We are still celebrating and adoring Jesus! Epiphany has become one of our favorite holidays. Sarah always makes a "Three Kings' Cake" for us to enjoy. Some years we've hidden a ceramic baby Jesus inside, but since we've moved to this side of the Pacific we usually put a whole almond inside. We don't have a favorite recipe, though this historic recipe looks fun! This time, Sarah opted for a chocolate cake and icing from "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids". (Good thing I went back to exercising this morning!) We'll share the cake with another family for an early celebration tonight. With "Three Kings' Cake", you have to eat the whole thing at one sitting so you know who finds the almond and gets the prize!
We've read Longfellow's "The Three Kings", and we've already enjoyed our family favorite "Amahl and the Night Visitors" while my parents were here. We love both the book and the opera by Gian Carlo Menotti. Aaron has performed so many of the parts that our family viewing inevitably turns into a sing-along.
"The Best Chocolate Birthday Cake Ever"
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper rounds. Set aside.
Sift the cocoa powder into a small bowl and stir in the boiling water to dissolve and make the cocoa "bloom". Whisk together until completely smooth. Let cool completely, and then whisk the sour cream into the cocoa mixture.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together with an electric hand mixer set on medium speed until light and fluggy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the cooled cocoa mixture and the vanilla.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over the batter and fold in gently, using a rubber spatual, until the flour is completely combined into the batter.
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To frost, invert one layer onto a cake plate, and remove the parchment circle. Spread 1 cup of frosting over the surface of the cake. Invert the second layer over the first, and remove the parchment paper. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Frosting
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup unslated butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
large pinch of salt
1 pound confectioner's sugar, sifted
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the semisweet and milk chocolate chips with the butter. Heat on high for 1 minute. Stir the mixture together. If the butter is not completely melted and the chocolate chips do not easily stir smotth, heat again at 15-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Using a hand mixer set at low speed, beat in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.