When Fili decides to bake a surprise to celebrate the release of Kili’s latest book, her sister catches wind and tries to spy while wearing a certain hoodie…
SARUMAN’S SECRET SURPRISE CAKE
For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter (plus more to grease with pans with or you can use a baking spray!)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pans
1 cup of milk
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or a little more!)
For the frosting:
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped, plus shaved chocolate for topping
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
A small amount of cocoa powder for dusting!
Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Butter two 8-inch-round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.
3. Combine the butter, milk and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
4. Transfer to a large bowl, add the cocoa powder and granulated sugar and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
5. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
6. Whisk the eggs and vanilla into the cocoa mixture then stir in the flour mixture until just combined (it’s ok if there are a few small lumps in this Saruman pool!).
7. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 35 minutes.
9. Let cool 10 or more minutes in the pans then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting:
1. Put the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until smooth; let cool.
2. Beat the butter and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Beat in the melted white chocolate until combined. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and fluffy; beat in the vanilla. (If the frosting is too soft to spread, chill 15 minutes or more! This makes a LOT of frosting so you may not end up using it all!)
4. Place one cake layer on a platter and spread with one-third of the frosting. Top with the second cake layer; cover the whole cake with the remaining frosting.
5. Top with dust of cocoa powder and enjoy a bit of Saruman’s surprise!