My boyfriend celebrated his birthday this weekend (25 already! We’re getting so old lol) and he wanted a decorated cake. I don’t do a lot of fondant/gumpaste, but I thought it would be a nice opportunity to work on my skills. We’re both Game of Thrones fans so the design came to me pretty easily. Unfortunately, he’s team Lannister… While I’m a Targaryen for the Iron Throne girl.
I wasn’t so sure about the insides of the cake. At first I thought about going with the theme and making it a red velvet, but I’m not a huge fan of red velvet. I mean, is it chocolate? Is it vanilla? So confusing.
So I decided to turn to my cake bible, Sky High, and go for the chocolate-cola cake (I already talked about it here). I wanted to add red coloring to give it a little something, but I totally forgot about it (good thing in the end, since it turned out I didn’t have a lot of coloring for the gumpaste).
For the filling I kept it simple, with strawberry/blueberry jam and whipped cream (lots of it). Overall it was really good but I should mention that you could definitely taste the coke, something that clearly doesn’t happen with the original filling of baked sweetened condensed milk and toasted coconut.
I’ve already shared this tip on my previous layer cake post, but I’ll say it again cause it’s really handy, especially with less robust fillings such as whipped cream. Assemble your cake inside the waist of a springform pan, and it will keep all your layers in line and your fillings in place. I baked and assembled the cake the night before, so by the time I decorated it it was perfectly set and not one bit of cream oozed out.
Then came my least favorite part… coloring the gumpaste. I found a brand of gumpaste here that tastes so good it actually makes you want to eat it, but it doesn’t make the coloring any more fun. Though I have to admit it didn’t take that long; I found it’s much quicker it you knead it with the method of stretching the dough with your palm then rolling it towards yourself.
Oh and by the way… you can’t really tell in these photos, but the cake was actually a very red shade of pink. But they say red is the hardest color so I guess it’s ok?
Also, I used 1 kg of gumpaste but it was way too much, so I’m listing 750 g in the recipe below (you’ll still have more than enough).
And then it was painting time! I love painting on food. I used to draw when I was younger (mostly anime, and I wasn’t very good) so I guess it’s my inner artist wanting to come back. And also my lazy self, since painting is much easier than other forms of decorating (or at least that’s what I think).
I searched online for inspiration and found an image that would be perfect on the cake. It was a little tricky because the words were on negative space, but I drew them with a food marker and they turned out ok (although my black marker is dying…). And then I did the painting! Like I said, it’s very easy, just take your food coloring and dilute it with a little alcohol (vodka works great). Then grab a paint brush and paint away.
The downside about painting on cakes is that the cake needs to be left uncovered for the color to dry, but that would also dry out the gumpaste. So I just left the coloring wet. And I had gone heavy on the color (since it was all black), so there was a lot of plate staining involved. But don’t worry, it washes away easily ;)
So, if you’ve never made a decorated cake, this is a great way to start. Be sure to give it a try!
Chocolate Cola Cake
Recipe by Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
Yield: 3 8 inch layers
1 1/2 oz / 44 g unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup Cherry Coke or Dr. Pepper (I used regular Coke)
1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper, then dust the pans with flour.
2. Place the chopped chocolate and buttermilk in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, do not let the buttermilk boil or it will curdle. Set it aside to cool slightly.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whisk the eggs lightly. Add the oil and vanilla and mix until combined. While mixing on low speed, gradually add the sugar. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture and mix until incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add to the mixer in 3 additions, alternating with the soda, and ending with the dry ingredients.
5. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Fillings and decorations:
1/2 cup berries jam (reserve some for brushing the outsides of the cake to adhere the gumpaste)
2 cups cream beaten with 3 tbsp powdered sugar
750 g / 26.5 oz gumpaste
red food coloring
black food coloring