I went simple with the Kami Birthday Cake this year: 2 layers, basic cream cheese frosting, and lots and lots of jimmies. I opted for a quick-baking, no muss, no fuss chocolate layer cake from Molly at my name is yeh, though I swapped out hazelnuts for pecans because I’m ornery. And I was out of hazelnuts. [Though I will make that chocolate hazelnut squirrel cake one day. Oh yes, I will. Because: squirrel!!]
Taking no chances with cake-in-a-bowl this year, I put my two-layer cake liberally festooned with jimmies in the freezer for a full 4 hours prior to the 45-minute, pothole-ridden-and-winding-road drive to Kami’s house. I’m happy to report that, inertial dampener cake box or no, the Jimmie Cake made it there unscathed. And sliceable, even! #winning
Once again, there are no pictures of sliced cake. Because grown up girls of 11 years old eat their cake after dinner, and after present opening, and long after dark. But I can report that there were sparkler birthday candles. 11(!!) of them. And many jimmies scattered across the dining room table after enthusiastic blowing out of said sparkler candles. And much fun had by all. Jimmie cake: it’s a keeper.
Chocolate Pecan Cake
- 1 cup pecans, toasted
- 13 oz (1 ¾ cups) sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 10 oz (2 ¼ cups) whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup (1 ⅛ oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp fine-grained sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup boiling water
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 lb cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- zest of 2 large oranges
- pinch sea salt
- about 1 to 1 ½ lbs powdered sugar
- 8 oz jimmies, for decorating (for a truly kick-ass jimmie cake, make your own!)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, and butter the parchment. Set aside.
- Prepare cake batter. Add the pecans to the bowl of a food processor and chop until very finely chopped, but not quite a flour. Add to a large bowl, then whisk together with remaining dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients, with the exception of the boiling water. Fold wet ingredients into dry until well combined. Add boiling water and mix well. The batter will be thin.
- Bake cake. Pour cake batter evenly into two prepared pans. Tap slightly to level, then bake in the preheated oven until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool on wire racks for 15 – 20 minutes, then de-pan and cool completely (remove parchment circles) on wire racks before frosting.
- Make frosting. In a large bowl, combine softened cream cheese, butter, orange zest and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add powdered sugar, starting with about 3 cups and increasing, 1 cup at a time, until desired sweetness and stiffness is reached (more sugar = a stiffer frosting that is easier to work with. But jimmies are sweet, so make the frosting a little less sweet than you normally do.) For best results, once frosting is finished, refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up the frosting.
- Assemble cake. Level your cake layers by trimming off uneven tops with a long, serrated knife. Best done with cold or slightly frozen cake layers. Apply a generous amount of cream cheese frosting to the top of one layer as filling; then top with the other layer and apply a thin crumb coat. Chill cake until crumb coat is set, then proceed with your final layer of frosting. Transfer the frosted cake to your cake stand or platter, then festoon jimmies all over the cake, spreading in an even layer across the top and pressing gently into the sides. Store refrigerated until 1 hour prior to serving.
- You can call it “sprinkle cake.” If you want to be lame.
Refrigerated for up to 1 week. Press a piece of waxed paper against cut edges of cake to keep fresh.