After working my way through Cake Boss, I was seriously hankering after making a cake. A layer cake. And since I make these guys, oh, once a year or so, we can assume my skills are nonexistent.
I started with this recipe, from smitten kitchen. Let's pause for a minute to wax lyrical about Deb [full disclosure - I do not know and will likely never meet her: this is strictly a blog crush]: the recipes on her site are wonderful, are well-written, well-photographed, and highly accessible. Did I mention that her son has the greatest head of hair? My mom says Deb must be a good person because of how kindly she words her responses to comments.
Anyways, back to me. Since it's only me here for the next month, and I really didn't want to eat a frosted 9" 3-layer cake, I decided to reduce the recipe by 1/3, to bake a square 8" cake. The idea was to cut the single layer of cake into quarters (4" square) and make a mini-cake, which I could work on for the next week.
Last night I made the cake:
Can you believe how red the batter is? Apparently 2 TBSP red food coloring is one bottle. Yikes!
The red was evident even after baking:
But when I cut the cake for assembly, ah, there was too much cake.
In the above pic, the stack-o-cake is just 3/4 of the sheet. Which I dutifully filled and crumb coated:
Refrigerated and coated again:
Can you believe that this was my first time crumb coating a cake? This is the moistest cake I've ever tried to frost. Well, it definitely looks homemade. As a proof of concept cake, it was a success: the 4" mini layer cake is a good alternative for one, two or three people with small appetites. If I were to redo this particular cake, I would have refrigerated the frosting a smidge, and been more thorough with the crumb coating step. If you leave the sides unfrosted, I think half a recipe of frosting would be sufficient, although this application required about 2/3 of the frosting recipe.
And what of that last piece?
I ate one (guess which?) and the rest went into the freezer.