Today is my very last twenty-something birthday: 29. It's a little anti-climactic. No more major milestones. I can already drink legally and rent a car. And it's not like I get to ring in the start of a new decade of existence. So, I guess now I just get a little older and hopefully a bit wiser.
In honor of this not-so-exciting birthday, I decided to fully embrace my misplaced angst and indulge in something big and decadent. And what's more ridiculous than multiple celebrations to kiss my roaring twenties goodbye? First, I convinced my sister to ditch life for a few days for a weekend trip to New York City. Then, a big home-cooked dinner with the in-laws followed up with a night of DC theater and Ethiopian food with the hubs. Needless to say, it has been an awesome week, but I still feel kinda "old" and boring.
Guess I'll just have to drown my sorrows in leftover birthday cake. Not a bad idea considering I made one of my favorites: Chocolate Trifle Cake with Macerated Strawberries and Mascarpone Whipped Cream.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- 2 lbs strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending upon sweetness of berries)
- 1-2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt at low speed.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- Slowly beat in the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated.
- Slowly add the hot coffee until fully incorporated.
- Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 8-inch round pans.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.
- Remove cakes from the oven and cool in pans for 30 minutes.
- Invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Using a long, thin serrated cake knife and a sawing motion, slice the cake horizontally into even layers.
* This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Double Chocolate Layer Cake.
- While the cake is baking, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat heavy cream on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth.
- Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated.
- Place the bottom half of one of the cake layers on your serving dish. Using a pastry brush, mound one quarter of the whipped cream mixture in the center of the layer and, using an icing spatula, spread it to the edge.
- Top with an even layer of the macerated strawberries.
- Place the other half of the cake layer, crumb-side down. Top with whipped cream mixture and strawberries as described above.
- Repeat the same process for the remaining two layers.