A chocolate cake. Simple instructions for a sophisticatedly simple birthday girl. But there are many ways to do a chocolate cake, aren’t there? One could make a dark chocolate cake that is rich and slightly bittersweet, decadent and serious. Or, one could make a basic chocolate cake: chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, end of story. Appealing to anyone, but notably simple, sweet, and youthful.
But what if your subject is right at that precious point in between? What if she is turning 18 and delicately poised on that finite midpoint: already richly complex and wildly intelligent with a strong, confident artistic mind, educated about politics and culture, and well aquainted with her own mind, yet at the same time, sweet and silly, with an ebullient laugh, easy kindness, and a childlike joy and happiness that one can only pray will never age?
For such a birthday, one could only attempt to hit that same balance between the child and the adult: a rich, densely fudgy chocolate sour cream chocolate cake, with a simple, classic fudgy chocolate frosting to honor the youthfulness behind her, then dressed in a fine, shiny veneer of rich, salted dark chocolate sour cream ganache to honor the more sophisticated, serious, cultured path ahead of her.
Thus we have Miss Madison’s Semi-Grown Up Chocolate Cake. Happy Birthday, lovely girl!