Ok, so I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned to you about my store bought birthday cake fiasco.
Fortunately, the cake that I baked for myself that weekend more than made up for it.
Inspired by the Heaven and Hell Cake I saw on the Saveur.com website, I created my own rendition. I decided to go big: SKY HIGH big to be precise, making thick, moist cake layers using 6- inch pans to get the job done. The result was 8 towering layers that alternated between devil’s food cake, angel food cake, and disks of crunchy almond meringue and peanut butter crunch. The stacked layers are then enrobbed in the finest quality milk chocolate ganache.
What you end up with is a big slice of Happy Birthday cake! With a grin from ear to ear, I felt like the cake whisperer when my beautiful creation was complete. I had done my ingredients proud.
Annnnd, now for the photographic tour of the birth of my cake!
The Set Up
About to cut the cake layers using toothpicks to guide my serrated knife with
Devils Food Cake layer split.. the first of many… ( I adapted from the original recipe but scaled back the number of ingredients to fit my 6-inch pan with. I also changed the sugars and used both granulated and dark brown. I also added about a tablespoon or so of heavy cream to retain moisture. Finally, I baked it at 325F rather than 350F.
A thin coat of cream cheese frosting acts as the ‘glue’ for the other layers (the frosting was fashioned with Philadelphia cream cheese, some honey for sweetness, butter, pinch of salt, and whipped cream that I stabilized with some gelatin)
Colour coordination is important
Instead of the cream cheese peanut butter mousse the original recipe used (which, based on the ingredients, I thought was much too sweet), I made instead, crunchy peanut butter and almond meringue discs. The peanut butter crunch was made using creamy peanut butter, salted peanuts, and Holiday Edition Rice Krispies. They were then spread evenly over the almond meringue discs and left in the fridge to set up. 3 6- inch layers were placed in between the cake layers
The angel food layer is split and stacked on top… ( the angel food layer was tricky because the original recipe used waaay too much sugar. So, I completely omitted the extra confectioner’s sugar and increased the amount of egg whites. The resulting cake ended up light and springy… and most importantly, not overly sweet
Another layer, and more frosting!!
Repeat steps till you get to the top!
The last layer is added… time for the soft milk chocolate ganache (I used Lindt milk couverture chocolate)
Spreading it as evenly as I can… work quick! It sets up fast!
Ragged cake frosting… but not for long!
Smoothed out some lines as best as I could (by then, the chocolate set up solid and was not as pliable… next time I have to be lightning speed quick!) And…now for the curly frosting for the top and bottom rim of the cake (helps to cover some of the rough edges.haha)
Piping bag is filled with dark chocolate hazelnut ganache (I just melted down some Baci chocolates, added some cream and dark chocolate)
Waves of gorgeous frosting
ooohh.. and just one more thing!
Some celebratory words!
Mmmm.. all those delectable layers
Heaven and Hell Cake… done MY WAY… I am pleased….
… even more pleased when a huge forkful is placed in my mouth