Friday, June 27, 2008

Forgotten Something?

Birthday celebrations

Forgetting a birthday- be
it your partner's, your mother's or your best friend's, it's a cardinal sin. And whenever it happens, the guilty is always the worthy recipient of scorn and derision, and usually, what's coming to the accused is always warranted. Birthdays are important things, and should be celebrated accordingly- with festivity, and whenever possible with lots of food and alcohol. But what happens when you forget your own birthday?

Well, it's not exactly my own birthday that I have forgotten; now that would almost be equivalent to suffering retrograde amnesia, but it's actually the blog's birthday that I have neglected to remember. It's true, Milk and Cookies turned 2 years old, a good 8 weeks ago, and the momentous occasion almost passed by without so much as a mere mention or acknowledging it with a
hip-hip-hooray and a little rendition of "for he's a jolly good fellow". Shame on me! Perhaps I was too distracted by my up-coming travel plans.


Born on the 2nd of May 2006, how could I forget
that (slightly embarrassing) pioneer post that kicked off the whole odyssey into baking and eating? And the only way to exonerate one's self from the embarrassment and shame of forgetting their own blog's birthday is to make a cake celebratory enough to compensate for the indiscretion. Yes, for any baker, cake is the answer to most of life's quandaries.

I had always wanted to bake one of the celebration cakes featured in Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours. But I've always had this aversion towards seemingly complicated cakes, especially layer cakes that looked so labour intensive. They look all great and majestic in the pictures; tiers and tiers of scrumptious layers towering towards cake heaven but ten mixing bowls and several whisks later you find yourself knee-deep in batter you no longer have the will to bake.

I'm more one of those 10 items or less chicks, nothing complicated, no fuss, no mess. I usually don't go for recipes with so many steps that include beating, melting, sifting, whisking, folding, sprinkling and a lot of waiting around for things to bake then cool and settle before you go on to the next step. Call me the impatient baker but I'm all for simple desserts; that's probably why you see so many small cakes on this blog. They're quick to bake, and the quicker they come out of the oven, the quicker I can get to eating them.

Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake

In saying this, my curiosity was getting the better of me and I was imagining what it would actually be like to be the architect of one of these tower of Babel constructions. It's mortifying to say but I think this has to be my first proper attempt at a layer cake. Be it a cake of only two layers, but a layer cake nonetheless.
And all this time I had the audacity to call myself a baker, tsk tsk. There goes my reputation.

Also, I figured that going through the whole process of making this layer cake would be the only penance that could justify my wrongdoing. After all the blog has treated me so well over the past two years, it was the least I could do for such an oversight. So off I went, on my day off work to make a cake worthy of forgiveness.

There's not much I can say about this cake that you wouldn't already gather from looking at it. It looks delicious and it tasted just like it looked. The cake is all Dorie, except for the cream filling. I just thought that there needed to be something to soften the richness of the chocolate cake and the cream does this really well. There's also much to be said about my frosting skills (or lack of it) with the blank patches at the bottom edges of the cake, but hey, for my first reluctant hand at this I think the blog and I can finally move forward and put this whole thing behind us.

Do I make you hungry, baby?

This cake is dedicated to the blog and to another great year of blogging. And with the blog going into a new chapter in the next coming months it's only fitting to set-off the move to London with this cake, I guess making layer cakes aren't all that bad (as she takes another forkful to her mouth).

And a big thank you to all the well wishers who voiced their delight and excitement about my up-coming move to the United Kingdom, I cannot wait.

Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake

Serves 12
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
110g bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)

150g bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
¼ cup (packed) brown sugar
2 tbsp malted milk powder
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup boiling water
180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ cup confectioner’s sugar

200ml pure cream
2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 180ÂșC.
Butter 2 x 22cm round springform cake tins, dust the insides with flour and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer in a large bowl; beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.
Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, then yolks, beating 1 minute after each addition.
Beat in vanilla extract.
Reduce mixer speed and add the dry ingredients alternatively with buttermilk, staring and ending with dry ingredients. Mix only until each new batch is blended into batter.
Add the melted chocolate and fold in with rubber spatula (optional).
Divide batter between two cake tins.
Bake for 26-30 minutes or until cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the tins.
Transfer cakes to racks and cool for 5 minutes.
Run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmould. Peel off parchment paper and invert and cool to room temperature.

