Chocolate Turtle Cake (Project 150721)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why turtle? Because in feng shui, the turtle symbolizes longevity. Just as how we typically have noodles in a birthday celebration, I thought that this cake would be appropriate given the nature of the occasion. Besides it was inevitable that we have a chocolate cake. And since G is nutty about nuts, incorporating it into the cake would be ideal! And the caramel? It's just coming along for the ride.

The chocolate cake recipe is courtesy of Matt Lewis and I found it at If it's good enough for Oprah, it's definitely good enough for me!

We made Italian buttercream frosting and combined it with some bourbon caramel to make a salted caramel frosting. And we got a few dark chocolate turtles to grace the top of this 'Chocolate Longevity Cake'

Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups hot coffee
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter , melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Prepare 2 8inch cake pans by lining them with parchment, then greasing and flouring.
2. In a small bowl combine the hot coffee with espresso powder and cocoa, whisking vigorously to combine. Set this aside to cool.
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
4. To the dry ingredients, add the melted butter, eggs, vanilla and hot cocoa mixture.
5. With the mixer on low, beat until dry ingredients are moistened.
6. By the way, now is a good time to preheat the oven to 350 F.
7. Increase to medium and beat 2 more minutes.
8. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until it passes the skewer test.
9. Cool, still in the pan, on cooling racks 10 minutes before inverting it and cooling completely.

Cake syrup:
4 tbsp chocolate liqueur
4 tbsp simple syrup
Brush on both sides of the cake when cooled.

Caramel Italian Frosting:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
5 egg whites
1 cup butter
1/3 cup salted caramel

1. Gently heat the sugar and water in a pot until the sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat to medium high and boil until it reaches 235 F, being careful not to go hotter.
2. Meanwhile, whip 5 egg whites in your stand mixer until soft peaks form.
3. Drizzle the sugar mixture in a steady small stream into your stand mixer whilst the whisk is running on high.
4. Continue whisking until the bowl reaches room temperature.
5. Cube by cube, add your butter whilst mixing, adding another cube after the last one has disappeared.
6. Continue mixing until the mixture resembles a soft buttercream.
7. Stir in the salted caramel and voila! Salted caramel buttercream.

The Tablescape ... featuring Longevity noodles with gailan, dumplings, wood ear mushrooms; and Asian salad with sesame ginger dressing.

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