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Apr 17, 2005 03:58 PM

Black Pearl Layer Cake - Results and Pics

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I'd like to share my success with this cake. After much deliberation on my part, I finally decided on baking the Black Pearl Layer Cake from Epi for my daughter's first birthday. I am not much of a baker, so I thought it was an ambitious undertaking to start off on a very fabulous looking cake with complex tastes and was heading for disappointment should my guests think that the ingredients were weird. However, as it was a special day for my child, I decided to go ahead and give it my best although honestly, I was prepared to have my husband make a last minute run to Two Little Red Hens in Park Slope to purchase a cake in the event that my creation turned out to be a flop.

I was so thrilled at the way my cake looked after I spread the frosting on and sprinkled the black sesame seeds and shaved bitter-sweet chocolate on the top. I didn't expect to do a good job as it was my very first time to ice a cake. During the cake icing process, I was whining and bickering at how inept I felt and blamed my husband for not being able to get me the right tools to ice the cake. At first the whole thing looked lopsided and I almost gave up because my OH has had enough of my complaints and asked me to just stop whatever it was I was doing and he will make a run to the bakery to get one for the party the next day. I prevailed and finished the job, much to my surprise, it looked like a real cake!

My guests all raved at how it looked, and then oohed and ahhhed at the way it tasted. I was so proud of myself! I definitely recommend the recipe - I followed most of the reviewer's suggestions, used two 9-inch round pans, only used 5 oz. of bitter sweet chocolate for the ganache, tripled the wasabi, and since I loved ginger, I increased the amount - but you could hardly taste the ginger if you didn't know it was there. Two weeks later, I had to make the cake again as my husband and teenage son nagged me to do so. The cake serves 16-18 adults. It lasted 3 days in my refrigerator - with my husband and son getting the biggest chunks of all.



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    9 Replies
    1. re: Arlene

      The link worked, but your photo didn't post.

      I made this cake back in January. In fact, I posted my comments about the cake on Epicurious on 1/30 and am the reviewer that recommended using 2 cake pans instead of 3 and splitting the ginger syrup between the layers. I also did a post on this board about the cake at the same time I posted to Epicurious.

      I'm with you, I love this cake. I working on a variation using dried chiles, true cinnamon and pecans in place of the wasabi, ginger and sesame seeds.

      1. re: Gayla

        I really hate wasabi - could you do it without the wasabi and it still be ok?

        1. re: krissywats

          Absolutely. The wasabi doesn't really impart all that much flavor or heat in the quantities listed in the original recipe. Most of the people that posted reviews of the recipe on Epicurious all suggested doubling or tripling the wasabi amounts in order to get any traces of that flavor to come through.

          You could either make the recipe as written using the amount of wasabi called for in the recipe, or leave it out, I don't think it would make that much difference to the final product.

        2. re: Gayla

          Gayla, it was your post that inspired me to do the cake. I even read your comments on Epi and took your advice to use two 9-inch pans. Thank you so much. I have included a link to the photos below.


          1. re: Arlene

            Arlene, thanks so much for sharing the photos. I can't believe you are a novice cake baker, you did a fabulous job!!! I can see why it was such a hit and you've gotten requests to do it again.

            Also glad to know that my comments helped :-). I really do like this cake.

        3. re: Arlene

          Thanks, Arlene. I was able to view the 3 pics. Must say that that's a VERY impressive and gourmet first bday cake; never too early to start grooming the chowpup! I was esp. impressed w/ how smooth and even your icing came out. Glad to hear that everyone liked it. Def. putting this on my "to bake" list.

          1. re: Carb Lover

            Thank you, Carb Lover. I managed to achieve the smooth look by using an ordinary serrated bread knife as I wasn't able to get an offset spatula for the task. This cake is now a family favorite.

          2. re: Arlene

            What a lovely job! How did your little one like it?

            1. re: anni

              Thanks! My chowpup loved it and asked for more although I didn't want to give her an overdose of chocolate and sugar it being her first time to taste cake.