TCM's Birthday Bash: Chocolate Malt Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Whoppers
The boy does love his scotch...and that's my card to him! (POOF!)
You know what they say..you only turn 30 once so do it with a bang... I think he managed to get the bang...and I think he really didn't know what was coming..but boy... was he in for a gargantuan surprise.
First and formost.. I was freaking out wondering what the hell to do! And then I had one of those moments...you know, the one where the light bulb lights up.. oh yeah. Regardless..I was still freaking out wondering if I can even get reservations 3 days prior..and not to mention for a party of 12. I thought of one place that I knew would probably be able to seat us and could serve us killer hunks of meat with a comfortable ambience and also, a place close to home (so I could easily drive if the birthday boy had a little too much to drink....that said..he drove home). That place would be Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton, MA. It's quite a gem I'd add.. nestled in lush pastures for the black angus to roam..and for the diners really..so they know that the cow had a good life before it was served on his plate. Anyways... there are 2 large barns, on the left would be the restaurant and the other on the right is for special occasions..i.e, weddings..So back to the surprise... I frantically called them realizing it was 9 am and of course it went straight to the message box..I left my message and waited anxiously wondering when I would get my call back.. I was beyond relieved that I managed to get a spot and I was absolutely thrilled! On top of that I had e-mailed T's cousin telling her of the arrangements, and to tell her parents and sister too. And that's not all! T's buddy TF flew all the way from hkg to spend just a night for him! And of course can't forget about CC too!
Unfortunately...I didn't have time to take a picture of the whole cake!
But...I saved this little baby here ..a little half eaten yes..
but at least it's something!
SO, the cake.. I wasn't going to do a round 2 of the waiting game because when I sleep he sleeps.. and even if I pretend to sleep..it won't work out so well either since the pretending part would turn into the deep open mouth kind of sleep..which unfortunately has happen a few too many times...(i have learned).. So I kinda reassured myself and thought hey you know what.. I'm all set here..already have quite the list of surprises in store for him..the cake can be a so-so surprise. And so the morning of the 10th began, I woke up..3 hours too early thinking..cake.. maybe I should bake it now..? No..I should go back to bed and do it later..but what if he was expecting it when he opened his eyes?! Well..we know what happened next..I konked out and then woke up to do my nails instead. We went on with the day as usual..went in the garage and attempted to fix the garage door opener..then after an hour or so we proceeded to pressure wash the house. When we finished around 3ish we had our sandwiches and then I began making cake! He offerred to help but was much more intrigued by his F1 GP. I was fine and dandy on my own.. happily mixing and periodically would hear " YES..YES...Oh Yes, ha HAAA!" -silent-....simple things arouse him to such heightened roars of joy...that is watching sebastian vettel struggling to pass fernando alonso... Anyway.. continuing on.. I started off by preheating the oven to 350 F, and greased and floured the 2 8" round cake pans. In a bowl I combined sugar, flour, malt powder, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda. In another bowl I mixed eggs, olive oil, and milk together..(i think you know what's coming next..the classic wet to dry method) so I poured in the wet into my flour mixture and whisked till just combined. I had a pot of indonesian coffee brewing and added a cup and a half of that in there too. The batter was a soupy goop..brown and glistening..I poured them equally into their prepared pans and off they went into the oven for 45 minutes. In that time I made my frosting a simple, classic, never old chocolate ganache. It is so easy you can do it with your eyes closed. So I poured 2 cups of heavy cream in a saucepan with 1 3/4 cups of sugar, placed it on the burner and brought it to a bubble. While waiting I chopped up 2 lbs worth of dark vermont chocolate and threw them into a large bowl. I also measured out about half a block of butter cut into small cubes and set that aside. Now once the cream and sugar mixture was boiling hot, I poured it into the bowl of chocolate, I shook the bowl gently just to give it a swish to get the chocolate going and left it alone for 5 minutes. After the wait I whisked it slowly allowing the cream and chocolate to combine..and to cool it I added the butter a cube at a time, allowing one to melt and combine before adding another. After all the butter is in, I whisked in 2 T's of pure vanilla concentrate (once you get your hands on this baby..the cheap stuff ain't worth looking at!). The ganache is now done but still needs to be cooled so it'll be just the right frosting consistency. I just let it sat in a cool spot folding it once in a while. The cakes were on its last legs in the oven but once out it needed time on the cooling rack..and a quick cool down in the freezer before being ladened with ganache. I gave it 2 or so hours to cool and proceeded to level the cake. I began with a large dollop of ganache as the base, and armed with my trusty palette knife I began spreading it out evenly..laid one layer of cake and another dollop of ganache spreading it out and on with the second layer of cake with 2 huge dollops of ganache. With my palette knife I managed to make smooth even lines and a little hot water in between helps a lot. To top things off.. 2 1/2 boxes of whoppers.
I called Gibbet Hill to arrange a menu for the dinner which they sent me a separate menu for their events. Above were my choices and best yet...love the header? (T's infamous BBM). So the day was soon coming to the big surprise...I had finished my cake and placed it in one of those cake holders...ran upstairs and got ready.. it was around 6 45, dinner was at 7:30. I had strategically told everyone to come early to get seated and waiting.. The most difficult part was trying to get everyone there so the two of us can head over alone so T would really get the surprise. So mid-shower I thought of an ingenius plan...I thought to myself..well..TF and CC are here..I'm going to tell Mrs.M to head over to Gibbet first and if T asks..just tell him oh you know how slow she takes to get ready..we're going to head over first! And so they did..7:15 on the dot.. T bless his heart was in the bathroom but heard the door to the cellar close..he came into my room and with a confused look said..they just left..? I said yeah yeah.. told them to go first.. you know how slow I am.."but you made the reservations at 7:30..we're going to be late!" "No, no" I said.."What they don't know is I made it for 7:45!" (Which technically was true.. you see.. the hostess and I had arranged a "dummy" reservation whereby he would've thought it was going to be just us...) Anyway the best part was the fact that he still didn't know where we were going and since he drove I had to tell him..and I was pleased to know how happy he was with the choice! So when we arrived at Gibbet... the hostess brought us up the stairs.. and he was already getting antsy..and there everyone was..watching him come up with wide smiles..T was blushing and shocked to see his cousins..aunt and uncle there too. Finally.. all my worries were over and I was beyond relieved if anything.. The night was amazing.. everyone had a great time and everyone went home with satisfied bellies.
I love everything about this card..and especially the reaction
T expressed..Mr.M really knows how to pick great cards!
I had the pleasure of sitting across this fine man...
All night long he would make fun of people coming
up the stairs..the one I remembered most was.. "look
at that ugly woman! If anyone married her..? He'd have to be blind!"
The dining table at home...fully embellished