Sunday, April 26, 2009

Brains' Chocolate-Chocolate Cake

I met my friend Brains possibly during my freshman year at Willamette (that was back in 1991), but I remember most vividly some point during my sophomore year when he showed up at our dorms looking to hide from one of his housemates. He lived in this old, 5 or 6 bedroom craftsman house off-campus that was widely known as The Asylum. All of his housemates were Willamette students at the time, and they were all a bunch of really goofy, kind of crazy, super smart guys (and maybe one girl).

The night in question, when Brains showed up at our dorm seeking asylum--haha, get it?--he told us he and one of his housemates, Jason, had got into a little fight. I can't remember how it started, but it ended with Brains shooting the fire extinguisher at Jason, locking himself in his bedroom, and Jason waving a big knife at Brains through the crack at the bottom of his door. Apparently up until the knife came out, the fight was in jest. I can't remember how Brains snuck out of the house, but somehow he made it out to live another day.

I hadn't spent much time with Brains before that, and so I was more than a little concerned about the knife and this Jason person. (Brains kept assuring me that it was all in jest, which I guess must have been true as both of them are still alive and friends today.) We became better friends as the years wore on, and especially when I moved to Portland as he was one of the three roommates I lived with at first. Knives were never a part of our friendship.

He celebrated his 39th birthday yesterday and asked me to bake him a chocolate-chocolate cake. Chocolate has always been a part of our friendship so this I was happy to do.

happy birthday Eat My Cake
brains and a different cake in 2006

April 25, 2009
Name of Cake: Chocolate-chocolate for Brains
Occasion: Brains' birthday!
Constituents: 2 9-inch layers chocolate cake filled and frosted with chocolate fudge frosting, heavily sprinkled with sprinkles

Unfortunately, I have no photos for you as my camera is in the repair shop.

But picture this: Rose's All-American Chocolate Butter Cake, made partly with golden baker's sugar and Alter Eco Unrefined Sugar. This sugar is moist and dark and beautiful. Plus it comes from the Philippines, and I like that. E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge Cocoa Powder, which gave the cake this deep red hue, and a deeply lovely full-bodied chocolate-ness. Two layers of moist, chocolaty but not overpowering, tender and light cake.

Picture also: a dark, rich, shiny chocolate buttercream made from one pound of E. Guittard 61% melted chocolate into three sticks of butter beaten with 1/2 cup powdered sugar. As if this wasn't enough, beat in 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder paste (made from equal parts cocoa powder and boiling water).

The frosting, unfortunately, hardened like a chocolate bar after a few hours. This was a great way to keep the cake from drying out, but as a filling and frosting it was a bit too much. Next time, I would at least fill the cake with something creamier. Also, I think serving it soon after frosting would be better as the frosting would be fudgy but not hard. Also, during a hot summer day this frosting would probably stay nice and soft. On a 50 degree night? Chocolate bar.

However, this didn't stop any of us partygoers, incidentally many of whom were Asylum alumni (including Jason!), from polishing off 90% of the cake and lapsing immediately into a chocolate coma.

My work is done.


  1. Oh, I am sad not to see an actual picture of your chocolate cake. But I love the story. I am glad there was a happy ending to the scary knife scene!
    Brains sounds like a good sort. He likes chocolate cake and a party.

    Hope your camera is repaired soon.

  2. Melinda, I hope my camera is repaired soon too! The cake looked very festive, with big swirls of chocolate frosting and lots of those little ball-shaped sprinkles that crunch when you bite them. Brains is a good friend; the kind who likes to laugh at everything. He and I always have fun when we are together!

  3. I dropped my camera in a bowl of lemon custard last week, but so far it still seems to be working. Your cake sounds very, very chocolatey, which sounds very, very good.

  4. BBC, I'm glad your camera is still working! I wouldn't mind licking off my camera if it fell into lemon custard, but mine just stopped turning on. Go figure.

  5. uhh...does it need new batteries? Just asking.
    Your friend,
    Smart Ass x

  6. Yummm... the cake sounds delicious. I'll have to track down some of this sugar of which you write.

    (And I think that was my cue to go to bed, the fact that at first I spelled it "sugur".)

    It's so nice to see Meredith's face! Tell him "hi" from me! Is he still making music?

  7. Melinda, I did try recharging the battery and putting it back in, but the camera didn't care. It still wouldn't turn on. (insert sad face here)

    Raya, I hope you can find the "sugur" 'cause it is really yummy. Brains is a special ed teacher now and I don't think he's been playing much lately. He did take fiddle classes a few years ago and was getting good! I will pass on your greetings.

  8. Any friendship which includes chocolate in its foundation, must be a good friendship!