Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Birthday Chicken

Happy Birthday Isabelle. For my daughter's 2nd birthday I spent several hours baking and decorating a chicken cake. It was fun, it was delicious, it was a lot of work, it was totally worth it. 

In preparation I tested out several recipes trying to find just the right chocolate cake. I was in need of a recipe that would taste great and hold up to the three dimensional form of the cake once assembled. 

I tried the recipe that came with the pan. . . not good, very dry. Tried Martha's moist devil's food. . . not so moist. I know people swear by Martha and I LOVE HER. But I do find that some of her recipes have extraneous steps and then fall a little flat. 

At this point I enlisted my mother's help.  She tested one of my Grandmother's chocolate cake recipes. A wonderful and easy recipe that has vinegar as one of the ingredients. Strange, delicious and very simple. However, after several phone calls we decided that it wouldn't hold its shape. 

Finally I caved and bought a boxed cake mix. The Barefoot Contessa SAVED me. The cake was delicious, the frosting a dream. It held up perfectly and tasted delicious. I'm now thinking that baking a chocolate cake from scratch just isn't worth the effort when such a great mix exists. 

In the future, I think I'll try it with a few additional ingredients --maybe a bit of espresso or a dash of cayenne. Something to jazz it up. 

The weather was perfect. The cake looked great and Isabelle, complete in a dress with chickens on the bodice (Thank you Chasing Fireflies) had a wonderful time.