness using the toothpick test Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from the pans and allow to completely cool on a wire rack. Place cakes upside down on the rack to help level the cakes.
4. While cakes are cooling make your buttercream. Whisk softened butter with the paddle attachment on your standmixer for 2 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium low and gradually add in powdered sugar. Add in salt, vanilla, and milk and mix on medium until fluffy. Reserve about 1/4 of your buttercream for mixing in colors. If you need more buttercream for decorating add another stick of butter and 1 cup powdered sugar.
5. Once cakes are completely cool, level off your cake layers. Keep cake scrapes for a snack later! Place a small blob of buttercream on a cake round and place a layer of cake on the cake round. Add buttercream, top with another cake layer, and repeat one more time. Frost the whole cake with a thin layer of buttercream to make your crumb coat. Place cake in the freezer for 15 minutes. When crumb coat is solid, add another layer of buttercream until smooth.
6. To decorate in an abstract painting style, mix your remaining buttercream into various colors. I recommend having at least 3-4 colors. Have 2-3 colors within a similar color range and then one additional color in a contrasting bolder color. Apply dabs of colored buttercream to your cake and smear with an offset spatula in various directions and sizes. Decorate to your liking!