Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Happy Birthday Malia Girl

Malia and I, August 26, 1982
It's your birthday again, my how time has passed.  Seems just yesterday you were placed in my arms for the first time.  I thought you were the most beautiful baby I had ever seen, all red and wrinkly. There are so many funny memories, like the day you and I were in the check out line at H.E.B.  This elderly man says, you sure are cute, whats your name?  You put you hands on your hips and glared at him with a look on your face like duh, everyone knows who I am, then you sweetly responded, Malia Girl.  Like that was your real name!  Our long time friends, the Moores, gave you that nickname and it has stuck for 32 years. Another was the day I gave birth to your sister, Abby Gail.  You arrived at the hospital all in a tissy.  You were dressed in your purple and white dress, and your patent leather shoes while caring your hairbrush. Your hair looked as though you had stuck your finger into an electrical socket.  I didn't know your hair could do an afro.  You were so upset as you stated, dad doesn't know how to fix my hair!  You crawled upon my bed and I proceeded to give you some french braids.  Happy at last, you looked presentable and left to check on your sister in the nursery, then proceeded to make rounds with your dad at the hospital.  Your job was to carry his charts, which you took very seriously.  I remember all of your birthdays, throwing your parties, baking and embellishing your cakes.  I would plan for weeks, deciding on just the perfect cake with its decorations usually resembling whatever  toy or cartoon you were into at the moment. I would shop all over town to find the exact gift you had wanted.   The guest list would be made and you would invite all your friends.  More often than not, these celebrations would involve swimming, since your birthday was in the summer.   You're all grown up now.  I miss those days that I could snuggle you in my arms.  The years have passed and I no longer get to plan your celebrations.  Now you are  married and your husband Jim has taken over that role.   So today, in honor of your birthday, I baked a cake, celebrating one of the four best gifts I ever received.   The memories came flooding back as I added the ingredients one by one, mixing, baking and picking out just the perfect coloring for the frosting.  Standing in my kitchen thinking, what color would Malia choose for her special cake today?  Whatever you have planned, I hope you're celebrating, taking time to build memories and feel special.  Remember to observe the day you were born, I am!

buttercream icing,food coloring, birthdays, flowers, ribbons, sprinkles
Malia Girl's Birthday Cake

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake:
3 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dark cocoa powder, unsweetened
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 cup boiling water

For Vanilla Buttercream Filling:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cups powdered/confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream

For Swiss Meringue Frosting:
6 egg whites, from large or extra large eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar (granulated)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, cut into 2 Tablespoon pieces
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food Coloring, as desired

For Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350'
2. Prepare three 8" cake pans with parchment paper and cooking spray.  Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Add buttermilk, eggs and oil, and mix until just combined.
5. Add hot water and hot coffee, and mix until combined.  Batter will be thin.
6. Divide batter between three pans.  I use measuring cup.
7. Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
8. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.

For Vanilla Buttercream Filling:
9. In the bowl of a stand mixer with your paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth and creamy.
10. Add powdered sugar, almond, vanilla and cream, and beat on low until moistened.
11. Increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy.

For Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
12. In a double boiler, whisk together egg whites and sugar over medium-high heat until mixture reaches 160' and all of the sugar is dissolved.
13. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer, and using the whisk attachment, beat until stiff peaks have formed and the mixture has cooled to room temperature.  This takes several minutes, and bowl should be just barely warm to the touch.
14. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium, and add butter pieces, 1 Tablespoons at a time,until all of the butter has been incorporated.
15. Continue to mix the frosting is smooth again, another 3-5 minutes.  Your mixture may become soupy or curdled, but continue to beat through it until it cones together again.
16. Once smooth, add almond and vanilla, and beat to combine.

17. Place one layer on a cake stand.
18. Spread about 2 cups of frosting on cake.
19.  Add the second layer, spoon about 2 cups frosting on cake.
20. Use remaining frosting to apply a crumb coat to the entire cake, (a thin layer meant to hold the crumbs in place when final coat is applied.
21. Place cake in refrigerator or feeder for 10-15 minutes or until buttercream is slightly hardened.
22. Meanwhile, divide swiss meringue buttercream into three small bowls.
23. Add food coloring as disired to each bowl, and stir to combine.  I recommend that you use get coloring for the best vibrant color.
24. Apply each color to the cake in a thick (about 2-3") layer/band aroun the cake.  Start with the bottom of the cake and work your way to the top.  This layer should not be "pretty," you are just applying the base coat.
25. Use an offset spatula to smooth the frosting and remove excess.
26. Garnish and decorate as desired.
27. Enjoy, whether it's your birthday or not!
Slightly adapted from:

Malia Girl's Birthday Cake
What is your favorite memory of your Childs birthday?