Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me! (Autumn Delight Cake)

October 29th is my birthday (Yea!). As on any other year, the major decision of what to eat and what cake I will be having plays a central role to my special day. It's always the perfect excuse to celebrate food, as in "It's my party and I'll eat if I want to"! As most people know, calories are free on this magical day (this is actually true).
This year I agonized a little more than usual on which cake I would be enjoying. At first I wanted to have one of my best friend's favorite which is chocolate cake with an orange cream cheese frosting. Then I decided I wanted something that had more of the Autumn flavors and browsed some other sites, including one of my newer favorites, Rosie Alyea's site Sweetapolita. As Autumn is indeed my favorite time of the year, I decided on Rosie's 'Autumn Delight Cake'.

Rosie's aim when creating this cake concept was taking a Thanksgiving favorite most of us in the states are familiar with that has sweet potatoes baked with marshmallows, brown sugar, and pecans, and turning it into a cake. I have to say she did an awesome job! At first I thought, yep- all these things sound like they will taste awesome. It wasn't until the first bite of the cake that I was struck with an OMG moment and said "That does tastes like that Thanksgiving dish". I was very pleased. Only problem is I ate way too much. 

One of my best friends, Andy, who is also my roommate, played a central role in clean up and tasting and remarked quite sarcastically (as we scarfed down the first piece) " yea- this doesn't suck much". Indeed it did not disappoint!  Having so much cake with just the two of us, I shared with three of our closest neighbors who were not unhappy except for one who had an expression on his face that told me that I just gotten him in trouble with his wife (who is on a diet)! He promised he would taste just a little (yea sure, a little...).

The recipe, which you can get from Rosie's site here > 'Autumn Delight Cake' <   is itself a lot of work but well worth it. I started on the 28th by making the cakes, the filling, candied pecans, and then built the cake and stored in the fridge overnight. Yesterday, on the 29th, I made the frosting, frosted up the cake and garnished with the candied pecans and crystallized ginger.

I baked 3 large sweet potatoes on 400F for about an hour and a half and then pureed in a blender once cooled.
Only adaptation to the candied pecans was a generous douse of  Captain Morgan Black Rum

According to recipe: Marshmallow Filling

I only had a couple snags:  

1) I did not weight my Yams (ding dong) so I think my cake turned out a little different to hers based on a photo comparison and I am sure this was the problem. It still tastes awesome- no doubt- but I do like the more 'cakey' texture her photos display.

2) When preparing the eggs and brown sugar for the buttercream frosting, I found that my candy thermometer was way too large for the pot I had and as there was not a lot of mixture in the pot and hit bottom. So as not to break it, I had to put it to the side and just watch the eggs and sugar. While I didn't see it happen in the pan as I was gently whisking constantly, I think some of the egg may have cooked up a bit and the brown sugar not completely dissolve. So important to have a good thermometer and varying sizes, apparently! I could have also moved the mixture to a smaller double boiler creating more depth for the thermometer. Sometime I am lazy and create my own problems!
While moving to the next stage of the frosting that whips the eggs, I could see some granules of sugar and smallish clear but chunky bits which I assume were pieces of cooked egg. You really couldn't tell in the end when all was done and said but when you look at Rosie's frosting, you will see what I mean...hers is pristine, beautiful. I also think I should have whipped it longer in the last half of the process. Next time will hopefully yield a better result.

This cake was a fantastic addition to my Fall Birthday and I highly recommend it for any event or occasion during these holiday months that are already upon us.

A couple special acknowledgments...

I realize my birthday is not just about me...some 38 years ago, after waiting for nine months and excitedly planning for and anticipating the arrival of her daughter, I finally made my appearance to my Mother. It's a big day in the life of any parent who eagerly awaits a child of their own that they get the benefit of sharing a life with. What a special day October 29th was in her life.

To my Mom- Thank you for making my days so special! For the beautiful and generous gifts that you give me. It is so obvious that you want to make me happy and it's that desire that is the true gift that cannot take the place of any other (Love). Happy Birthday to you too, Mom!
To my Step-Dad, Matt, I love you very much and thank you too for all your generosity, support, and love.

...And to Andy, who made me a very tasty breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen mess, took me shooting, shopping, and then made me Risotto for dinner! Seriously, I am blessed and thankful for the love and attention.

Recipe from La Bella Vita

If you like the looks of these dishes, check out the links to the sites Sweetapolita and La Bella Vita, I think you will be pleased.

Hope you all have a wonderful and happy day!


1 comment:

  1. Wow mama! I love layer cakes. They are always so impressive looking. I love the leaf piping you did around the top and at the bottom. How perfect for your Autumn Delight Cake! I like the shot from the top so I can see all the yummy goodness on top and then a glimpse of all the layers. I so would have taken a piece off your hands!

    Maybe there will be some chocolate cake with orange frosting coming your way in mid November. Wink, wink.

    I'm so glad you had fantastic birthday! I can't wait to continue celebrating with you in a couple of weeks.

    Love you tons!