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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Baking Adventure: Portal Cake (and Happy Birthday to My Little Bro)

Hey, Adventurers! Happy 2014!

Apologies for the extended hiatus! It was much longer than I had originally anticipated, but I hope you all had a fun, safe, warm holiday season. My holidays were busy with family and friends, but I've also been making things that I'll blog about later. :) Be sure to stick around in the upcoming weeks!

You see, the end of November and early December always correspond with end-of-the-quarter craziness - finals, papers, projects, presentations, and all that fun stuff. In addition, there's Thanksgiving and... my brother's birthday!
Portal Cake
My brother's a big fan of Portal so this year, I made him a Portal Cake. That's right, the cake is NOT a lie!
Real Life Portal Cake
The Portal Cake appears to be a black forest cake, which is a chocolate cake flavored with cherries and decorated with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. To be honest, I'm actually not a fan of cherries and chocolate together so I tweaked the basic ingredients a little and took out the Kirsch cherry liqueur normally found in black forest cake. (Seriously, what would I have done with a whole bottle of cherry liqueur after this cake?) But you can always google a real black forest cake recipe or try the in-game Portal Cake recipe if you want something more authentic - just be sure to hold the "fish-shaped ethyl benzene" and other morsels GLaDOS would try to kill you with.
Portal Cake Slice
DISCLAIMER: I played around with the ingredients as I went along so I don't remember exactly how many chopped cherries I added to my filling, but you can adjust the cherries to your liking. I also had a giant Trader Joe's Pound Plus 72% Dark Chocolate Bar at home so I used a vegetable peeler and grated about 8-10 squares worth of chocolate. Unfortunately, I have no idea how much chocolate shavings that comes out to in cups or ounces. I always err on the side of more so I suggest you go for extra chocolate shaving to be safe. You wouldn't want bald spots on your Portal Cake!


PORTAL CAKE (Simplified Black Forest Cake)
Yield: One 2 layer, round cake

Ingredients
1 box chocolate cake mix (and required ingredients)
1 tub chocolate frosting
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp granulated sugar (for whipping cream)
~16 jarred cherries, drained and chopped into quarters (more or less depending on preference)
Chocolate shavings (see Disclaimer above)
8 jarred cherries, whole and drained

Special Tools
Parchment paper
Hand mixer or whisk
Gold cardboard cake circle (or cake stand or plate)
Cake leveler or knife
Toothpick
Quart or gallon-sized plastic freezer bag (or piping bag)
White candle (with little candle holder)

Directions
  1. Follow directions on chocolate cake mix box to make two 8-inch or 9-inch cake rounds. You should line the bottom of your cake pan with parchment paper for easy removal later on. (Note: I made 9-inch cake rounds because I have 9-inch cake pans, but I'd recommend the 8-inch.)
  2. Let cake rounds cool completely.
  3. Whip up whipping cream to stiff peaks using a hand mixer. (I followed the instructions from Real Simple but used a hand mixer instead of whisking by hand. When your whipping cream starts to thicken (right before soft peaks), you'll add your 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar and then whip to stiff peaks.)
  4. In a separate bowl, combine about 1/3 to 1/2 of the whipped cream with the chopped cherries and gently fold until mixed
  5. To remove your cakes from the cake pan, gently run a plastic knife along the edge of the pan. Gently invert the pan onto your hand and lay on a cooling rack. Peel off the parchment paper. 
  6. Place your cake rounds on a flat surface with the domed top facing up. Use a cake leveler or knife to level off the dome so you have a flat cake top.
  7. Place a small dollop of chocolate frosting in the center of your cardboard cake circle (or cake stand or plate) and set down first cake layer "dome-side" up. (The frosting will be the glue that keeps your cake from sliding off.)
  8. Spread your cherry whipped cream filling evenly over the cake layer, leaving a little room along the edge. You may not have to use all your filling or you might have to make a little extra filling depending on how much filling you want and if you made an 8-inch or 9-inch cake. The purpose of leaving the space along the edge is that the filling will squeeze outward a little when the top layer of cake is added. Also, the Portal Cake game image shows an indentation around the equator of the cake.
  9. Place your second cake round "dome-side" down over the filling. You want the flat bottom of the cake facing the ceiling for a cleaner look.
  10. Cut parchment paper into strips and line along the outer edge of your cardboard cake circle (or stand or plate) to protect it from frosting and chocolate shavings
  11. Cover the entire cake with chocolate frosting, leaving a slight indentation along the equator of the cake.
  12. Carefully cover the entire cake with chocolate shavings.
  13. Using a toothpick, mark 8 equally spaced dots.
  14. Place remaining plain whipped cream into a quart or gallon-sized plastic freezer bag (or piping bag).
  15. Sip off a corner of  the plastic freezer bag and pipe small quarter-sized dollops of whipped cream on each of the 8 dots.
  16. If necessary, use a paper towel to dry off any excess moisture on the whole cherries. Then, carefully place a cherry on each dollop of cream.
  17. Remove strips of parchment paper and clean off any bits of frosting or chocolate shavings that may have fallen on the cake circle/stand/plate.
  18. Place a white candle in the center of the cake.
  19. Light candle and enjoy!
There you have it! Your very own Portal Cake!

2 comments:

MiNapi said...

It looks delicious! I like the cherries on top. ^^

Chrissy said...

Aww, thanks, MiNapi! :]

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