Well, okay. I feel so bad that I left you hanging. I don't know what was funnier, scrubbing cake off the baking sheet or reading the comments from everyone who thought these were Whoopie Pies (they did look like WPs, though those rings of what look like white filling are actually the little metal cake pans, or the parts of the pans that aren't covered with molten chocolate). I'm sad to say that looking at the finished cakes was just as funny, since they didn't really get any better looking, though I tried, oh I tried. I really did try. I laughed out loud, alone, so many times while doing this, so at least I amused myself.
So, I was just trying to bake little cakes like the ones I did for Valentine's Day last year and the dinner party ones with the pink flowers and the birthday one (now I'm just showing off, cause that one was beautiful, I'm sorry, but it was). So I mean, I had it. I did used to have it. I had to go back and look just to make sure. Was I [pause] too sexy for my shirt? I think so. Hubris. Got lazy. While you are all so nice to blame the oven temperature, the recipe, the humidity, the baking soda, or the [insert name of blameable cause other than myself here] for me, I'm chagrined to say this one was entirely Operator Error. I just filled the pans way too full; apparently, though I took the time to make cake batter entirely from scratch, I could not really be bothered to stop for 1/4 second and think about how much batter I should put in the pans.
Turns out, not too much. This batter, when finished, is totally liquid, the consistency of Swedish pancake batter. But it . . . rises. So the cakes totally blobbed out in the oven and gooed all over my nice beautiful baking sheet. I was standing and looking at them through the oven-door window with my mouth actually hanging open as they were bubbling over, oozing like lava. That was a sad moment. I decided to let it go, and hope the part in the pans still cooked. But thank goodness for the nice baking sheet, otherwise . . . well, at least I got that part right.
The finished stacks are these wobbly, pock-marked, frowsy little towers of sponge and cream. I think they are embarrassed for themselves, actually. They looked just like the ones I made in my Easy-Bake Oven when I was nine. But Andy was right: They are delicious. So it was all fine — just too much batter of a too-sticky cake in a 4" round tin. The recipe, Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, is one I've used many times, and it is the best chocolate cake, if you like them dense and sticky, as I do. But it's so moist that it's not a great candidate for further lateral slicing, like I did with the Stacks of Hearts and Clouds (drier); this one's sticky even when it's coming out of the pan. It's insanely delicious, though, so don't let me stop you. Don't let my problems stop you. Just, put it in the right size pans. I see now that this — wrong pan-size — is a recurring theme in my baking badness. So, after I surgically removed these from their pans and cut off all their weird edges, I added a layer of raspberry jam. Frosted them with this (with a little jam added):
4 T. flour
1 c. whole milk
1 c. butter
1 t. almond extract
2 c. sifted confectioners sugar
In small pan, whisk together flour and milk. Simmer until thick over low heat. Remove from heat and let cool completely but NOT in refrigerator. Cream together butter and almond; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add flour mixture and beat until fluffy. The frosting will appear to separate, but just keep beating on high until it whips up into smooth, fluffy clouds.
Slapped a doily under them, sprinkled on some powdered sugar, and just dug in, quick. Not a problem. Nope [munch munch], no problems now. I wish you were here so you could have some and then maybe you'd forgive me for being such a doofus. Nevertheless, I'm sticking to smocking and savories for a while. Seriously. That's it.