It was a busy weekend. Two planned engagement shoots on consecutive days for two winter lovestruck couples. We had been anticipating these shoots for a while now and winter had been doing her part for us. Winter, up until this point, has been rather subdued. The temperatures have hit seasonal highs and snowfall has lacked its usual muster. Of course we knew it couldn’t stay that way.
Friday night we charged and packed all of gear. A couple of camera bodies, multiple lenses, speedlights, SD cards and gear. Ready. Rested and excited, we woke up early Saturday for our commute. Only the view had changed drastically. It had snowed all night. Effectively, it was a white-out. Yet the weather, however bad, couldn’t dampen our spirits. So we drove slow and carefully to our destination a couple of hours away to meet up with the loving, infectious couple and her sister and brother-in-law. there for support and their homemade props.
The wind was crisp and cold and the snow knee-deep in parts. But we kept on. And it was wonderful. We started at a local artisan coffee shop and enjoyed the break from the weather. The four of us walked up and down downtown taking pictures of them being just who they are. Then we made a short drive to a beautiful, hidden park where the fresh snow remained untouched. Lots of wonderful opportunities, a snow-covered gazebo, quaint bride, textured stone walls and cast iron benches riddled with packed snow. We shot for a couple of hours, our feet and legs immersed in the snow, and pushed through the boundaries. By the time we were done our fingers and toes felt partially frozen. And we were happy for the heat of the car and the slow ride home.
Sunday. The roads had improved and the snow had stopped but the temperatures dropped. Again, nothing was going to stop us. So another incredible couple drove up to meet us in our town and we spent nearly four hours in different areas capturing the beauty of who they are. Skating, coffee, graffiti, 100 foot trees, powder paint fight and lots of laughs. A beautiful morning/afternoon spent with a creative couple willing to try something new and uniquely them. More than ever, time escaped us but by the end it was safe to say we were all pretty cold and eager for the warmth of home.
It was a successful, fun-filled weekend. And although the snow and frigid temperatures were difficult to handle at times, we had the joy of spending quality time capturing genuine people in love. But there was also one other thing. A cake I had baked waiting at home for me to devour with a hot cup of tea was in the back of my mind. Freshly baked. So that’s just what I did. Chocolate goodness and layers of love.
Perfect ending to another brilliant weekend. We are blessed.
From my kitchen to yours,
Chocolate Fudge & Coconut Cake
Chocolate Cake Layers:
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cups buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups sweetened flake coconut, for topping
- 2 sticks of butter
- 2 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Chocolate Fudge Icing:
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
- 2 sticks butter, room temperature
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Start by making the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease three 8″ cake pans with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift all the dry ingredients and add them in. Add the remaining wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until well combined. Pour the batter into the three pans and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester/toothpick inserted comes out clean. You may need additional time depending on your ovens. Let the pans come to room temperature before removing the cake from the pans and placing them in the fridge.
- Next, make the frosting. Using a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer, add the butter in. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the icing sugar until fully mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the mixer to medium and add in the vanilla, continue beating for 5 minutes or until fluffy and smooth.
- To make the chocolate fudge, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a double boiler on the stove. Once broken down and melted, set aside to slightly cool. Beat the butter and icing sugar in a medium bowl until fluffy. Add in the melted chocolate and beat for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and beat until everything is smooth.
- Fill the cake layers with the frosting. With the 3 layers stacked, ice the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate fudge, smoothing as best as possible with a cake spatula. Sprinkle the coconut all around the cake, gently pressing to stick to the fudge. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serves 6-8.