Friday, June 11, 2010

leftovers cake

Most of the cakes I bake for clients are chocolate. (Coincidence? Probably not.) When you bake layer cakes, you often have to level them to ensure the final cake is perfectly flat. Since I hate to waste perfectly good cake, I often end up with scraps of chocolate cake. A LOT of scraps of chocolate cake.

What's a girl to do?

Why, make a leftovers cake, of course! Extra-thin layers of cake cobbled together with frosting = deliciousness on a plate. Same great taste, and an even better cake:frosting ratio. If you're okay with the rustic look, and you do a little nice piping on the top, you can even call this an official dessert and serve it to friends (who, frankly, should be happy they're getting cake!).

This is totally not a recipe. It's just a technique. And you've got to go into it knowing it's not going to be a thing of beauty. That's okay. Just close your eyes when you eat it, and you still get to savor the deliciousness in every semi-unattractive bite.

1. Assemble the scraps.
Line a small cake pan with waxed paper. (No need to waste parchment here.) I like to use my 6" round pan because it's small, but tall. Cut the scraps so they are uniform thickness. This is really easy to do if they are frozen. Don't worry; cake thaws really fast. Do your best to create a uniformly-thick single layer of cake. You can fill in the holes with small, odd-shaped pieces, but it doesn't have to be perfect.

2. Frost.
Put a blob of frosting in the center, and use an offset spatula to spread it around as evenly as you can.

3. Repeat. Several times.
I think this one had 4 layers, which made it about the same height as a normal cake.

4. Decorate.
Invert the cake onto a plate and remove the waxed paper. You'll see that it holds its shape pretty well!

Now, you could try to frost the sides. With a crumb coat and a finish coat, it would probably fill in any irregularities and shape up pretty well. However, the whole point is that it's supposed to be a little ragged and homemade-lookin'. So I like the sides unfrosted.

The top, however, is a different manner. This is how you're going to bring the whole thing together and pass it off as a dessert. I like to put a thin crumb coat on, and then pipe some more frosting on the top. This particular day, I did a very simple spiral, but you could jazz it up however you want. I've even been known to use up leftover fondant or colored frosting to make little decorations for the top.

Serve, and enjoy. Waste not, want not.

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