It’s been a while since my last post but, ya know, lazy.
So a couple of weeks ago I made a Slime Cake for a Halloween party. I got the idea from i am baker, of course. In case you haven’t noticed, I love her blog. The problem is that my cakes don’t turn out nearly as nice has hers. I’m the first to admit that I’m no decorator; I tend to just slop things together and if they taste good, I’m happy. But I do wish that I could make pretty cakes. At least I’m trying, right?
My first mistake was using a different cake recipe. I should have stuck with i am baker’s recipe but I figured using my go-to chocolate cake recipe wouldn’t hurt. This recipe is so easy and it was a work night and I also had to make dinner, work out, etc. I wasn’t looking for anything too complicated (this is also why I chose the Slime Cake. I thought it would be way easier than trying to make ghosts or spiders or any of that stuff). Anyway, I no longer have the link to Martha’s recipe but here it is:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon course salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup cold water
1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. In an 8 inch square baking pan whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Whisk until well combined.
3. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Easiest. Recipe. Ever. Plus, it’s super moist (sorry) and it’s also easy to adapt to bigger cakes, cupcakes, etc. I usually just double it and it’s good to go. This time, however, I tripled it since I was making 3 layers. Then once it was mixed I added some Wilton gel icing dye to make the cake black.
Maybe I should have skipped greasing the pans but I’m all about greasing with shortening these days. And yet, for some reason, all 3 layers stuck to their pans. Like, I couldn’t get them out. At all. I slid a knife around the edges, I turned the pans over and tapped on the bottoms. These cakes would not budge. I had to basically dig them out with my hands in the end. Did the layers fall apart? Of course they did. This is me we’re talking about.
On the bright side, the layers fell apart because they were incredibly moist (sorry). I wasn’t happy about the cake falling apart but I figured I could just paste it back together with frosting.
For the frosting, I asked Google for a buttercream recipe with shortening and it gave me this. The buttercream recipes I usually make always seem to be a little heavy and wet. I wanted to try one with shortening as opposed to butter, or maybe with both, to see if I could find something lighter and a little closer to the frosting you find at the grocery store bakery. This recipe came pretty close. Next time I’ll use more shortening than butter, or maybe even no butter at all. It turned out really good.
Once the frosting was mixed I added some of the gel dye to it. It didn’t turn pure black but it came out like a gray/black shiny tar-looking color. It was weird and kind of cool at the same time.
The most important thing I can tell you about this cake, other than using the recipes provided, is to make the pudding first. I make the cake and the frosting and THEN realized I’d have to wait for the pudding to set. Ughh…why didn’t I think of this before starting?! It didn’t take the full hour to set, but still. I used 2 boxes of vanilla pudding and added McCormick neon green food coloring. It didn’t come out as green as i am baker’s but it still looked kind of cool.
Then it was time to assemble the cake. I didn’t level the layers because I was afraid they would fall apart even more. So I just tried to paste them together as best I could with the frosting, and followed the blog on how to assemble the cake.
I figured a crumb coat would be a good idea since the cake was falling apart but when I tried to do the crumb coat… yep, the cake fell apart. So I used a pastry bag to frost it and tried to smooth it out with a cake lifter. And the cake continued to fall apart. All I could do was fill in the gaps with frosting.
I’m calling it Lump of Coal Cake. The edges were rounded because the layers weren’t leveled.
The cake was so heavy and also kind of gelatinous and I was afraid to add any “slime” to the top out of fear that the entire thing would just collapse. Now I know why i am baker made it a 6 inch cake. Hrm. So I boxed it up and put it in the fridge overnight. When I checked on it in the morning, it looked like this:
My cake had cracked in half! I text the party host and told him I couldn’t bring the cake to the party. I just couldn’t. It would be too embarrassing. But he insisted that we would eat it no matter how it looked and that he was sure it was delicious. And even if no one else wanted to eat it, that meant more for us. That’s why I love him. So I gave in and took the cake to the party but I did my best not to be associated with it.
I thought that if nothing else, the “slime” would look cool when the cake was cut. Guess what? I was wrong. The pudding was no longer green. It had somehow turned back to its original yellow color. Yeah. I have no idea how that happened. I didn’t take any pics of the cake at the party since I was trying to act like we hadn’t come together.
Regardless, the Slime Cake was a hit. Everyone said it was delicious, and I thought so too. The chocolate turned out rich and the cake was super moist (sorry). One friend even took some home with him. I was happy in the end, but man do I need to work on my decorating skills.
So, I’m glad it worked out. Especially since I was up until midnight working on it. So much for making an easy cake.