Hey! Happy Friday.
It’s been a busy week with the return of “school”, getting into a remote learning routine, and finding ways to stay cool in this summer heatwave we’re having in the southwest.
Our time outside has been reaching epic fun levels. Everyday I’m seeing a kid group form from the ether to ride our neighborhood park loop. They may be friends already or just as possibly not. Three-years-old to tweens, scenes from The Wonder Years are popping up where neighborhood kids find each other and a bike or scooter gang is born. Hot days of summer and few organized activities combine to create togetherness of the days of old, relaxed and easy.
I see slow, meandering after-dinner walks, kids hide-and-seeking at the park into dark, a bike ride around the block, friends catching up in camp chairs 6 feet from each other for happy hour, twentysomethings balancing on slack-lines with Bob Marley or bass beats in their pockets, and two or three older neighborhood fixtures, now with canes, making their way around the loop as kids carefully but hardly slowly speed around them.
Here is my four-year-old son’s cake request for his upcoming 5th birthday: chocolate cake with chocolate frosting on top with chocolate chip mint ice cream inside and then gummy bears on the outside and Mike and Ikes on the inside.
The kid knows what he wants. And as far as design goes, it sounds easier than last year’s soccer ball cake.
When I was ready to assemble, I worked fast to get the cake in the freezer every ten minutes. It did hold up nicely this way (frozen).
The downside, mattering not at all to any five-year-old, is that the candy is frozen, too. Beware this cake takes time to chew – not a bad thing if one of your parent goals is to somehow reduce the steep sugar spike that will result with this cake. The upside is tedious chewing naturally limits the amount eaten in one sitting, at least until your jaw has recovered.
Now for those who’d like to eat more cake in one sitting, I’ve got you covered with Plan B below – whipped cream cream cheese frosting in place of the ice cream requires no freezing so you can have your Mike and Ike chocolate cake and…eat it too.
Chocolate Frosted Mike and Ike Chocolate Cake
*Dark chocolate frosting from Martha Stewart
Makes 1 two-layer 9″ round cake
- 1 box chocolate cake mix
- 1 scant cup of water (more than 3/4 cup and less than 1 cup)
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs
- Plan A) 1 pint chocolate chip mint ice cream
- Plan B) Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting (cut recipe in half if using only as filling or make full recipe, scoop up like ice cream and top with fresh berries)
Dark Chocolate Frosting
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- 2 cups gummy bears
- 1 cup Mike and Ikes
Make cake according to instructions on box. Cool on wire rack, then place in plastic wrap and freeze for several hours or overnight.
Once moderately frozen, level each cake layer removing domed or sunken top with bread knife.
Make frosting by combining cocoa and boiling water, stirring until dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high, beat butter, powdered sugar, and salt until light and fluffy.
Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.
Prepare filling. If using Plan A/ice cream, make sure it’s hard-frozen, not in the least bit soft. If using Plan B/whipped cream cream cheese, prepare according to instructions.
To assemble, smear spoonful of chocolate frosting on parchment or cardboard round to prevent cake from slipping. Top with first layer of chocolate cake. If using ice cream*, moving quickly with knife, slice 1″ layers and place on cake until completely covered. If using cream cheese filling, smear 1 1/2 cups evenly across cake top.
Place second cake layer on top of filling. Using bread knife, cut 2″ diameter hole in center of cake. Hole should extend from top to bottom of cake.
Fill with Mike and Ikes. Next evenly frost top and sides with chocolate frosting making sure candy hole is completely covered. Decorate as desired with gummy bears. Sprinkle fresh berries across top and along base of cake. Impress your five-year-old with this Darth Vader topper, complete with heavy breathing. Enjoy!
*Remember to return cake to freeze every 10 minutes during assembly.
Another delicious cake.
Have a fantastic weekend.