Whoops, the thread slipped by a bit - sorry 'bout that!
mollyanne - Love the squirrel!
Number 18 - Looks like it must have a pretty serious under-frame/support!
We're still pondering the actual construction of our cake.
Cake testing has been going well, with half a dozen trials and a few pounds added to our waistlines...
We've been cooking through "Rose's Heavenly Cakes" from various sections, and also finding inspiration from other cookbooks we have.
In my head I wanted a butter-based cake, but not being a baker I was way off the mark. We have found near-perfection (for our desires) in a modified version of Rose's base Genoise, which uses the cocoa butter in lot's of melted chocolate to substitute for the traditional melted butter. We have replaced certain ingredients however, substituting fresh italian-roast espresso for her fluids, and some brown sugar for white (bringing a hint of molasses).
The net result is a moist and airy sponge cake with a little crumb that is just loaded with coffee and chocolate flavor. We make our mochas every morning with a teaspoon of brown sugar, so the molasses is our spin I guess.
We're working on the syrup now that is traditionally brushed on genoise to increase it's flavor and moisture even further... I can't imagine. We're considering doing an "Adult" layer that will include a bit of coffee liqueur in the syrup - perhaps some Kahlua or Bailey's.
On a side note, we're considering serving a homemade ice cream or gelato on the side infused with a bit of lavender. It will be made ahead, so it won't pose any additional time constraints. I recently picked up Mario Batali's new book which is spectacular (one of the only food network chefs that I own books from). One of his pastry chefs gave up all her gelato recipes!