Please meet the cake that graced my home during my growing up years on 90% of the family birthdays (unless, in our childish minds we had a brain lapse and requested something out of the norm, like Funfetti or something equally disastrous).
It is the perfect addition to an Easter menu, and like I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be doing my best to fill up your arsenal of spring recipes over the next two weeks.
This cake is so very, very simple. An angel food cake takes center stage and after being doctored up a bit after baking (see the pictures below the recipe), it is filled and frosted with a chocolate whipped cream frosting and sprinkled with toasted almonds.
The entire confection is smooth and chocolatey, soft and cakey, silky and creamy.
Thanks to the tunnel snaking through the center of the cake, you are able to divulge in a thick layer of chocolate cream frosting not only on the outside of the cake but smack dab in the middle.
A perfect spring dessert, this cake brings back so many memories of my birthdays – like the time I got a purple ten speed bicycle with curvy ram-like handlebars and pencil thin wheels for my 10th birthday.
I rode around the neighborhood like I was the queen of the world. A queen with tinted, large, blue-framed glasses and braces. But a queen, no less.
In a large glass bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Carefully add the powdered sugar and cocoa gradually and continue whipping. I find the best way to do this is to place the bowl in the kitchen sink and whip with a hand mixer so that when it splatters, it doesn’t get the entire kitchen messy. The cocoa will look like it is separating and lumpy but continue to beat until stiff peaks form and by then, the cocoa should be evenly combined. (If you are worried about lumps you can sift in the cocoa and powdered sugar with a fine mesh sieve.) The frosting should be thick and spreadable – but not overly whipped or it will look a bit curdly. Just beat to stiff peaks.
When the angel food cake has been baked and cooled completely, follow the pictures below and cut the cake in half to form two round circles. Lay the top half to the side and gently remove pieces of the angel food cake to form a ditch in the bottom portion of the cake (taking care not to dig all the way to the bottom of the cake, you want a layer of cake on the bottom underneath the ditch). Spoon frosting into the ditch you made and lay the top circle of cake back on top. Frost the sides, top and middle of the cake. Top with toasted almonds. Refrigerate until time to serve. A serrated knife works best to cut the cake into slice
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Here’s the lovely cake after having baked and cooled (am I the only one that loves the fact that angel food cakes cool upside down? Clever).
Now, take a serrated knife and insert it about halfway up the cake and gently begin sawing your way around the cake.
It helps to gently hold on to the top of the cake as you go. Take care not to lop off your precious fingers.
After you have cut all the way around, gently lift off the top half of the cake and set it aside.
Now comes the fun part. Gently start peeling sections of the cake up from the bottom half so you form a ditch around the middle part of this cake. Don’t dig all the way to the bottom – you want a layer of cake to hold all that frosting in.
Just get your fingers in there and work at it. I won’t tell if you eat the yummy cake bits you are pulling out. My kids love to be around “helping” with this part. Make a little ditch all the way around the cake.
Until it looks something like this.
Take your delectable bowl of whipped frosting and start dolloping frosting into the cake ditch.
Keep going. You don’t want to skimp on this part.
It won’t take long before the frosting has completely filled our muddy, chocolatey ditch.
Now put the top back on the cake. Hello, skewompis cake!
The rest is pretty easy. Using a handy-dandy offset spatula or just an everyday rubber spatula, start frosting. I start with the middle.
And if I get bored, I move to the top.
Then the sides. Use large sweeping strokes, this cake isn’t about being smooth and perfect. That’s why it’s perfect for non-cake-decorators like me.