Melt the chocolate with half the brown sugar in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat.
Whisk the malt powder and cocoa together in a small bowl, pour over 3 tsp boiling water and whisk until smooth.
Gradually whisk in hot malt-cocoa mixture with melted chocolate- it should be dark smooth and glossy. Set aside.
Beat butter until soft and fluffy and add the remaining sugar and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until well blended.
Beat in salt and vanilla.
Scrape in chocolate mixture and mix until smooth.
Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar and beat for a couple of minutes, then add the remaining tablespoon of boiling water and beat until well blended.
It should be thick enough to use immediately. If it doesn’t hold its shape then beat it a just a bit more.

Whisk cream into stiff peaks, it should be able to hold its shape properly.
Sift in confectioners sugar and fold into cream.

Place one layer top side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected by strips of parchment paper.
Spread the top of this layer with cream filling.
Cover with second layer.
Frost the sides and top of the cake either smoothing buttercream for a sleek look of using a spatula, knife of spoon to swirl for more exuberant look.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour to set the frosting then bring it to room temperature before serving.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

HAPPY 2-YEAR BLOG BIRTHDAY/ANNIVERSARY!!! I just posted about my 1-year blog anniversary :0)

Anonymous said...

!oh wow! i've made a couple of cakes from that dorie book, but somehow missed this one. i love buttermilk in a cake, so this is one to try for sure, it looks fluffy and chocolately.
may i also recommend one? from a book roughly called "the ultimate" recipe book, a BBC one (apt as you will be moving to london). the recipe is also on their website at
it's the only chocolate cake i ever make now. but i shall definitely try yours!

Recetas al instante said...

what a great cake.
I never forgot my birthday and I try to do something fun that day.

Pille said...

Happy blog anniversary, JenJen! My Nami-nami turned 3 recently, and I almost forgot it as well :)

ChichaJo said...

Oh! Belated happy blog birthday!!! :) With a cake as gorgeous as that I'm sure you were forgiven a hundred times :)

Good luck on your upcoming move!

Beth (jamandcream) said...

This more than makes up for forgetting! Looks fantastic!

Y said...

Happy Blog Birthday! And good luck with the move to London. Looking forward to reading more about your exploits.. now, International Exploits! :)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Happy (belated) Birthday!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Happy blog birthday, dear Jenjen!
Your blog was a huge inspiration for me when I started blogging. And still is!

That is an amazing cake.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the 2 year anniversary. This cake totally does the blog justice. I've made it before and found that it is really fail-proof. A nice layer cake to try, especially if layer cakes aren't your cup of tea.

Mari said...

Happy birthday Milk and Cookies! Glad that you're still around, my dear! That cake is gorgeous!

Tea said...

Happy birthday--and what a gorgeous cake.

Here's to your adventures to come. So exciting!

Helene said...

Happy Blog Birthday Jen! Can't believe it's been that long/short yimr. Thank you for starting one because you gave me the ings to start one myself and my life has been forever altered by it (I'll tell you more later).
Have fun in!! How wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Happy blog birthday, this is indeed one delicious blog, hope you have many more anniversaries to celebrate! And I've seen a layer cake before, the "Layered Espresso Walnut Loaf", remember? Very yummy too... :)

La Tartine Gourmande said...

Happy blog anniversay JenJen. A truly delightful cake. And good luck with your new exciting adventures!

wheresmymind said...

Happy B-day to you and Coco!!

Unknown said...

I love chocolate
thanks for your recipe

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

those photos are amazing jen... they make that cake look so sweet and scrumptious!

Anonymous said...

Happy 2 year blog anniversary! That cake looks so perfectly chocolaty and delicious!

Anonymous said...


Eva said...

Happy Blog-Birthday! That cake is truly worthy to celebrate such an occasion with!
I'm rather terrible at cake decorating but you did a really great job!

Katie said...

Happy belated 2nd blog birthday! The cake looks wonderful, buttermilk always gives cakes suach a great moist texture.

Anonymous said...

Happy blogversary, Jen! I enjoy reading your blog so much. Good luck in London, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time living there.

Chef Jeena said...

Happy blog anniversary! The cake looks so fabulous and chocolatey. :-)

jasmine said...

Happy blogiversary :)


Anonymous said...

OMG! That looks delicious!

Cynthia said...

