My neighbor asked if I would bake a chocolate cake for her boyfriend’s birthday. I of course, said yes. I dug out my favorite chocolate cake and frosting recipes and brainstormed on how to decorate it. (Decorating cakes is not one of my strengths.) I’ve seen really pretty cakes on Pinterest where there is a thick fudgy/ganache type layer on top of frosting that looks like it was just poured on but didn’t cover the whole cake. I always wanted to try that, so here was my chance.
A few days later, my neighbor asks if I would put bear paws on top of the cake and sent me an example of what she was looking for. I thought “no problem”. I would pipe the paws in royal icing and then just drop them onto the top layer. I didn’t realize until I started actually piping the paws just how tricky this was going to be. I was only making a 6-inch cake and the pieces were so tiny!
The cake and frosting came together with minimal issues and I had the fudgy glaze ready to pour. I made sure to put the cake in the fridge for a while to help slow the process of the “ooze” and I also let my glaze cool for a very long time.
I began to pour. It looked awesome! The glaze moved very slowly towards the edge of the cake and stopped. I thought to myself “oh, it’s not going to move, I should probably add more”. I did, and now the glaze is inching down the sides. It still looked very pretty and I stood there with a smile of satisfaction, ready to move on to the bear paws.
To create the paws, I took a copy of the image and it in a sheet protector, then piped royal icing on top of it. They slid off the plastic very easily. I made about 4 sets as back- ups. It took me about 30 minutes to add the paws! I was lucky enough to have a plastic set of tweezers and used those to place the paw pieces, but it was very tricky. My hands were shaking and I broke a few pieces as I approached the cake. I also had a few pieces fall upside down on the cake and frantically picked them off with the tweezers and toothpicks. The paws were a little crooked and not centered, but after 15 minutes, I didn’t care and wanted it all to be over.
Around this time, I noticed that gravity kicked in, and my glazed was inching downward, way more than I wanted it to, but it was still in the “ok” zone. Luckily, my neighbor loved it. She took it to her boyfriend and brought the cake back to me after they cut it so I could take pictures. By now, the glaze oozed almost all the way to the bottom of the cake. It looked a bit weird, but I decided not to freak out about it. I’ll have to research that more thoroughly to see how it’s really done.
Triple Chocolate Cake
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate , finely chopped (I like Guittard)
- 1 cups hot brewed coffee
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Guittard Cocoa Rouge)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (From Magnolia Bakery)
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 9 ounces semisweet chocolate , melted and cooled to lukewarm
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 4 ounces dark chocolate , chopped
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Make the cake
Preheat oven to 300°F and grease two 10 inch cake pans. Line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Combine chocolate and hot coffee in a bowl and stir occasionally until chocolate is melted and smooth.
In a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly (about 3 minutes). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Divide batter between pans and bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool layers completely in pans on racks.
Make the buttercream
Melt chocolate in a double boiler, or in a microwave and stir until smooth. Let cool until lukewarm. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add milk and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until creamy desired consistency is reached.
Make the glaze
Combine chocolate, sugar, milk, and butter in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stirring often, cook until sugar melts and the mixture is smooth and shiny about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Let glaze cool for at least 30 minutes or until thick.
Even out cake layers if necessary. Place layer on a cake stand, and with an offset spatula, spread about ½ to 1 cup of frosting on each cake layer. Spread a thin layer on top and sides of cake until even and place the cake in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes. This is the crumb coat.
Add an addition thicker layer of frosting to the top and side of cake with a spatula making sure the frosting is even. You can use a bench scraper to make the frosting smooth. Take the cooled glaze and slowly pour on top of cake (about 1 cup). Using a small offset spatula spread the glaze until it begins to spill over the sides of the cake. Use more glaze if necessary, but I would recommend waiting at least 2 minutes to see how far the glaze will slide down the cake. Add more glaze if necessary; then place the cake in the refrigerator to set (about 30 min).