It’s hard to avoid hearing about what’s going on with our neighbours to the south. I went to my local coffee shop this morning, and almost every single person was talking about it. I was in line at the grocery store and my cashier struck up a conversation with me about it. She told me how Robert de Niro compared the situation to Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, and how he ominously concluded with, “God help us.”
With all that’s going on, aside from genuine hugs from my little ones, I’m finding great comfort in baking. Baking for me is an outlet on many fronts. It can be a hobby, a challenge, a sweet sin, but more profoundly, it’s therapeutic. There’s a great deal of comfort in baking. The predictability and formulaic nature of mixing solids and liquids, applying heat, measuring quantities and time – provides a tangible sense of certainty – sometimes when there seems to be no method to the madness or certainty anywhere else in the world. On an emotional level, baking fills the house with a blanket of wonderful aromas, rich with sweetness and the TLC that went into making it. The best part is then sharing your creation and watching those you love, revel in that sweet splendour.
Of course baking a cake won’t solve the world’s problems. But it can definitely be a comfort, to huddle as a family together and indulge in some things in life that are still sweet.
- 240 g/ 2 cups Cake Flour
- 50 g/ 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 200 g/ 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 150 g/3/4 cup brown loosely packed sugar
- 2 large eggs (preferably room temperature)
- 130 g/ 2/3 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
- 85 g/1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup hot black coffee ( I used 1 cup Nespresso)
- 260 g/ 1 cup mascarpone
- 130 g/ 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 25 g/ 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 60 g/ 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 5 tablespoons milk or cream (I used cream)
- Place oven rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350F/180C
- Grease and line bottoms with parchment paper of two 9 inch cake pans OR three 6 inch cake pans (I used three 6 inch cake pans to make a taller slender cake)
- In large bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa and set aside
- In stand mixer beat the oil, white and brown sugar, eggs (one at a time), and vanilla. Make sure to scrape bottom and sides every now and then
- Add the mascarpone until well mixed about 20 seconds
- Add the flour/dry mixture to the wet and mix until incorporated about a minute
- Add the hot cup of coffee and beat on medium for a good minute
- Distribute the batter into your cake pans evenly.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until your tooth pick comes out clean. Start checking at 30 minutes. - If your oven has uneven heat distribution like mine, rotate the pans halfway.
- Once ready, let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans and allowing to finish cooling on wire rack.
- Wait for cake to completely cool (about 2 hours or so) before icing.
- Beat the mascarpone and cream cheese on medium speed for a couple minutes
- Add the cocoa and icing sugar
- Then add the vanilla
- Add the milk or cream, a table spoon at a time, scraping sides and bottom of mixing bowl every now and then. I used 5 tablespoons however, feel free to add more or less depending on the desired consistency you'd like for your icing.
- Berries to garnish, optional
- The icing is just enough for a naked cake. To cover an entire cake, please double the portions of the Cake Icing ingredients only.
- Can also make about 24 cupcakes- bake for ONLY 15-18 minutes...check at 15 minutes with a toothpick - should come out clean