October 28, 2021

Pumpkin Smash Cake


My friends' daughter Charlie is turning 1 on October 31 and they asked me to make a smash cake for her birthday party.  (Smash cakes, a smaller cake just for the birthday child, are quite popular in the US.) The only request from the parents when it came to the cake was for one without eggs due to Charlie's food allergy.  "No problem," I said.  A quick search on the internet and I found this recipe for Chocolate Depression Cake, which came about during the Great Depression when staples such as eggs and butter were scarce.

Since Charlie is a Halloween baby I wanted to make a Pumpkin Smash Cake for her.  The cake recipe makes one small bundt cake (6-cup capacity) so I made it twice to get the shape I was after.  I had my doubts about the cake's taste, but I shouldn't have been concerned.  The chocolate cake was moist and tender and you could not tell it was missing eggs.  I will definitely use this recipe in the future.
When it came to decorating the smash cake I used an American style buttercream that was made with butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, salt and powdered sugar.  Swiss meringue buttercream, my favorite frosting, wasn't an option since it's made with egg whites.  
Assembling the cake couldn't be simpler and requires no advanced skills.  You just sandwich the two bundt cakes together with some of the frosting and then coat the outside with orange colored buttercream.   To make the stem I mixed cake scraps with buttercream, similar to how you would make cake pops, and shaped the mixture into the stem.  

I hope Charlie enjoys her smash cake on her first birthday.  Happy Birthday Cha Cha!

Chocolate Depression Cake

Makes 1 small bundt cake (6-cup capacity pan)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease a 6-cup capacity bundt pan with a flour and oil baking spray.

In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda to remove any lumps.

In a large measuring cup whisk together the vanilla extract, vinegar, oil and water.  

Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well with a whisk.

Pour into prepared bundt pan.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes.  Invert cake onto a wire rack and let finish cooling completely.

*Make this recipe twice for the pumpkin shaped smash cake.

American Buttercream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
food coloring (if desired)

Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add sugar and salt and mix on medium-low speed until most of sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl; add cream and vanilla and whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.


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  5. Thanks for the article, I think this is just a great birthday present. It's a shame that I can't do the same because my mixer is broken, but maybe I can get a new one in time. Judging by the reviews on offerup reviews, they have pretty fast delivery and I can make it in time.

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