Category Archives: cake

Game of Thrones Cake

DSC08257.jpgIf you start this instant, you can have this cake made before the season premiere of Game of Thrones.  If not… well bookmark this recipe for the finale.  This cake has been a work in progress for years, starting with Jack’s scientist birthday party, when I filled the center of the bundt cake with dry ice.


I started adding the chocolate shards after seeing this recipe.  And the dry ice was a one time thing, but it would be cool to do the shards and the dry ice!

I volunteered to bring a cake to my friend’s birthday party a couple years ago, and her husband named it the Game of Thrones cake, and the rest is history.  The best part is that it doesn’t matter how terrible the chocolate shards look, because it’s still fancy and delicious.

This version is especially impressive, because the bed frame in the background of the pictures indicates that this was shortly after the flood of 2013.  Any cake baked during that time of our lives was a major accomplishment!


I’ve done a few versions of this cake over the years, but I have finally found the perfect recipe.  I mean… how often does a cake come out of the bundt pan looking like this?  With this recipe – every time.


OK – Now that I have this mostly typed up I am realizing you don’t have time to make it before Game of Thrones starts, especially if you have to go to the grocery store first. But, just remember, that sometimes the HBO app is super slow during the season premiere, so turn off all social media, make the cake and then watch the episode later tonight when the internet isn’t overloaded, and you can have your Game of Thrones cake and watch the show too!

Here is the overall process:
Get the cake in the oven
Make the chocolate shards and get them in the fridge
Make the ganache while the cake is cooling, and let the ganache cool.
Ice the cake with the ganache
Add the shards
Take pictures and instagram your cake #gameofthronescake
Share with all your friends because it’s really rich and it makes a big cake.
Watch Game of Thrones

Now for the details:

Use this Smitten Kitchen chocolate cake recipe with the following changes:

This calls for 300 grams of dutch process cocoa.  I buy the generic brand from King Soopers, and it comes in a container that holds 226 grams.  So I use 226 grams of cocoa.  And I know the common baking wisdom is to use the best ingredients, but I’ve never heard less than a rave about this cake, so I think it’s ok.

I bake this cake in a bundt pan at 350 for 50 minutes and then start testing for doneness.  I stick a wooden skewer in and if it comes out clean, it’s done. Otherwise I had 5 minutes or so at a time until it’s done.

After the cake is in the oven, you can make the chocolate shards.

The cake recipe calls for 3 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, so the easiest thing to do is to buy a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and another bag of chocolate chips to your preference. (Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or more semi-sweet.)

6 ounces of chips ( or one cup, or half a 12 ounce bag)

Put the chips in a glass measuring cup and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Then stir, and put them back in for 10 seconds at a time, then stir.  Repeat until the chips are melted.  Tear a 16 inch sheet of waxed paper and lay it flat on your counter.  Pour the melted chocolate out and spread it evenly across the paper.  Put another layer of waxed paper on top and roll it up and put it in the refrigerator, seem side down for 30 minutes.  Don’t add the shards until the cake and icing are cool, because they will melt.  When you are ready, unroll the wax paper and the chocolate will break into shards. Use the tallest ones to go around the cake, and put the smaller pieces on top. Try to work with cold hands too, because even the heat of your hands will melt the chocolate.

8 ounces of heavy whipping cream
8 ounces of chocolate chips.

Heat the heavy whipping cream in a pot on the stove over low heat until bubble just start to form on the sides of the pan.  Before it comes to a simmer, remove from heat and add the chips, stirring until the chips are melted and you have a even, chocolatey consistency.

The ganache needs to cool a bit until it’s spreadable, and not too runny.  It can cool on the counter, in the fridge, or over a bowl of ice water depending on your hurry.  Just be sure to stir occasionally as it cools.

And don’t get mad at me about how hot your kitchen is now… remember, winter is coming.


Mad Scientist Birthday Party


Jack requested a Mad Scientist Birthday Party this year, and since he was turning the big 5, I decided to go for it. I’ve always harbored a secret desire to have a Chuck E Cheese (aka Chuckie Cheese) birthday party, because I wouldn’t have to do anything besides spend money, and be at Chuck E Cheese, and it would have the added bonus of turning me into a pariah among the moms, but when I suggested it this year, Dave said no. I was trying to figure out how many kids to invite, so I went to the photo evidence of Luke’s 5th birthday – turns out, Luke used to have big birthday parties before Jack was born! Every year! So then I had to really try to create a fun birthday for my poor, poor, poor 5 year old, who has only had family and family friend birthday parties, lo these many years.

Onward. I hit google, and bookmarked this blog, and then copied everything she did, but with fewer kids, and a little more lazily.

For decorations we made a “pin the accessories on the mad scientist” game, and the boys made bow ties for everybody to decorate and wear. I put dry ice in glasses of water, and I made jello with gummy worms in it to look creepy. Those may actually still be in the fridge. I should look into that. Each kid got a t-shirt to wear over their clothes because I couldn’t find decent (cheap) lab coats, and they each got a pair of goggles to wear.



 For the experiments, we started with Oobleck – which the boys and I made the night before. It is so fun to play with that I sort of went into a trance for a while.  I also had all he ingredients for making slime and I was going to let the kids do that themselves, but oobleck wasn’t a hit with everyone and it was more than enough for the kids that like to get messy.

I also had water traveling from one glass to another, which was kind of a fun experiment for the Luke and Jack, but no one at the party cared about it.  (Too slow.)
Then we did the floating M, which did not work in practice, but worked well at the party.


