I am a cake-pusher. It started in high school, when my bff Ottilia began making a cake for our friends’ birthdays. She would bring it to school, leave it in her trumpet locker in the band room (that’s right, we were both in jazz and marching band and loved it!), and at lunchtime all of our friends would all crowd around eating it together. It was a lovely addition to our normal lunch rotation of Cup O’ Noodles, cheesy chips (Skyline High special: Doritos bag with hot cheese poured in, eaten with a fork), and P.E. cookies (Otis Spunkmeyer cookies that were sold next to the gym changing rooms).
I butted in and copied her, and after awhile we were both bringing cakes for our friends. I soon began approaching people when I knew their birthday was coming up, and demanding what flavor of cake they wanted. I loved having an excuse to make a cake!
I still jump on any chance to make an extravagant dessert, and this weekend I got an opportunity! My friends Kelly and Bruno got pacsed (pacte civile de solidarité), the French equivalent of a civil union. It was also their 2 year anniversary! They had a party at Bruno’s parents house in Mons-en-Montois, a town about 100 km (62 mi) southeast of Paris.
I made this cake from smitten kitchen. The only substitution I made was using crème fraîche instead of buttermilk, so click over for the recipe. It worked just great! The cinnamon and coffee flavors were really lovely, and it was very chocolately. My only problem with the recipe is that it takes a LONG time to incorporate all the ingredients. I had to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater several times. So, don’t panic, just keep scraping and mixing slowly, and eventually it will come together and you will be able to whip it and continue.
I also made this buttercream frosting from smitten kitchen. I used only 3 cups of powdered sugar and about 8 oz of butter because the food processor I was using was too small. It was still very sweet and buttery, and made the perfect amount to cover the cake.
Deb has great cake tips that I used for traveling. I baked the cake on Thursday, cooled them ALL the way, then wrapped them several times in plastic wrap and froze. On Friday night I moved them to my fridge to begin the defrosting process. On Saturday afternoon, I removed them from my fridge and placed them in my trusty Tesco bag. Thus began the long journey to Mons-en-Montois. The frosting kept just fine in my fridge from Thursday to Saturday.
OF COURSE the one random time I want to go to this tiny far away town, the train (ONLY to that station) was not operating. So, we (Phoebe and I) had to take the RER and then a bus that took forever. Then, we were still earlier than the other party guests, so we waited at the train station for an hour to be picked up. Luckily it was sunny so we worked on our tans.
Bruno’s parents house is magical. It was worth the journey! Check it out:
I immediately unwrapped the cakes (they had survived being dragged all over France and being crushed by 10 baguettes) and began to frost them. The French people at the party were so confused about the frosting, it was hilarious!
Then when I brought out the second layer of cake they were REALLY confused/excited! The second layer started to completely fall apart, so we had to break it into pieces and place them on the cake one by one.
I would have been prescribed high blood pressure medication if I had been hooked up to a blood pressure cuff during this process! Having a group of people watch your cake almost fall apart is SCARY. But with the help of Phoebe and Bob, I was able to get all the pieces on there, then I simply glued everything together with frosting! That’s the beauty of frosted cakes.
Sorry, no picture of the finished product! But I can tell you this: It was a hit – I even got a round of applause at one point!