After completing my Master’s program in August, I have been wrapped up in a baking frenzy. Luckily, my friends and family have indulged this new passion and let me bake things for them (good for me, so I’m not stuck at home with cakes staring me in the face, telling me to eat them all by myself!) As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I recently made two cakes to reveal the genders of two of my expecting best friends’ babies. The first was fun, colorful, and revealed that a baby girl will be joining us in January.
For the next cake, I wanted to do something entirely different. I drilled Erin and Zack about their flavor preferences, and also found out that the crowd that this gender reveal party would be pretty large: about 40 people. I knew it had to be non-fruity and big. The result: an eight-layer chocolate cake with cream cheese custard, vanilla buttercream, and chocolate ganache.
I started with a recipe from my favorite baker, Sweetapolita’s dark chocolate cake. Mine ended up actually being a regular chocolate cake because I couldn’t get dark chocolate cocoa, but it ended up being the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted anyway. After cooling, I sliced the cakes in to thin layers so that I could create a lot of height by layering frosting in-between them.
I then made the only buttercream I’ll ever make because it’s so delicious: Sweetapolita’s Whipped Vanilla Frosting. Next, I made a faux bavarian cream with cream cheese, instant vanilla pudding mix, milk, pink food coloring, and whipped cream (the recipe calls for Cool Whip, but I opted for whipping up the real stuff.) To assemble the cake, I alternated white buttercream frosting and pink cream between the many layers of cake. To make sure the custard stayed put, I piped a thick ring of buttercream around the edge before filling the layer with the pink goodness. The cake was fairly stable, but I inserted a few bamboo skewers into the middle area to make sure the structure was sound.
After the eight layers were stacked, I used my turntable to smooth frosting over the cake evenly. Tip: if you are trying to hide color on the inside, it is important to be generous with the outer frosting. I then drizzled the chocolate ganache over the top. During this step, I had to let the chocolate take over and drizzle down the sides of the cake as it wanted. I didn’t have much control, but that’s all part of the fun.
To decorate the top of the cake, earlier in the day, I filled a pastry bag with tempered chocolate and piped out swirly chocolate “lace,” including the words “Baby Jones.” After sitting for a few hours, they were strong enough to peel off and place on the cake.
After some artistic placement of the chocolate lace, I finished up with some white pearl nonpareils. The cake sat in the fridge to set overnight, and then we were off to the party.
When the time came to cut the cake, Erin, Zack and all their friends and family cheer to the news of a baby girl! The radiant Mama cut the giant cake like a champ for all of her guests.
I love surprises, especially if they involve cake.