What a fantastic job for a first attempt at layer cake!

Australia will surely miss you. All the best in the UK - and your food blog has probably prepped you well for your stay there! :)

Flo Bretzel said...

Happy blog birthday! Your birthday cake is amazing.

Anonymous said...

let me answer that question - YES! You are making me very hungry!!

What a lovely blog - the pictures are relaxing to look at. Happy blog-o-versary! you look very mature for being only a 2 year old.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday M&C! That cake looks gorgeous.

silverrock said...

Wow! your b-day cake looks amazing, I can't believe the blog is 2 years old. I simply love the layout and content of your blog, I read it all the time :)

BTW, I've tagged you to do a really short meme! Please visit my blog to find out the meme rules in my post titled "I've Been Tagged". Have an awesome day, Joanna :)

My Sweet & Saucy said...

You definitely made me hungry...this looks dreamy!

Anonymous said...

happy blog birthday dude!!! and good luck moving to the land of beer

CookiePie said...

Happy birthday! I think you've more than redeemed yourself for forgetting the date with this fabulous cake. Yum! I'll have my slice with a glass of cold milk, please...

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogaversary! Gorgoeus against the blue background! Your buttercream sounds a bit better then mine, I must try it!

Iron Chef Shellie said...

Happy birthday Milk and Cookies!!
I better remember when my blog's anniversary is too!

Anonymous said...

Aww poor blog! Happy belated blogiversary! Delicious cake!

Niki said...

Mmm, such a beautiful cake! Happy Birthday, Milk and Cookies! :)

robbie said...

What a delicous looking cake - happy blog birthday. We demolished half of a White Choc espresso parfait last night - a special occasion dinner for a friend who has just come back from a holiday in England! Boy - did it knock our socks off - so, so good. Saving the rest for Sunday night dessert - if it lasts that long.

Sophie said...

That cake center looks very fluffy and cloud-like, heavenly! Happy belated blog birthday :D.

Pannifer's said...

A very happy belated blogiversary!!!

I really love the idea of baking a cake for your blog. I'll keep it mind for my next blog birthday.

Best of luck with the moving plans!

browniegirl said...

Mmmmmm delicious looking celebration cake. Happy 2nd blog birthday JenJen. And best wishes for your upcoming move to London. I love your blog. You are such an inspiration!!

jenniferhoiyin said...

can't wait to try this one out, it looks delicious, and happy birthday blog!
And good luck with the move.

Anonymous said...

Hi! We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)


Gloria Baker said...

Congrat by your Blog Anniversary!!! I really love your blog, Did you know your blog was the first I mark to my favorites (a year ago) I will birthday at August, so Im are so young,he,he xxxGloria

jeri said...

Happy Birthday blog, and wow, I wish I had a piece of that cake.

A happy heart at home said...

Happy Blog Anniversary! What an amazing-looking cake! I love the chocolate peaks on the frosting. I'm sure it was as delicious as it looked.


Anonymous said...

happy bithday, milk and cookies! :)
this cake made me really hungry, it looks soooo good!

Unknown said...

happy belated blog birthday Jen! Your beautiful blog always brightens up my day and makes me dream of when I can make it to Australia! Best wishes for many more years of happy blogging!

Squishy said...

Congrats, wow come to think of it, it will be my second birthday for squishyness in Dec. Time flies. Your blog looks fantastic still and I am still in awe of your photos everytime I drop by. Well done Chicky.

krissybee14 said...

Birthdays are special... I will be sad to if someone from my family and friends forget my birthday... The cake looks so yummy...Can't wait to try cooking it at home.Thanks for the recipe...


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Half Baked said...

Happy 2 year blog birthday!!That cake looks divine!!

Anonymous said...

belated happy birthday! ;-) thanks for sharing the recipe. just looking at your pics made me really hungry. hahahaha!

Grandma B said...

Love the cake! If I live in the USA, do I have to make adjustment on the measurements or have you already done that? I read that measurements are different here in USA...that 1 cup flour in Australia is 1 cup and 1/4 in USA. I can't wait to make it. Thanks for the reply.

KT said...

Hi JenJen, just wanted to let you know that I baked this cake yesterday for my sister's birthday - it was DIVINE! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I just made this cake for my step-daughter's 5th birthday. It was a huge success! The frosting is perfect (I didn't use the whip cream... the frosting was too good!).