Monday, January 5, 2009


A fun project would be to recreate every cake in Wayne Thiebaud's famous 1963 painting. Maybe I should try it, but one by one, so as not to go completely insane. Well, here's how you can make the chocolate cake in the middle row on the far right:

Chocolate Cake:
1. Cream together 1/2 c. shortening and 1 c. white sugar.
2. Separate 3 eggs and add the yolks to the mixture.
3. Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla.
4. Sift together 1/2 c. cocoa powder, 2 1/2 c. white flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt.
5. Alternately add the sifted dry ingredients and 1 1/3 cold water to the mixture, blending well.
6. Stir in another 3/4 c. white sugar, and blend well.
7. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold in.
8. Pour batter into greased pans (I used 2 10-inch pans) and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Tips: Spread the cake around in the pans to help the cake layers bake evenly and flat. The biggest mistake in making cake is to overbake, which makes the cake dry, so keep an eye on the time. Cool the cake in the pans for a while before you try to eject them. The cake is very soft when its hot and it could break in half if you try and take it out the pan too early. Keep the cake covered up as much as possible to retain the moisture. You don't want it to dry out, so let it cool for a while, but then wrap it up loosely in plastic wrap or cover it with a cloth. But don't frost it until its completely cooled off. And even after its frosted, don't refrigerate the cake, because that dries it out too.

Aunt Victoria's Chocolate Frosting:
1. Whip 1 1/2 cubes of butter for five minutes (I did it for about 2 with the electric mixer and it came out fine)
2. Add 4 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 c. milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.
3. Mix well, and frost your cake!
4. Top with sprinkles, coconut, raspberries, or whatever. Just be sure to add sprinkles right away, because the frosting will set after a few minutes, and won't be super sticky anymore.

Thanks to Brooklyn for sharing her mom's frosting recipe. It's awesome, and tastes delicious on the chocolate cake. My mom comes from a great family of bakers. If only I could figure out my grandmother's fruitcake recipe. She used to send us a fruitcake every year before Christmas, and you will laugh at me, but it was SO delicious! However, fruitcake is not in the Thiebaud painting, so we will not worry about that. Which cake should I try to make next?


Anonymous said...

It's obvious - the spiral has got to be next.


Lis said...

Remember when we did this (sort of) for Amanda Armstrong's bridal shower? That is still one of my favorite paintings ever. I still haven't seen it in real life.

Lady Holiday said...

Dad, I guess this is the closest I got to being there for your birthday... I bet Kaitlin's cake was delicious. Lis, we should plan a trip to DC and see the cake painting! I think its at the National Gallery. Is it?

Ursula said...

I have always loved that painting. Thanks for your great post.