Labor Day came and went as most other holidays in our household, something was cooking, literally. And any holiday that doesn’t include dessert
is B-O-R-I-N-G. For about two minutes I considered only serving fresh fruit. Yeah right. To my family that may have been considered the seventh sign and to get their affairs in order. It’s not like I need an excuse to bake, trust me. It just wouldn’t be the same without something sweet on the holiday menu.
My big idea was to make a bar cake. I’d been eyeing them in the bakery section at Meijers, that’s where I get groceries. It’s rather small (by my standards). More like an over sized loaf cake sliced into three or four layers with filling in between and frosted on top. Ever since I’d seen them my thoughts were on overdrive with dozens of tasty combinations. My big anxiety about making one was measuring and slicing the layers. I’ve not run across a pan the size of the cakes I’d seen so I knew some slicing and measuring was in order. And let me tell you I was very nervous about that.
I decided to bake my creation in a jelly roll pan approximate size 11 ½ x 17 ½. I also wasn’t about to waste a bunch of sugar and butter if this didn’t come out as I visualized. So I resorted to cake mix (yucky). OK, so after spritzing the pan with some nonstick baking spray I lined it with wax paper, no parchment paper on hand. Then I gave the wax paper a good spritz also. Separately I mixed a single batch of devils food and white cake mix. My pan used about half of each which I poured side by side. After about 45 minutes in the oven I let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, turned in out on another rack, pulled the wax paper off and let it cool.
My first choices for fillings were a boxed chocolate mousse, I had no problem using a boxed mousse for this one. Good chocolate is not for experiments, and a coconut one. After a quick reminder from my daughter that our granddaughter wouldn’t be able to eat any of the coconut mousse (she’s allergic to nuts) I decided to make it white chocolate instead. And darn it all I’d bought dark rum for the coconut mousse, whatever was I going to do with it. Ha! I had good success with white mousse before so making it from scratch was no big deal. The chocolate mousse was made while the cake was baking but I waited until the next morning to make the white chocolate one.
One dessert for the holiday just wasn’t enough for me, or maybe it was the dark rum that convinced me I needed another one. Earlier in the week I went to the library to take out the same cake books I always borrow. One of them was, “The Cake Book”, by Tish Boyle. The recipe for the ill-fated coconut mousse was hers and so is the Luxe Pound Cake that I decided to add to our holiday menu I’ll tell you about that one in a later post.
Here I am the morning after baking the cakes for the bar cake, nervous as all get out about the cutting and measuring to be done. The white chocolate mousse came together real quick. I covered it in plastic and set it in the back of the fridge so it would chill faster and went on to mix and bake the Luxe Pound Cake. Talk about super simple to mix, and I had some mix left over. Waste not want not; the leftover pound cake batter went in the fridge to be baked as cupcakes later.
My anxiety about measuring and cutting the layers was for naught. It was a breeze and I was so proud of myself. I put the first white layer down and spread it with chocolate mousse, then put the devils food cake on that and spread it with white chocolate mousse. Everything was going great. I had four layers, that to me were surprisingly even and level, spread with luscious mousse. Into the fridge they went to chill before I spread the top with white frosting.
In the meantime I decided to bake the pound cake batter that was left over. I reached into the back of the fridge and pulled out the white chocolate mousse. I just stood there for what seemed like forever staring at it. It hadn’t been touched. Sweet Mother of Pearl!! I’d spread pound cake batter on the chocolate layer of my bar cake. Really, Seriously??? I was so geeked up about my success with what I thought was the challenging part of the bar cake I overlooked what was literally staring me in the face. When something like that happens you just have to laugh make a mental note and keep on going. Of course I took the cake out and began the surgical procedure. The chocolate layer was third from the top. The white layer on top of it had set up big time so lifting and transferring it to a plate was not smooth or easy. Naturally it split, so much for all that measuring and slicing. I meticulously scraped all the pound cake batter and a bit of the chocolate cake sacrificed itself for the greater good. In case you’re wondering why I just didn’t’ bake another layer, it’s because I made cute little baby bundts with the leftover cake mix batter.
I reassembled the cake, spread the top with white frosting, garnished it with melted chocolate and did the old drag the toothpick through the chocolate to make a design. It wasn’t as level and kind of sagged in the middle, but oh well. The next question was, “do I tell them or not?” My family is pretty good natured and supportive so I told them how I managed to prevent us from having salmonella poisoning. The had a good laugh while they were eating my first and pretty tasty attempt at a bar cake. Onward and upward!