Her requests for baking have been pretty similar. It’s clear she likes chocolate, chocolate and berries. So I thought I would make a little heart themed cake for my heart baby.February 7th is the start of Congenital Heart Defect awareness week and I was reminded how much a part of my life that is. Two people in a support group I am in for Ebsteins anomaly are fighting for their lives right now, one only 7 weeks old, the other an adult, who just had a baby of her own who also has Ebsteins. Logging in and seeing prayer requests for two people within minutes is a bit unnerving. In 2009 there were approximately 27,000 CHD related hospital stays totaling 1.5 billion dollars. I can only imagine what that number is today. Before insurance our daughters post birth stay cost roughly 1 million dollars. And she didn’t even have surgery. In the United States, twice as many children die from congenital heart defects each year than from all forms of childhood cancer combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD. There is simply not enough money to do the research needed. People I’ve encountered seem to mistakenly believe heart defects are the result of negligence during pregnancy. The truth is in most cases there’s no know cause for CHD. We talk to her about her heart a lot, not necessarily about her defect (although she knows she has “epseen omoly” as she calls it). She listens to her heart with a stethoscope, takes her own pulse ox and knows that she takes Aspirin and Enalopril. She’s a health savvy two year old. CHD is an every day part of our lives, so much so that it seems normal, and we even forget about it.
She also knows that she likes cake. And cupcakes. And pie. She’s already picked a recipe for this weekend. And as long as she’s interested, we’ll keep baking together.
Adapted from Ina Garten
For the cake:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
For the frosting:
1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons milk
For the filling:
1/2 cup raspberry jam
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup or 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool. Peel off the parchment. Cut each cake horizontally so that you have four layers total.
4. Make the frosting: In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until most of the chocolate is melted. Stir until completely melted, then set aside to cool.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy. At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, about 1 minute. Slowly beat in the milk.
6. Make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until pale and fluffy. At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, about 1 minute. Add vanilla extract.
7. Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up. Evenly spread one-half of the cream cheese frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Pipe chocolate frosting around the edge to make a rim. Fill center with raspberry jam. Top with next cake layer. Spread the remaining cream cheese frosting over the layer. Top with the last cake layer. Spread the chocolate frosting over the top and side of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.