Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Boston Cream Birthday

Some of you may have heard about the Great Donut Adventure I have been on with my boyfriend, Jay.  For those of you that haven't heard, I will fill you in briefly.  When I moved to Boston, I made a bucket list of things to do in Boston.  Pretty high up on the list was "eat a Boston Cream Donut in Boston."  Jay and I decided that we should only try the best ones in the city, so we did a rather extensive search for "the best Boston Cream Donut in Boston."  The results were saddening and shocking: There is no consensus!  No one can agree on which establishment makes the best donuts in the area!  There of course was only one logical solution to this problem: we would have to determine which is the best ourselves.  And what better way to do that than to try all the independent donut shops in the Greater Boston Area?  Our quest had begun.

Our donut adventure that spanned the last 7 months really became about so much more than eating donuts.  The Great Donut Adventure became an early Saturday morning ritual that held our relationship together in the throws of my stress and depression.  It was the only time we got to spend together without focusing on school or work.  Donuts eventually became the symbol of our time together.  So I bought this for Jay as a Christmas present:

So when planning which cake to make for Jay's 25th birthday last week, I had no doubt in my mind which cake I would make him.  I had this cake planned since probably November.  I was going to make, of course, a Boston Cream Pie.  I thought that this was appropriate for several reasons:
1.  It was symbolic of our relationship
2.  It would be my first attempt at making this cake as a resident of Boston
3.  Jay's name from all his cross-country buddies in college was "Boston"
4.  I love pudding and chocolate and cake together

I was planning on making Jay's identical twin brother, Chris, an opposite Boston Cream Pie cake, with the chocolate and vanilla components inverted.  Then I realized that Chris was having all four wisdom teeth removed 2 days before his birthday.  Well, there goes my crazy cake plans.  Looks like homemade pudding for Chris.

Here is Jay's 25th birthday cake:

Boston Cream Pie
(Classic yellow sponge cake filled w/ homemade vanilla custard, topped w/ dark chocolate ganache)
Cake recipe adapted from The Prepared Pantry
Custard recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
Ganache recipe totally made up in my head
Yield: 1 double-layer 8" cake and a bunch of leftover vanilla custard for a recently de-toothed friend
Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites
1/2 Tbs vanilla
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk

I was so intent on making this the greatest cake ever that I even sifted the flour!!!  See how much I love you, Jay?
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and shortening until smooth.
Add in sugar and cream together until combined.
Add in egg yolks and vanilla and stir until combined.
Alternately add in 1/3 the flour, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 the flour,  1/2 the milk, and then the last 1/3 of the flour.  Mix until smooth.
Gently fold in 1/2 the egg whites, then add the second half and fold just until incorporated.
Evenly divide the batter between 2 8" pans lined with parchment paper and greased and floured
Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes.  Cool in pans on wire racks for 20 minutes.  Use a small knife to separate the sides of the cake from the pans.  Then invert the cake layers on the wire racks to finish cooling completely.

Custard Directions
Custard Ingredients:
3 cups whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbs corn starch
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks (beaten)
1 Tbs unsalted butter

1.  Cook together milk, sugar, and corn starch on medium heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil.  Allow to boil for one minute.
2.  Slowly add half the mixtures to the beaten egg yolks.  Once incorporated, add the egg mixture back to the saucepan, and continue stirring while the mixture boils for another minute.
3.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
4.  Cover the custard with plastic wrap (placing the plastic directly on the surface of the custard) and then refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Once the cakes and custard are cool, use a long, sharp, serrated knife to shave off the tops of the cakes so that they are flat and even.
Take the cooled custard and spread a layer (about 1/2" thick) around the first layer of cake.  Then invert the second layer on top of the custard and press down gently.

Make your chocolate ganache.
I melted 10oz dark chocolate morsels with 3 Tbs unsalted butter and 1/2 soy milk over medium heat and stirred until smooth.

Gently pour the ganache over the center of your cake and allow it to drip down the sides.
I chose to make a mini marzipan Boston Cream Donut for the top

This was Chris's special custard cake:

                                                                           And here was the real cake!

Happy Birthday Jay and Chris!  Here's to many more exciting adventures together.

Love and cookies,

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