Ok, so the Sonic cake I made was a small success. One of my edith + ethel clients saw the cake and asked if I would make a soccer ball cake for her grandson who was turning 8. I immediately freaked out. How in the world would I do it? Sonic was for my son, so there was very little pressure, but now I have to make a cake for a real person. It took me two days to talk myself into saying yes, but I agreed, and started to brain storm on how to make this work. I started with buying a regulation soccer ball, and spent an embarrassingly long time studying the polygon shapes that are on a soccer ball. (By the way, there are 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons on a regulation ball.) I was hoping to find a site online that sold polygon shaped cutters for the fondant, and there were, on 90% of the European sites I found. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to wait for shipping. Ugh, I was going to have to cut them myself.
I also, had no idea of how to go about making a circle out of cake and decided to just “wing” it. I started with a chocolate pound cake recipe, to make sure the cake would be stable and strong enough to hold the fondant and made about 7 layers.
I put them in the fridge overnight to make carving easier, stacked them up and started hacking away. One problem was awaiting me. It was July and it ridiculously hot in my apartment. I was concerned about the buttercream melting while carving and making a mess. I knew that it would change the shape of the cake.
Once the care was carved, I spread the buttercream between the layers, added a crumb coat and put it back in the fridge for a few hours to stiffen and bit.
Time to work on the fondant. This was a nightmare in the making. Did I mention it was hot in my apartment? Even with the central air, it was still 80 degrees and the fondant was sliding off the cake as I was applying it. I had to put the cake in the fridge after applying almost every piece. The black dye started to run into the white and it was becoming shiny and sticky. It was terrible. I really didn’t’ think I was going to be able to pull it off in time. I sat with a tiny paintbrush and water for a few hours, and cleaned the stained white shapes. In the end, it turned out ok. My client was very happy as well as her grandson. I’m not sure that I would jump right into making something like this again, but it was a nice challenge.
Chocolate Pound Cake
For the cake
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup (6 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 ¾ cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 5 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
For chocolate buttercream
- 1 pound 12 ounces dark chocolate
- 3/4 cup egg whites (4 to 5 large eggs), at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoons cream of tartar
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ pounds (6 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 teaspoons instant espresso powder , dissolved in 1 ½ teaspoon water
Make the cake
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line baking pans with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one by one, beating only until they are well blended on medium speed.Turn the mixer to low speed and add one third of the flour mixture at a time alternating with buttermilk. Occasionally scrape the bowl with the rubber spatula. Once all of the flour and butter have been added, beat batter on medium speed for 30 seconds, until it is smooth.Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top feels springy and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Then turn it out onto the wire rack to finish cooling.
Make the buttercream
Chop the chocolates and place them in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan simmering water. Stir until melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Place the bowl of egg whites over the pan of simmering water and heat the egg whites until they are warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Return the bowl to the electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringue is cool and holds a stiff peak.
Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and rum, if using, and mix for 1 minute or until the chocolate is completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool, and beat it again.