• Najwa Kronfel

Lucas Birthday Cake

It has been a year since my son Lucas was born. It hasn’t been an easy year for me, so much to learn, long sleepless nights, playing, crying, feeding, diapers, laundry, a few extra pounds. The list is endless. But I won’t change a thing, my son means the world to me and I would do it all over again.

Let me tell you a little bit about him.  He has a nice personality, is always happy and makes lots of facial expressions. It’s so funny to see him. He likes to eat about everything I give him except eggplants, he is not to crazy about them! He doesn’t walk yet but I think it’s a matter of days now. He loves water,  music and enjoys car rides. He says a few words: mama, papa, agua (water) ek (Milk) and he rubs his belly when he is hungry. 

I have been thinking about this day and I want it to do something small but special with the family. I decided to do a layer cake with light ganache topped with mushroom merengue and it came out very well. It was a fun cake to make specially when I put together the mushrooms merengues.

Lucas, I want to tell you how much I love you and I am very proud of you. Happy Birthday Love,

from Mommy.

For the cake:

2 1/4 cup cake flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla 

2 Lg eggs

Preheat the oven 350 F.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients just to blend. Add the vegetable shortening to the dry ingredients and blend on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. In a mixing bowl, whisk to blend the milk, vanilla and eggs. On medium speed, add slowly half of the liquid to the dry ingredients and blend well, slowly add the other half and mix until well combined. Turn the speed up and mix for 30 seconds or until batter is smooth. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack and cool completely.

For the Light ganache:

16oz Bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it just begins to simmer, be careful not to allow cream to boil over.

Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Stir melted chocolate into cream until mixture 

is combined and smooth. Allow the chocolate to come to room temperature stirring occasionally, once cool, cover with plastic film and refrigerated over night. Next day, place in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not over-mix or ganache will be to hard to spread. 

For the mushroom meringue:

3 large egg whites

1/2 tsp lemon juice 

9 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

chocolate frosting

Preheat the oven 200 F. 

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Beat the egg whites with lemon juice until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar one tablespoon at the time mixing well after each addition. mix until whites are stiff and glossy. Beat in vanilla. Transfer mixture to large pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain pastry tip. For the mushroom caps: Pipe domes, 1 to 2 inches in diameter, onto prepared baking sheets, and flatten the tips with your fingers. Pipe stems onto baking sheets. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven or until dry. To assemble, spread bottoms of caps with a thin layer of chocolate frosting, carefully insert stem. With your fingers, rub some chocolate frosting on top of each mushroom cap.

To assemble the cake:

Carefully cut cake in two layers and spread one third of the light ganache onto the cake and place the second layer on top. Spread the top and the sides with the remaining light ganache. Place the mushroom meringue on top. I put cinnamon stick on the side of the cake to resemble wood. 

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