Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Happy Birthday Cake from Cleo Coyle

The past few days have been a little hectic around these parts. New York hosted its first Super Bowl. And Hallmark Channel hosted its first annual KITTEN BOWL, which was done in association with our nearby North Shore Animal League, the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization.

If you missed the Kitten Bowl, click here
to see some fun highlights. 

Sunday was also
Groundhog Day...

Of course, Monday sure did look like winter.
We had a heck of a snowstorm...

Yes, that's a GREEN cab you see in my photo above.
No worries. New York still has its traditional 
Yellow Cabs.
But recently the city approved these green cabs.
They're called "Boro Cabs" and are licensed to pick up
fares in New York's surrounding boroughs,
including Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

On Sunday, I also celebrated my birthday. Don't ask which one—suffice it to say there were lots of candles!

As for my recipe today, I am taking a day off from contributing one myself and focusing instead on telling you about the delicious birthday cake that was baked for me by Red Ribbon Bake Shop, a Filipino bakery here in Woodside, Queens. 

There are not many Red Ribbon shops in the USA, but if you’re lucky enough to live near one, I highly recommend their cakes, which are wonderfully light and never overly sweet. The cakes themselves are chiffon (this is traditional in their cuisine) and the frosting is usually whipped cream based.

This is the approach they took with their Black Forest Cake. If you'd like to reproduce it, here are the basics...

Red Ribbon's
Black Forest (Style) Cake

The Red Ribbon cake is made up of 3 chocolate chiffon layers. The chiffon cake is a hybrid of the sponge and the genoise. This cake is very light and quite common in Filipino and South-East Asian cuisine. Learn more about chiffon cakes here

Brush the layers liberally with liqueur. To pump up the volume, you can even soak the layers in a shallow bath of liqueur. Traditionally, one would use Kirsch (cherry brandy) but light rum can be used instead (or other liqueurs). 

Use a whipped cream frosting and after you layer it on, scatter sliced up maraschino cherries between the layers. Decorate the middle of the top with a pile of bittersweet chocolate curls and place more maraschino cherries around the edges. Lightly press more chocolate curls around the outsides.

I hope to create my own version of this cake in the future. Until then, as I've often said, the eyes eat first, and I am happy to share a piece of my birthday cake with you that way…

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

Coffeehouse Mystery
Free Title Checklist
(with mini plot summaries)

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

* * * 

Haunted Bookshop
Free Title Checklist, 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 
The Haunted
Bookshop Mysteries

To learn more, click here.


  1. That cake looks amazing! I will await a recipe VERY eagerly.

    And ... HUG! I hope your birthday was fantastic!

    1. Wendy - Thank you kindly for the birthday wishes! And I'm glad to know you're interested in the Red Ribbon Black Forest recipe. I've written about Red Ribbon Bake Shops before and their amazing purple Ube Cake, which is a Filipino favorite. (It's made from a purple yam called ube, which is plentiful in the Philippines.)

      Red Ribbon’s cakes are so beautiful and delicious that they can't help but inspire anyone who bakes to take a crack and reproducing them! I hope you'll enjoy my results. Stay tuned and stay well...we've got another snowstorm coming to NYC tonight and a third over the weekend. Good time to bake--and read!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. Cleo, happy birthday. What a gorgeous cake. Wow! Yum. Wish I could make icing that looked like that. Good luck with the next snowstorm. Ugh.

    And thanks for the good wishes for release day. Very excited.

    Avery - Wishing everyone good DAYS OF WINE AND ROQUEFORT :)

  3. That is a stunner of a cake, Cleo--worthy of your birthday! No matter how many candles you have, I'm certain I'm ahead in the count:). Happy release day too, to Avery, Peg, and Sheila! xo

  4. Very best wishes for all the new book babies entering the world today

    Cleo, I'm happy to see you managed to celebrate with style and taste. But we would expect nothing less, would we?

    As to that groundhog, I read he has something like a 39% success rate on his predictions. I say, stay indoors where it's warm, have some cake if you're lucky, and flip a coin for your forecast. That way you have a 50/50 chance of being right!

    Stay safe and warm with all these storms.

    P.S. Maraschino cherries? I have never liked them. Oh well.

  5. Happy Birthday!
    Such a yummy looking cake! =)

  6. What a lovely and generous post, Cleo! Beautiful too. Hope your birthday was wonderful. Congrats also to the Fab Four on their book releases. This is really a group to be proud of.



  7. Glad to see you had a delicious birthday :). Was hubby allowed to share? Congratulations to the group on their new releases. Off to the store......

  8. You had a very sweet birthday! Black Forest Cake - is there any better cake on earth? And so beautiful!

    Happy Release Day to many of my favorite authors! I just wish you were all releasing new books. Yes, I'm greedy. I would like to read new releases each month from every one of you. Is that asking too much? :)

  9. We are not lucky in our area, as we have not one bakery other than a grocery store variety for many miles from our home. What I would give for one slice of my mother's famous lemon or orange chiffon cake with her orange glaze right this minute. She passed away in 1999 and each year prior to that she made me my favorite birthday cake, an orange chiffon cake. So when you mentioned about this Filipino bakery using a lot of chiffon cakes, I was drooling. And I love whipped cream frosting too. Thank you so much for showing us your birthday cake. A beautiful cake for a beautiful person, Cleo.

    More snow coming here to MA tonight and tomorrow; hope it misses NY After yesterday's storm we hope for no more, then now we have this one ready to pounce on us and the weather men are now saying there will be another snow storm over the weekend. NO, NO, NO!!! But then again, it gives me more time to read, so......