Thursday, July 28, 2011

Award Winning Suzy Q Cake

Ok, so I might be over-exaggerating a bit when I call this cake award winning, but it did win 2nd place in my company's bake-off.  I count that as an award.  There was a prize and a certificate, afterall :-).

This recipe comes from my grandmother.  It was a family favorite growing up.  When people ask what a Suzy Q Cake is, I tell them it's basically like eating a giant Ho Ho.  Is your mouth watering yet?

Suzy Q Cake
Makes 12 servings
Start to finish: about 2 hours

1 devil's food cake mix, prepared as directed
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup canola oil
4 Tbsp butter
Dash of salt
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare your devil's food cake as directed, or feel free to substitute applesauce for oil.  I like to add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.  I think it improves the flavor of any box cake mix.  Don't forget to pre-heat your oven to the instructed temperature.

Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans.  By "prepare" I mean coat them with a thin layer of butter and cocoa.
You're probably used to coating your pan with butter and flour.  This keeps the cake from sticking to the pan and makes it easy to release after baking.  However, because this is a chocolate cake, you don't want to coat the pan with flour because then you'll have white stuff all over the outer layer of your cake, and that's just not good for presentation sake.  This is why I coat mine with cocoa.
Evenly distribute the batter into each cake pan and bake as directed.  Ignore the phantom foot in the bottom right corner.  Somebody couldn't wait to start licking the bowl on the counter...
When a toothpick comes out clean from the center of your cake, pull it out and let the cakes cool on a wire wrack.
When the pan is cool enough to handle, turn your cake pan upside down on the wire wrack and give it a good tap.  The cake should pop right out.
Can you see how dark and chocolatey this mother is?  It's going to taste so good later.

While the cakes are cooling, start putting together your filling/frosting.  If you're looking for a light cool whip type frosting or if using fat in baking scares you a little bit, you should probably stop here.  I said this cake was award winning.  I didn't say it was healthy.

Combine the powdered sugar, oil, shortening, butter, and salt in a big mixing bowl.  Beat this on high for 5 minutes.  If you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, I strongly advise using it here because if you have to use a hand mixer for 5 minutes, your hands will surely get tired.  After 5 minutes your frosting should look like this:
Very thick, very stiff peaks.

Now add your egg white and vanilla.  Beat on high for another 3 minutes, not a second shorter.  After 3 minutes it should look like this:
Notice how the texture has gone from super stiff and chunky to smooth and velvety.

By now your cakes should be cooled.  This is a four layer cake and as you have probably noticed, we only make two cakes.  This means you have to slice each layer in half.  Place your hand over the middle to brace the cake and use a sharp serrated knife to make a horizontal cut through the middle of each layer.

Now it's time to ice the cake.  I would go ahead and do this on whatever you intend your serving plate to be.  It's important that you have enough icing for each layer so take a spatula and kind of mark your icing into sections in the bowl.  That way you use the same amount in each layer.

Start with all your icing in the middle of the cake.  Then use a spatula or icing spreader to fan out the icing evenly across the cake.

Once the icing is spread you can lay down another cake layer and repeat the process until you've iced each layer.

There will likely be some crumbs that broke away from your cake.  Instead of wasting these, I spread them on top of the cake for some added contrast.  Crushed oreos or shaved chocolate would also be good.

If you are not going to serve this right away, I would put it in the refrigerator.  This will allow the icing to set up a little.  I would also have a glass of milk on standby, because you're going to need it when you slice into this cake.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! I'm totally making this cake whenever I need to bring something to our next get together! Thanks for sharing!