I love, love, love to make special occasion cakes for adults, where emphasis is on the taste and the pretty. This cake delivers all of that along with the feeling that your secret admirer has just messengered over the freshest flowers of the season. The expensive ones: long stem in blush pink.
The cake of this cake is a rich triple chocolate layer cake, studded with chocolate bits and sliding devilishly close to brownie. It’s a Dorie Greenspan wonder and I’ve made it before with much success. This time, I poured the whole batter into a 10 inch round, the perfect size for showing off those roses, which were first introduced to me by i am baker. Here’s her tutorial. Simple but elegant.
Once baked, I cut the cake into two layers and filled it with buttercream and my chocolate ganache. I made a double batch of ganache so that there was some left to include in the piping bag for the roses. The frosting is a double batch of Swiss meringue buttercream, spiked with seedless raspberry jam.
Once chilled, I used my now favorite “big” tip, the Wilton 1M to decorate the cake. To get that hint of chocolate in the roses, I used a technique I use with cookie decorating. I wrapped the buttercream in two layers of plastic wrap, twisted the ends and tied one end in a knot. I did the same with a smaller amount of ganache. Then I placed the “cartridges” in the piping bag, open end toward the tip. Then I pulled the plastic through the tip and snipped the excess.
Before applying the frosting on the cake, I piped a bit out, just to get the flow and buttercream-to-chocolate ratios right. From there, I started in the center of each rose and piped a circle around itself. I did the sides first, then the top. Then I filled in the gaps with little “line” swirls (just like i am baker).
It’s hard to believe, but it’s all much easier then my rambling description indicates. One day I’ll have the patience to do real tutorials. For now, we’ll just have to settle for sparse process pictures and sheer enthusiasm.
Here are the recipes for that person in your life deserving of edible flowers:
DG’s Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 c. buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 c. boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 mini chocolate chips
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour two eight inch round cake pans. I use baking spray.
2.) Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
3.) With a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add both sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes.
4.) Add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to low and mix in the melted chocolate until fully incorporated.
5.) Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter.
6.) Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water then switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate.
7.) Divide the batter evenly between the two pans (I use a kitchen scale for this) and smooth the tops with a spatula.
8.) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
9.) Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
Kristina’s Shiny Chocolate Ganache
(double the recipe for this cake….)
3/4 c. heavy cream
2 T. unsalted butter
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 t. corn syrup (for shine)
1. Microwave the cream and butter in a measuring cup on high until bubbling, about 1 1/2 minutes. Or, bring to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Place the chopped chocolate and corn syrup in a food processor. With the machine running, gradually add the hot cream through the feed tube and process until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes.
3. Transfer the ganache to a medium bowl and let stand at room temperature until it is the consistency you desire (about 1 hour for spreading; 1 1/2 to 2 hours for piping). Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
(slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)
(double the recipe for this cake….)
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 c. sugar (divide 1 cup and 1/4 cup)
3 sticks (1 1/2 c.) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1. In the heat proof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water on medium heat, combine the egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer).
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white/sugar mixture on high-speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks, about 5 minutes.
3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
4. If the frosting appears to separate after the butter and vanilla are added (it usually does), beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes until combined.
5. Add 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam. Mix on medium speed until combined.