Next we tried, in vain to bend water with static electricity, but no one’s hair was clean enough.  I only tried it on my kids, because of the lice epidemic of 2011.
And then we decided to take things up a notch.  I had filled a bunch of test tubes with vinegar, and attached balloons filled with baking soda.
Each kid got a set and they got to shake the balloon to let the baking soda into the test tube.  The balloons filled with air, one exploded, and a good time was had by all.
Then we did the milk/food coloring soap thing, which was very cool, and then we made a lava lamp out of oil, water and alka seltzer, then they added alka seltzer to the milk and food coloring.  (No link for that one, that was just pure mad science.)
Elephant Toothpaste  was the penultimate experiment and  that was very fun.


Lastly, we had everybody go outside to watch Dave slide a tube of mentos into a 2 liter of diet coke and have the spray reach about 18 feet in the air.  Excellent work there Dave.  But I am too lazy to upload the video.  Trust me, it was a sight to behold.

For lunch we had the traditional birthday snake, five years in, you’d think I could make one where the cheese doesn’t slide out the side.


Jack requested the same cake as last year (Root Beer Bundt Cake) but since it was a mad scientist birthday, we added trick candles and I put dry ice in the middle.  My original plan was to make a cake in the shape of an Erlenmeyer flask, but that proved to be too challenging.  Still – this was a hit.


After the party, as a fine film of baking soda settled over the house, and after I cleaned and helped Jack build lego kits, I finally got a chance to put my feet up and rest.  And then Luke said, “You know what we should do?  We should do something really fun to celebrate Jack’s birthday.”  I’m not sure what he had in mind, maybe Chuck E Cheese?


Jack yelled “I WANT TO BE IN CHARGE OF THE CAKE!”  during a fit yesterday.  I took a moment to savor the fact that I have reached the stage of my life where I am in charge of the cake.  It’s a good place to be.  Except when 3 year olds are freaking out about it.  But even then, life is good.

I shared the story with a co-worker and he reminded me of this gem, The God of Cake.

Dave’s birthday cake was The Strawberry Margarita Cake from Kim and Jakes.   It was either incredibly moist, or slightly undercooked.  (Dave votes for undercooked and he let me eat the last piece, so…)  The jury is still out, but didn’t concern ourselves with details.  It was very pretty, a little too bitter for me the first day, but it tasted better as the days went on.  Odd that it lasted so many days, I guess.

>Birthday Cake

I am happy to report that it has been 10 days since my birthday and I have not lost my phone, I have remembered to charge it every night, and I have remembered to bring it to work with my everyday. This is a miracle. But, um, this is mostly because I am obsessed with my phone and I pnly put it down to charge it at night. I had a franklin planner until December of 2010, so it’s sort of a big leap for me into the digital age.

Now, my new camera is another story. It had been lost for 10 days. I knew I took a picture of my cake, so I knew it was in the house… but where? It turns out that it was just safely inside my new, gorgeous, and larger purse. Without the franklin planner, it is so darn roomy in there! Needless to say, I found my camera today, and blogging will now commence.

Don’t worry, I added blogging to the “to do list” app on my new phone. I also have the mobile blogging app, but that is best for pictures, I can’t go on and on and on like I normally do. (Yet.)

Details – My cake was the no bake icebox cake that Grandma used to make. I ran across it here, and decided it looked great. I made the whipped cream, and the boys helped me stack. I see now that I should have considered offsetting the layers. We had leftover ganache from Grandpa’s Traditional Spice Cake with Chocolate Icing, so we threw in a few layers of ganache here and there. It was delish.

>Cake! Cake! Cake!

>Dorm food isn’t often something to get really excited about, but when we were in college, there was one cake that I can still taste 10 years later. (Oh, it’s been more that 10 years?) It was served at our freshmen orientation, and I hoped to see it again soon, but I think that cake was just a ploy to get us to sign up for the 20 meal per week plan. The next time that cake appeared was at the fancy Thanksgiving dinner that was served in the dining hall during finals. My friends and I got dressed up, asked dates, convinced our dates to dress up (they wore ties), and went to that dinner. Who was my date? Not sure, but I know cheated on it with that cake.

I think there was one other day when the cake appeared randomly in the cafeteria, along with the number of calories per serving, and it was henceforth referred to as 2000 calorie cake. I didn’t care, I would have eaten it again, but alas, I moved off campus and the cake became just a sweet, sweet memory. I had only the freshman 15 to remember it by.

Where am I going with this story? Oh, yes. Luke picked a cake out of Sky High for his birthday. Specifically, Triple Layer Fudge Cake. And yes. It is as good, or possibly better than the dorm cake.

From 2010February

I may need to rethink my policy of just following the directions first and hoping it turns out. I don’t know why I can’t make myself just adjust for altitude the first time. I think, “Maybe it will turn out perfectly! If not, I’ll slowly start decreasing the baking powder an eighth of a teaspoon at a time (and slowly start increasing the moisture a tablespoon at a time, etc) every time I make this labor intensive, 2-day’s worth of work cake, and then, after the 90th time I have made it, it will be perfect!”

Well, maybe I will do that. The cake was incredibly delicious, but it sort of sunk in the middle, so I had to fill that in with lots and lots of icing. No one complained, but it seemed like my cake could have been sky higher.

Still – the likeness is uncanny.

From 2010February