Miss me?? Yeah, it’s been a while, I know.
School started for the kids, busy season at work kicked in, and, while I have been cooking and baking here and there, my time to write has been nonexistent.
But here I am back at it. Cake is the subject of the day. And not just any cake, but my favorite cake of all time ever. And not just my favorite cake of all time ever…but my favorite-cake-of-all-time-ever-that-I happily ate the whole thing after an unimaginable week in the pediatric ICU with my lil one with a skull fracture and a brain bleed. Ugh.
The last thing I am is emotional, especially when it comes to my kids, but this past week scared the shit out of me. My seven year old, “the baby,” as she will forever be referred to in this blog (unless I have another one), took a horrible fall off my cement stairs onto my driveway and ended up with a skull fracture and a mild bleed on her brain. She was helpless and in bad shape for the first 24 hours and there was absolutely nothing me or my ex could do about it. Just sit and watch and wait. I have never had an emergency before with my children and in my head, I would be calm and strong…which is the exact opposite of what I was. I was a sobbing mess. She had stopped crying long before I had.
After what was the longest 24 hours there ever was, she just turned around, completely, and a day later we were discharged from the ICU and she talked my ear right off the entire car ride home. That lil high‑pitched voice was the best sound I had ever heard, no joke. I will never forget how happy I was to listen to her talk.
When we got home and I took one look at my house, that I had not seen in three days, her bed where she curled up and tried to sooth herself after the fall, and the kitchen counter I had put her on where she cried and just hugged me when she was in pain and scared, I completely lost my shit. Uncontrollable sobbing, like the kind where you can’t even catch your breath.
She of course, looked at me like I was insane, so did her father. Not understanding at all the exhaustion and relief I was feeling just be back in the house with her. This went off and on for me all night long, and she slept next me, a little bit for her own comfort, but a lot for my comfort.
I woke up the next day realizing that I maybe ate two times since being in that ICU with her…and then I thought…cake?? A whole cake for her and maybe a whole cake for me?? Celebration cake??
She opted for cookies and I opted for a whole German chocolate cake. And just like that, we were back to normal.
Chocolate buttermilk cake
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
¾ cups dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two six inch pans (now I made mine in six inch pans, but the recipe is generally for two eight inch pans, even I cannot eat an eight-inch cake by myself, and I made a few cupcakes for the kids with the left over batter).
Combine and whisk together the dry ingredients until combined. In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
German chocolate filling
(I found this recipe maybe three years ago on a blog that for the life of me, I can’t remember. I wish I could so I could give her credit for this awesome rendition. I have since tried to find it, but no such luck, I don’t think she is around any longer. This is not your typical, evaporated milk German chocolate cake frosting, it is a million times better, a homemade sour cream caramel with toasted coconut and toasted pecans, I will never go back to evaporated milk)
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
½ cup heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter
⅔ cup crème fraiche (or sour cream works perfectly fine and is what I use most of the time)
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
¼cup toasted chopped almonds
1 ¼cup toasted sweetened coconut
Sea salt to taste
In a skillet, combine the water and sugar over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar has liquefied, and turned a dark amber color. (This will take about 10-12 minutes.) Immediately, stir in the butter. Turn off the heat. Stir in the heavy cream–it will bubble up, and then subside.
Finally, stir in the crème fraiche, scraped vanilla bean, chopped pecans, almonds, coconut and kosher salt. Let it cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate to thicken until a spreadable consistency