Between Two Lungs

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“I’m so glad I live in a world with Octobers.”

-L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Happy Halloween, y’all!

Have some cake.

Go ahead; dig right in.

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This cake won first place in a “study break”  competition in my residence hall!
Meaning it won my house points in the house cup (yes, just like the Harry Potter house cup!)!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(DGH fo’ lyfe.)

I was so nervous/excited.
Now I’m excited/proud/tired.
Writing this at 2 am 3 am 4 am 10 am. FML.

(Yes, I actually tried to write this at all those times… I don’t want to talk about it.  I want to whine about it.)

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Guyyyyzzzzzz I was supposed to be doing a 12 problem calculus p-set last night, but I was at the study break celebration/competition (study break is a tradition at uChicago: it’s any treat that someone volunteers to make on Wednesday for the house to enjoy and take a break with) until 11, so I didn’t start the problem set until around then.

I did 6 problems in about an hour…

and then realized

that I did them

in the wrong section.

like WHAT I am taking calc at uChicago you would think I could tell the difference between

12.2 and 12.3 but NOPE no way so

I was up until 4am last night finishing this damn p-set for my 9am class this morning.

Moral of the story: I am a zombie and more so than ever, I want to eat this bloody heart cake.

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Let me give you a brief overview of this cake: (don’t be overwhelmed!)

it is a 12 inch, 5 layer cake

3 layers of tangy red velvet
2 layers of rich chocolate
enrobed in fluffy, silky Italian meringue buttercream
topped with a bleeding heart sculpted from rice krispies treats and covered in homemade marshmallow fondant.

It’s over the top, and somewhat grotesque.
But isn’t that what Halloween is all about?
I mean, c’mon.

Creepy bloody hearts are prime Halloween subjects.
Grab a fork and knife and tuck in!

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Bleeding Heart Cake

You’ll need:
3 batches red velvet cake (recipe below), baked in a 12×2 inch pan
2 batches chocolate cake (recipe below), baked in a 12×2 inch pan
2 batches Italian meringue buttercream (recipe below)
1 1/2 batches classic rice krispie treats (recipe from the Rice Krispie website, here) (I recommend only using a total of 2 tablespoons butter, instead of 4.5, to firm up your krispie treats)
1/2 batch royal icing (Bridget is the queen of royal icing… Go forth and prosper with her amazing and fail-proof recipe)
1/2 recipe marshmallow fondant, tinted red with a touch of green and purple (Annie’s directions are AWESOME and you should check them out… As well as the rest of her blog… It makes me swoon.  Love!)
Raspberry jam mixed with corn syrup and red food coloring to create a purple-red, thick fake blood (you have to eyeball this to your best ability)

directions:
While your krispie treats are warm, crunch them up a bit with oiled hands.
Begin to work the treats firmly, packing tightly, into an egg shape.
Mold a small, rectangular lump on the upper right “corner” of the heart; this will be your pulmonary artery and vein.
Make a slight indent that cuts from the upper right side to the middle/lower left side (refer to pictures!!!).
Freeze until hard; meanwhile, roll your fondant out to 1/4 inch thickness.
Cover the krispies with royal icing to smooth out any lumps, then cover in fondant, making sure there are no gaps where royal icing may seep through.
Seal the edges with a little bit of water and the dull side of a butter knife.
Begin to add on fondant on either sides of the diagonal indent to create slightly raised ventricles; adhere 3 balls at the top left “corner” and smooth them into cylinders to create your aorta- stick a dowel or pinky finger into the center to create the interior.
Do the same ball technique for the pulmonary vein and artery on the right upper corner.
Continue to smooth with water and a knife.
Once you are content with the shape (again, refer to pictures!), use the remaining fondant to roll tiny little veins, arteries, and capillaries.
Use a little bit of water to adhere the blood vessels to the outside of the heart, mapping them out so that all of the smaller vessels stem from a larger, central artery or vein.
Drape with plastic wrap and allow to dry slightly- I recommend overnight, but make sure it is covered in plastic lightly so that it doesn’t crack and dry out too much.
For the cake itself, layer a red velvet, then 1/3 cup frosting (the filling is very thin between the layers- they are moist enough that it is unnecessary, and too much filling will compromise the structure, so beware.), then a chocolate layer, then red velvet, and so on and so forth.
For red velvet and chocolate, a crumb coat is key.
Apply a thin layer of frosting to trap the crumbs, then refrigerate until completely set- about 30-45 minutes.
Ice the cake with the remaining buttercream, piping on details if you wish.
Place the heart in the center of the cake and stab it with a fork or knife, if desired.
Strategically drip some of your fake blood on the cake to give the illusion of a bleeding heart.
Go scare people!

Red Velvet Cake
adapted from the Food Network
makes 1 12×2 inch layer
ingredients:
150 grams (1 1/4 cups) flour
150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
5 grams (1 tablespoon) cocoa powder
150 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) oil
120 grams (1/2 cup) milk, plus 1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
14 grams (1/2 ounce) red food coloring (the liquid kind)
directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 12×2 inch pan.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together.
Whisk the oil, milk, vinegar, egg, and food coloring together.
Whisk the wet into the dry ingredients and whisk well to combine.
Pour into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Cake
adapted from the Kitchn
makes 1 12×2 inch layer
ingredients:
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
105 grams (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) flour
30 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
big pinch salt
1 egg
60 grams (1/4 cup) oil
120 grams (1/2 cup) hot water
directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 12×2 inch pan.
Whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
Whisk the egg and oil into the dry ingredients.
Whisk the hot water into the batter; it will be very, very thin.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Italian Meringue Buttercream
more in-depth directions here
ingredients:
5 egg whites
200 grams (1 cup) sugar, plus 20 grams (scant 2 tablespoons) (divided)
56 grams (scant 1/4 cup) water
500 grams (4 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks and softened but still quite cool
directions:
Whisk the egg whites with 20 grams of sugar.
Meanwhile, heat the rest of the sugar with the water in a saucepan until it reaches 240 degrees F.
At this point, the meringue should be at softly stiff peaks.
Drizzle the hot syrup over the meringue and beat until cooled to body temperature.
Beat in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time; keep beating until frosting is light and silky.

7 thoughts on “Between Two Lungs

  1. Your cake is grotesquely beautiful, if that makes any sense. I would initially be scared to eat it but once I read that you have red velvet cake, chocolate cake and rice krispies in there, I wanted to dig right in! Job well done even if you stayed up doing the wrong hw problem :)

  2. I am truly impressed! I could barely get my calculus p-sets done at UofC let alone create something as inventive and amazing as you have. Great job, now go and get some sleep! (This is your mom’s cousin btw, lol!)

    1. Thanks Julie!! Between the problem sets and the baking, sleep continues to evade me! I’m extra thankful for daylight savings this year :P

  3. Pingback: Pop! |
  4. Hi Rachel, everything on your blog is so impressive. I’m making this cake on Friday for a Frankenstein themed party and I’m so excited!

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