Blogiversary Mocha Chocolate Cake & Cake Balls

Happy Birthday, CrandleCakes! (Original post here.)

happy birthdaybirthday candlewhoosh

Today marks’s one-year anniversary. 52 weeks of moderately consistent blogging, and in internet terms, that’s serious commitment. Here are some delicious items to celebrate the occasion: Mocha Birthday Cake and those pesky Cake Balls that everyone’s still eating.

choco cake above

It’s strange to think that when I started this blag (thanks, Jake), I was trying to cope with a second year of the psychological endurance test that was English grad school. As Crandlecakes spills over into a second year, I’ve left Boston, and I’m settling into life in Waco as a local restaurant afficionado, house warmer, YMCA member (who would have thought?), dinner party thrower, and soon--wife (!). Wurt. That’s a lot of change.

choco blockochopo choco

It’s no real surprise that I’ve been thinking a lot about my place in the community, especially as it seems that this new stage of life might not be transitional in the same way that getting into Teach for America, living in Ireland, and moving to Boston were. It’s probably not shocking to my friends that I’ve sent myself into panics about the move here, the culture shock of switching between bookish-nonprofit-museumy Boston and homey, meat-eating, wide-open, football-country Waco. At first, I was afraid that I would forget about all the things I had in Boston, and, on top of that, I was concerned that talking too much about life up in the icy north would alienate me from all the people here, make them think I’m some kind of uppety city person (the horror!).

Then there is the possibility that I might not actually want a “real” job, and that le fiance and I might always be happy in these build-your-own sort of situations, like running a restaurant and never sleeping or getting two days off in a row, but never having to answer to someone higher up (besides the tax man).


Well, now we’re just going to try to take things a bit slower, let ourselves settle in here, and see what happens (by “we” I mean “I,” as I am clearly the spazziest member of this duo). Waco is experiencing some kind of renaissance--everyone says they can feel some kind of cultural momentum building--and, newsflash, you can’t be part of neo-bohemia (lol) if you’re too busy worrying.

spinmocha cake side

This year, you can expect to see some changes on CrandleCakes, including, but not limited to: feature posts about neat local scenes (I said “scene.”) and neighborhood characters, product reviews, general cooking and hosting schpiels, some talk about the restaurant biz, mayyybe some creative writing, and more recipes and photos, of course.

crumbyrolled upsprinklies

For now, I’ve finally found the go-to chocolate cake. The boiling water thing is weird (see below), but this is the most moist and delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever made. SO delicious, in fact, that even though my second layer got stuck in the pan and broke, I had to choose to salvage it or keep eating it in fistfuls--I went with cake balls. Thank me later.

overhead line o ballson a blue plate

Last September: Summer Slap Salad

Mocha Birthday Cake and Triple Chocolate Cake Balls

Adapted from The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters

Makes Cake and Icing for one 2-layer cake or 1-layer cake and a dozen cake balls

I made very few changes: namely, I cooked the cake at 300 F instead of 350 F and lengthened the cook time in hopes of a flatter, less domed cake. Also, I was out of buttermilk, so I made my own! I mixed 1 cup of whole milk with 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes. It curdles, sho nuff.

The cake and icing recipe makes enough for a single-layer mocha cake and a dozen cake balls. If you only want cake, this recipe will give you two layers and enough icing for the whole thing. If you only want cake balls, you will have a ton of cake balls, haha. I caught one of our managers scarfing this over the trashcan like some kind of Dementor on a ripe young muggle soul, so I don’t think consuming them should be a problem.

4 oz. (1 bar, usually) bittersweet baking chocolate

2 cups cake flour (AP works)

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon table salt

6 Tablespoons cocoa powder

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ½ cups sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, room temperature

½ cup buttermilk (I mixed 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar with 1 cup of whole milk and let curdle for ten minutes)

1 ¼ cups boiling water (it seemed weird to me, too)

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