Sixteen years ago I was blessed with a second beautiful baby girl. I thought I had everything I ever wanted after having the first one, but after I had my second I realized I was missing something and that something was an energetic powerhouse, with a huge smile and a fiery personality. There was a small learning curve after altering my universe by adding to the mix. Once mastered though I began to realize there really was plenty of love to go around, even when I felt spread thin.
I've been blessed with two of the best examples of motherhood one could ask for. I've been fortunate enough to witness both my mom and my mother-in law giving everything they had and still finding the ability to dig deep and give more. They have both raised large families and not only do they continue to love and guide their own kids, but their grandchildren and great grandchildren as well.
I am thankful everyday they are always there to help and offer advice when I feel down, or just don't know what to do. I can't image having gotten this far without them. I know I won't always have them to lean on, but I'm thankful for every moment I do.
My daughter's have taught me it's much more than just cuddles, fun times, and play dates, it's knowing when to ask for help and letting it be known to those whose opinions you trust, "I don't have all the answers, I'm doing the best I can, what do you think?"
My family and friends have always been there to answer and for that I am grateful. They helped make the last 16 years and beyond the best ones ever.
I didn't have the usual over the top party for her with a ton of people, but there was a ton of food and I never skimp on desserts (three of them if you are splitting hairs). In my opinion this was one of the best ones, just spending it with my baby girl and my favorite people in the whole universe (believe it or not this is only a small fraction of them).
My daughter requested this cake and it was my pleasure to make her request a reality.
Dark Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Mousse
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour (or use parchment rounds with no stick spray) (2) 10-inch round cake pans.
Add sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of a mixer and mix on lowest speed to combine. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and mix until just combined. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour in the boiling water until the batter is well mixed.
Pour half of the batter into one pan and half into the other.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. I usually start checking the cakes at 30 minutes, and then every 4 or 5 minutes afterwards until they are done.
Let cool. The cakes can be made the day before and wrapped and left on the counter until you are ready to fill them.
Milk Chocolate Mousse:
4 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 3/4 cups cold heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the egg whites into the bowl of a mixer and add 3 tablespoons of the sugar and a pinch of salt. Beat until stiff peaks form and empty into a clean bowl.
Place the chocolate and butter into a heat proof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the egg yolks and whisk until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer add the whip cream, 3 tablespoons of remaining sugar, and vanilla and beat until stiff.
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate in two or three additions. Next fold in the whip cream until no more white streaks are left. Place the mousse in the fridge for a few hours or overnight until firm.
Assemble the cake in a 10-inch springform pan. Spray the bottom with non-stick spray.
Cut one of the cakes in half horizontally with a serrated knife or my preference a cake leveler.
Place one of the layers into the bottom of the springform pan and spread 1/3 of the mousse to the edges of the cake layer. Place another cake layer and another 1/3 of the mousse. Cut the other cake in 1/2 and repeat until layered. The cake will be taller than the pan, just wrap the top in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until ready to serve.
Remove the ring prior to serving. I got about 20 thin slices.
In the pandemonium that is a party at my house, I forgot to get a shot of the cake before serving it. I did snap a shot I put on Instagram, if you want to take a peek here is the link, Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Mousse. Good thing there will be another birthday around here soon (hmm, wonder whose?) and perhaps I should just make this cake again just to photo it, not that I want to have to eat it again or anything.
Happy Birthday! We love you and couldn't imagine our family without you.
p.s. As if I didn't already know what a special day it is today, I just heard my nephew's baby girl is on her way today. Yes!!!