Ever since Thursday’s announcements, I’ve felt a huge sense of relief. Now that you know about Keep It Sweet Desserts, I can be a lot more open about what is going on in my daily life. Having my co-workers know, well, that is another level of weight lifted off my shoulders.
There were a lot of reasons that my job was no longer the place for me, but after four and a half years working at a company as it grew from thirty to almost three hundred people, I’ve built many relationships with people through meetings, conference calls and daily kitchen chats. Not interacting with these people on a regular basis is going to be strange. Telling them that would be the case was a lot more nerve-racking than I thought it would be.
Giving my two weeks notice at work was a little like breaking up with a boyfriend. Except when I said “it’s not you, it’s me,” I pretty much meant it. Sure, my job wasn’t perfect, but I’m leaving because it is time to pursue my passion. Having some discontent in my professional life just made that decision make a little more sense.
Giving two weeks notice required one-on-one conversations with everyone I work with on a daily basis. Once we got past the part of the conversations where I promised not to leave anyone in the lurch, my boss, and everyone else, seemed genuinely happy for me. Some were excited and offered to put me in touch with valuable contacts, others promised to place orders with me as soon as the website is running. My boss just requested, very seriously I might add, that I bring in samples before my two weeks are up. Fair enough. The fact that these conversations went so well actually gave me a little regret at saying goodbye.
So this weekend, to celebrate the big announcement or stress eat my way through starting a business (either one, you decide), it only made sense to bake a somewhat over-the-top rich and delicious layer cake.
Chocolate stout cake.
Coffee swiss meringue buttercream.
Rich, moist, decadent, everything you could ask for in one slice. And I’m not exaggerating on the richness, I ate one slice (read: three slices in one) and it was enough for me. Wait, who am I?
Make this cake for a birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, or even just because!
Chocolate Stout Celebration Cake
1 recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake from Sweetapolita, cake only
1/3 recipe for Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream, recipe below
1 full recipe for Mocha Buttercream, recipe below
Prepare chocolate stout cake layers following directions on Sweetapolita and set aside to cool
While cake is cooling, prepare coffee swiss meringue buttercream (“SMB”) and mocha buttercream and set aside
When cake has cooled, place one layer on a flat cake plate; use a serrated knife to shave the very top of the cake off so that the layer is flat
Spread a thick layer of the coffee SMB on shaved layer of cake, top only; gently place second cake layer on top of SMB
Spread mocha buttercream over top of cake and around the sides; I find that a long metal spatula works best for this
Store cake in refrigerator up to three days and serve at room temperature; prepared cake can also be wrapped tightly in seran wrap and then again in foil and frozen for a few weeks
Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Sweetapolita (if this is your first time making SMB, her post is very helpful)
Makes enough to ice a full layer cake or fill two 9-inch 2-layer cakes
1 cup egg whites (pasteurized egg whites work fine)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water, chilled
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk attachment, whisk, spatula and candy thermometer with a paper towel and vinegar to clean (if any grease is on these items your meringue will not work)
Place egg whites and sugar in mixing bowl over pot of simmering water; water should not be high enough to touch mixing bowl
Whisk mixture slowly but constantly until temperature reaches 160 degrees F, about 5-10 minutes
Remove from stove and attach bowl to electric mixer with whisk attachment
Put mixer on low to medium speed and whisk until meringue is shiny and thick and bowl has cooled down to room temperature; if bowl does not cool and meringue has formed, you can put an ice bath under the mixing bowl was it is mixing
Once ready, replace whisk attachment with paddle attachment and add cubes of butter one at a time mixing on low speed until the mixture is light and creamy; if mixture gets lumpy, keep mixing for several minutes; if it gets runny, place bowl in fridge for 10 minutes before continuing to mix
Stop mixer to scrape sides of bowl and continue to beat on low speed for another minute
Add chilled espresso, vanilla, and salt and mix on medium speed until the SMB is light and creamy
Store extra SMB in refrigerator up to a week or in freezer up to two months
Makes enough buttercream to ice outside of cake, double the recipe to use as filling and outside frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa, sifted
6 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer, beat butter on high speed until light and creamy
Add half of sugar and mix on low speed until combined
Add remaining sugar, cocoa, coffee and vanilla; mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy
Stop mixer to scrape sides of bowl and then continue mixing on high speed for another minute until creamy
Store buttercream in refrigerator up to a week or in freezer up to two months
The only change I made to the Chocolate Stout cake was to substitute the sour cream with nonfat greek yogurt because that is what I had on hand; I used a bottle of Sam Adam’s Chocolate Stout from the winter collection
You can make the cake layers in advance and freeze them (well-wrapped) until ready to put the entire cake together
Cake can be iced in coffee SMB only if you don’t want as much chocolate (I’ll try not to judge)
I decided to bring half of this cake into the office to prevent myself from eating the entire thing. Who is placing bets on whether my co-workers will love me or hate me by the time my last day rolls around?