sometimes it just doesn't take much...
Sometimes…. You get a huge number of chocolate truffles for an awesome price….and your awesome sis-in-law gives you awesome Christmas sprinkles for your late-November birthday.
Annnnd that’s all the excuse you need for a cake like this! Recipes below!
I doubled and slightly-modified a chocolate cupcake recipe from thescranline.com - check out Nick's site and his Instagram feed if you haven't already; he does some incredible work!
Of note...you'll need either a kitchen scale to measure ingredients in grams OR - you can use this fancy ‘grams to cups converter’ 😉 Or just use the conversions I ballparked for you. You’re welcome.
350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 c)
450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
350ml milk (about 1 ½ ; I used a 2c pyrex liquid measuring cup with mL marks on the back)
2 t vanilla extract
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a fan forced oven. Grease 3 8-inch pans with baker's floured spray and/or line pans with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients and no lumps of butter are visible.
Next, add milk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Fill the three pans evenly - I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part, and each of mine weighed out to about 700g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting. If you insert a skewer or toothpick and it comes out with wet batter, bake for another few minutes at a time until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely – set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6- c powdered sugar
1 c cocoa powder
4-8 Tablespoons milk
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with cocoa powder and milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- large piping bag & large tip
- Icing comb, if you want to texture the side of your cake
- Christmas sprinkles of your choice! I used a Wilton combination set I got for my birthday
- about 30-40 chocolate truffles – my husband and I bought a huge box at Costco!
- large chocolate bar, broken into pieces
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper – maybe not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful!
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting, and pipe a rim around the outside. Cut chocolate truffles into chunks – I used ½ to 1/3 of a truffle for each one – and lay them over the cake layer. Pipe a bit of frosting in between the truffles so your next cake layer will stick when you set it on top.
Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers, adding the final layer on top.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer 😉
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, use an icing comb to texture the sides to your liking. Place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.
Now you’re ready to decorate! I piped a semicircle of icing onto the top of the cake, and used it to anchor pieces of broken chocolate – the broken chocolate reminded me of ice chunks or a forest; I liked the way it looked on top of the cake. If you’re more of a traditional cake decorator, you could just rim the cake with squares or leave it off completely. Up to you!
I put the large pieces at the back, and the smaller ones toward the front, and the truffles in the open space at the front of the cake. I scattered a few more Christmas sprinkles over the top of the cake, and then used some holly and berry sprinkles around the upper rim of the cake. Add sprinkles to your liking!
Annd you’re done! Pat yourself on the back – you just created a chocoholic’s dream cake!
Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo! 🙂