Wow!  My first post on this blog and how fitting that it should be my birthday cake.  It is also a recipe I got from Deb over on Smitten Kitchen, one of my absolute favourite food blogs, along with Chocolate & Zucchini and Cookbooks 101.  I swear I look at these sites multiple times a day.  I am also so happy I got to share this cake last night on my birthday with so many wonderful people in my life – Simon, who gave me this blog and the love of my life and all my friends in Heidelberg who have traveled with me, cooked with me, spent long nights talking with me and just generally making my life here a true joy.  I am so excited about this blog and I already have so many ideas of what I want to put up here including a special section on maple syrup recipes and camping recipes.  This will all come in due time, but first we must have some cake.

I think a lot foodies out there have tried the ale or stout chocolate cake, but yesterday was my first.  I pretty much followed Deb’s recipe to a tee.  I even went out and got myself a piping bag to make the wonderful little “poofs” on top.  I used the back end of the piping head to core out my “tastes” as I had neither a one-inch cookie cutter nor an appler corer.

I must say I used much less ganache than the recipe called for.  In part because just the cake alone is quite decadent, but also when I saw the ganache in the bowl I was worried it didn’t look right.  I seem to not be very good with melted chocolate.  Perhaps I used the wrong kind – Lindt 85% cocoa (commenters please let me know if you have melted this with success)?  I always find some oil separates from the chocolate and it looks greasy.  Greasy is not a word I like to have come to mind with ganache.  Ganache should be smooth, rich and dark.  Sure it has a lot of fat, but the fat should be hiding not glistening on top.  Anyway, because my ganache did not look right I was reluctant to use too much in these cakes.  In the end though, the cake, ganache and frosting were fantastic.

I would make this recipe again, but only to eat with a crowd as it is pretty decadent, but hey I’ve got so many wonderful friends and I suspect they won’t say no to another piece of cake from me in the near future.  I am definitely going to have to learn to take better picutres, but here are few not-very-good ones to give you at least a glimpse at my birthday cake.  Thank you to all the commenters!  What a surprise to read all your messages yesterday morning.  I wish I could send you all some of this cake instead of just the pics.

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