Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy belated birthday, Simon!  In honor of his twenty-second year of life, I made a Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  The big news here is that I've finally settled on the perfect vegan cream cheese frosting recipe, so I encourage all cream cheese lovers to read on!

Birthday cake!
Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Chip Cake:

Make two 9-inch round cakes by doubling the chocolate chip cake recipe in this blog post:  Once the cakes are out of the oven and cooling, make the frosting. 

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 6 ounces vegan butter, softened
  • 6 ounces vegan cream cheese (I recommend Tofutti brand), softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and cream cheese for about 1.5 minutes, or until well combined and fluffy.  Then add the powdered sugar to the bowl and turn the mixer on to the lowest speed.  Slowly beat the frosting until well combined; then, increase the speed and whip the frosting until smooth and creamy.  Finally, beat in the vanilla extract.

Once the cakes are completely cool to the touch, you're ready for frosting.  First, invert one cake pan onto whichever platter you will use for serving.  Tap the pan with your fingers until the cake releases from the pan, and then slowly remove the pan.  This upside-down cake will be the bottom layer of your layer cake. 

To frost the bottom layer, first transfer a small amount of frosting (about 1/3 cup, but feel free to use more) into a small bowl.  (Since this layer of the cake will probably be a bit crumbly on top, I like to do this to prevent getting any cake crumbs in the rest of the frosting.)  Using a rubber spatula, spread that frosting across the top of the cake.  It's ok if the frosting picks up some crumbs since the frosting will soon be covered by the top layer of cake.

Next, invert the second cake pan onto a plate.  Again, tap the pan until the cake releases from the pan onto the plate, and remove the pan.  Then, invert the plate onto the frosted bottom layer of cake, taking care to stack the two in line with one another.  Your layer cake is now assembled!

The next step is to frost the top of the cake.  Again, transfer a small amount of frosting into a small bowl and use your rubber spatula to spread a thin later of frosting over the cake.  Once the top of the cake is covered, re-frost the top of the cake with a thicker layer of frosting.

Finally, frost the sides of the cake by holding your frosting-filled rubber spatula vertically and pulling it along the side of the cake, getting more frosting as needed. 

Feel free to decorate the cake as you see fit.  You could adorn the top with extra chocolate chips, or color some icing and use a small plastic bag to pipe it onto the cake, as I did. 

Yields one 9-inch layer cake.

As I mentioned above, the frosting on this cake is incredible.  It's thick, smooth, fluffy, and sweet.  Simon noted that it's a bit less tangy than non-vegan cream cheese frosting, but I still find it completely satisfying.  Unfortunately, the chocolate chip cake was a little dry this time: I forgot to double the cake recipe, so I ended up over-cooking it a bit.  But, without that mistake, I'm confident this cake would earn four carrots. 
The only ingredient in this recipe that might be difficult to find is the vegan cream cheese.  Luckily, while buying it at Whole Foods yesterday, I noticed that it has a very long shelf life (when unopened), so I stocked up. 
 Ease of Preparation:       
As with any cake, this recipe takes a while and requires several specific tools (electric mixer, rubber spatula, cake pan).
Non-vegan friendliness:       
Without question, this is a tasty cake; but, as I mentioned above, Simon felt that the cream cheese frosting didn't quite live up to non-vegan cream cheese frosting.  The taste is just a bit different.   

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