PPQ: The Cake That Nearly Killed Me

in Cakes & Cupcakes, Chocolate, Project Pastry Queen

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Buttercream

This week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge was selected by Jen of Sweet Morris: Mexican Chocolate Fudge-Pecan Cake.

And I’ll be honest. It nearly killed me. Or at least started a day that nearly killed me.

If you learn nothing from today, make sure that you always keep your kitchen countertops clean. Especially the area surrounding your freshly frosted cake. Because you never know when a stray elbow into the side of a cake plate will send your beautiful cake flying and crashing into it.

It was an appropriate start to the day which included a pricey dessert dish shattering on the floor (totally unrelated to the cake), running out of gas on I10, and finding water dripping from the kitchen ceiling.

But at the end of the day, there was cake served out of a bowl by the scoop and grapefruit margaritas. And that made it mostly better. Until it came to the part where I had to clean up drywall dust.

I wasn’t actually going to post a picture of my sad, crumbled little cake but let’s be honest, everyone sends a cake flying at some point or the other. The cake itself is killer whether you serve it by the sad, crumbled scoop or a perfect slice. It reminds me a lot of the best chocolate cake recipe ever, Martha Stewart’s Devil’s Food Cake. It gets its deep chocolatey flavor from Dutch process cocoa and a spicy warmth from a generous dose of ground cinnamon. And it stays insanely (my apologies to those who hate the word) moist for days.

The original recipe is written for a bundt pan (or 18 cupcakes, served inverted), topped with a fudge-pecan glaze. I made half the cake recipe in 6-inch pans, reducing the sugar by 33% and replacing the buttermilk with fat free Greek yogurt. I also skipped over the glaze because I had half a batch of buttercream frosting in the freezer that I wanted to use – to which I added a well-rounded 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste to the frosting. Magical, I tell you. Completely magical.

My husband debated which was better – the cake or the frosting. My vote was cake… but it was made exponentially better with the magical frosting.

You can find the full recipe for the cake and glaze over at Sweet Morris. Next week, I’m hosting a rummy pound cake. The recipe had me at “Rum” :)

24 comments… add one

  • Jen

    Thanks for posting this, picture and all! It’s encouraging to those of us that are just getting started!!!

  • Even like this it looks so appetizing! Even if you serve it upside down or crumbled or eat it from the bowl, the ingredients are so good it cannot be bad.. And grapefruit margaritas?! Awesome!

  • We all have fails…. my cinnamon raise bread never rose, but it tastes delicious!

  • Aww, well, it still looks absolutely delicious even scooped into the bowl! We all have days like this but it seems yours was a bit tougher than most. Thanks for sharing this humbling experience!

  • On a plate, in a bowl – it all ends up in the same place, girl. I’m sure it was delicious. These little mishaps happen to everyone. Kudos for posting it anyways. Very Julia Child of you, no apologies!

  • I’d have given up but man that sounds delicious. And really… by the scoop or slice I’m sure it was perfect. BTW this is the second time I’ve read someone loving the Martha recipe this week… MUST make that one soon.

  • Virginia

    Chocolate and margaritas make everything better… even broken glass and drywall dust. looking forward to rum pound cake next week- I have a bottle of rum in the pantry and a weekend craving for pound cake.

  • I’ve had days like yours many times. I love your photo. I always do. I can’t wait to try next weeks selection.

  • This cake looks and sounds so good. What a day you had! I think all of those things have happened to all of us, just not all on the same day! :(

    I had no idea that you could freeze buttercream! I’m going to try it next time I have some leftover.

  • Can I just say that I LOVE this post. The cake sounds delicious, but of course, but your stories, the plate crashing and just the pure honesty of this post makes it awesome. I am SO glad you posted the picture.

  • Brenda

    You want to feel better? Check out King Arthur Flour’s blog posts around April 1 for the last several years. I’s my favorite blog, and their annual posting of some of the test kitchen’s biggest flops is a great morale booster, and a big laugh!

  • somehow you make even a smashed cake look great.

  • I love that you still posted it, and let me just say, if you need any help eating your cake by the scoop, give me a call :)

  • susan

    Pour milk on that and you have the best cereal ever!

  • I’ve never knocked over a cake before–but I’m sure it’ll happen eventually. It still looks pretty tasty in that jar!!

  • Liz Parker

    I love how real you are. It is one of the very reasons you are my favorite food blogger! The cake sounds and looks yummy. I am sorry you lost a cake stand. BOO.

  • Oh wow! That is a day! That cake would have me at “rum” too. Well, most anything has me at “rum”.

  • Ummm yeah you’ll need rum after this baking insanity! Oy. I’ve definitely had those moments. And usually end up making cake balls out of them. The cake and frosting sound like they were delicious, though!

  • Sounds like a terrible day. :( If it makes you feel better, I was in a store today, saw a beautiful cake stand and thought of you.

  • That sounds like a seriously rough day. Luckily the only place my car has ever completely run out of gas is in my driveway and the entry of a gas station. On a busy street? Forget it, full on panic attack from me! Glad you still took a photo of your cake in a bowl.:)

  • Those days happen to us all! It’s those type of says that make us woman stronger :). SO happy you ate the cake and posted a picture. It still looks delicious!

  • The cake sounds worth the experience! We have all been there:-)

  • I actually clicked on this post BECAUSE of the picture haha. I thought it looked like some sort of tasty oreo cake. Turns out I love Mexican Chocolate Cake. Cake is cake after all no matter what interaction it may have had with a kitchen floor :)

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