Has one of your dear friends ever broken your heart? I mean just crushed you with a seemingly matter-of-fact statement? One of my girlfriends did that to me right as I was leaving Maui last year. She said to me, “You know, I’ve never tasted one of your cakes.”
Cue utter devastation on my end.
WHAT??! How can this be? Was there never a cake that I made when she was in attendance for its serving?? We verbally walked through all of the cakes I made while on island, and I think I died a little when we recounted all the times I made cakes but she wasn’t there to partake. So you’ll understand my determination to feed her some cake at the first chance I got, right? After all, feeding people is my love language.
I had the opportunity to travel back to Maui to see my friends in the days surrounding the 4th of July holiday this year. I had several people ask if I was planning to go on any cruises, hikes, or snorkel trips, but honestly I didn’t plan to do any of that. All I wanted was to see my friends. It’s truly all I really cared about doing while I was there. Well, that and thawing out because living in San Francisco is much chillier than I bargained for.
When I started making plans for this impromptu trip, this particular friend reached out to me and offered to have me stay with her the whole time I was there (you’ll recognize her from Episode 3 AND Episode 4 of Baking And Boozing). Can you believe such generosity exists?! I think my jaw hit the floor when she messaged me. But I was more than happy to accept that offer, so off I flew to stay in her happy home.
But before my flight to Maui, I made note of the fact that her birthday is the week after I planned to leave Maui and I wasn’t about to waste my opportunity to make her a birthday cake, especially since she hadn’t tasted one of my cakes before! I nonchalantly asked what kind of birthday cake she likes, but she saw right through me. She laughed and responded with, “anything chocolate”, but then insisted that I didn’t have to make her a cake on my vacation. I reminded her that I knew I didn’t HAVE to make it, but I was going to make her a cake because I WANTED to make her a cake and there was simply nothing she could do about it 😇
Originally I was going to make her a chocolate cake with vanilla mousse filling and a whipped ganache frosting to provide a bit of flavor contrast, but vanilla mousse can get complicated and is a bit more time consuming than I was willing to tie up her kitchen for (long story short for a vanilla mousse I would have had to get more ingredients to make a meringue and I didn’t want to battle with that in someone else’s kitchen). So I asked her if switching to chocolate on chocolate on chocolate (or chocolate^3) would work for her, and I was met with a resounding YES.
So chocolate mousse to the rescue (it’s one of my favorites anyway!) for our filling. Here’s my tip of the week: when I use mousse as a filling for my cakes, I always insert a skewer all the way down through the bottom layer of the cake before frosting the outside. The mousse is not a sturdy filling and your cake layers will slide all over the place if you let them.
The skewer will keep them from shifting around, and you can leave it in the cake until the crumb coat of the frosting technique has set. I left mine in until I was finished smoothing the sides of the cake and was scraping the final layer onto the top.
I chose to top this cake with a fan design of Emily’s favorite candy bars leaning on whipped ganache double rosettes. It turned out to be quite pretty and hopefully was pleasing to the birthday girl (and her adorable pup Charlie - I promise he didn’t get any chocolate but I did give him extra treats)!
All of this to say that I am broken hearted no more. I got to spend time with my dear friend (as well as many others!), AND I got to feed my friend a cake of her very own.
Happy eating, y’all.
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