There’s nothing like a good sugar rush. But what about your first ever sugar rush? Who remembers that? I certainly don’t but I did witness someone else’s first sugar rush just a few days ago. My little girl turned one (yep, she’s a big girl now) and with her first birthday came her first birthday cake. Chocolate cake on top of it, designed by her mom, aka me (!), into her favorite character: Hello Kitty. Seriously, it was the best feeling ever to see her discover the sweet taste of the icing as she slowly licked her little fingers. It was an even better feeling when she started digging into the cake, with her little hands, putting handfuls of cake into her tiny mouth. She got so excited she was kicking her feet at the same time. With her face dirty with cake, I knew I was a good mom and that she would thank me later for the initiation… as, I have no doubt, there will be many other sugar rushes in the future. If you’ve ever been the witness to such a moment, you know what a priceless moment this has been for me!
For the big event I wanted to make a chocolate cake, there was no compromise on that. I certainly wasn’t going to buy a commercial cake or cake mixture, and I didn’t necessarily want a cake filled with rich chocolate, as this was a first. Which is why I turned to a recipe I’ve been using for a few years now. My sister’s best friend’s Italian grandmother has handed it down to me; it’s one of those secret recipes that you just don’t find in cookbooks. It almost tastes like a Duncan Hines, but 100 times better… and healthier. Super easy to make, it also has the perfect texture if you want to ice your cake or if, like me, you want to make a design out of your cake. This is the recipe that everyone will want to steal from you.
As for my Hello Kitty cake, I searched the Internet for an easy image to reproduce. Once I found it, I outlined my cake pan on a piece of paper and drew inside of it the Hello Kitty image. I cut out the paper and then cut the cake in the right shape. I finished off with the icing – which, I have to admit, I bought premade – and gave life to the cake. It’s really easy to do with any simple shape. If you want to try it with another image, go ahead and get creative. Whoever you’ll be serving the cake too will be delighted by your effort (or talent!). If you don’t want to make a shape, simply make a 2-layer cake and add the icing. Decorate the top of the cake the way you feel like or, even simpler, leave it naked!
MILLION DOLLAR CAKE
Makes about 10 servings
2 cups flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ baking powder
1 cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup water
3 cups icing sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your over at 350˚F. Butter 2 8-inch cake pans.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and baking powder.
In another bowl, add water to the mayonnaise and mix well. Add the dry ingredients while mixing well.
Split the mixture between the 2 cake pans and bake in the middle of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until à toothpick comes out clean.
In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.
In a larger bowl, slowly add the butter to the icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
Note: Although this recipe is much better with the original icing, you can buy store ready icing if you’re looking for a color in particular, which can often be hard to make.