Halloween Marble Cake! …and a “Best Baking Blog” nomination

I will talk about the joys and pains (luckily there is a happy ending) of this cake, but first I want to Thank You, for it had to be you, who nominated me for the “Best Baking Blog” award from Foodbuzz. Imagine my surprise and delight to see my name on this list of wildly talented bakers:

7. Best Baking Blog:
1. Bakerella
2. Brown Eyed Baker
3. CakeSpy
4. Joy the Baker
5. ZoeBakes

If you have not yet voted for your favorite blogs I encourage you to cast your vote here. Thanks!

Before I had two boys it would never have occurred to me to put spiders on a cake.  Thank god for little boys! Of course, there are deeper things that I have learned since parenting, but seeing the world through their eyes has made me happier, younger and sillier, which is such a gift. There is always their homework, cleaning rooms, taking baths, going to bed and eating spinach to keep us aware of our duties as parents, but sometimes it is about having fun. Spiders on a cake is just plain fun.

Although this cake is very simple to make, it took me two tries to get it right. That sounds more intimidating than it really is. The reason was not my fault, really. I read the recipe and thought to myself that it was WAY too much baking powder, but went ahead anyway. I figured the additional baking powder was because of the weight of the chocolate that is folded in. I mixed it up as written and when I looked in the oven as it baked it was bubbling, not something you really want to see as a cake rises. This is a classic sign of too much baking powder. If the ratio of flour and baking powder is off the leavening agent will create bubbles that are too big and the cake will end up falling due to the lack of structure. You want nice tight small bubbles to allow the cake to rise, but not too rapidly or it will collapse. Within 10 minutes I knew I should have trusted my instincts. I remade the cake with less baking powder and it turned out perfectly, the happy ending! I’ll talk more about how to use baking powder properly as I mix up the batter below. (more…)

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