For this recipe I borrowed, doubled, and modified a cupcake recipe from @thescranline, and it's *amazing.*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 ¼ 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 550g. 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.
This is a great time to make your frosting!
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 T mint extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
- 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
- 1 can edible silver cake spray – I used a Wilton spray I bought on Amazon
- Black chocolate ganache (see below)
- new or food-safe paintbrush
- small plate or bowl
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, small offset spatula, large offset spatula, and bench scraper - 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.
Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
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 my large offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting and to chill the cake so the ganache sets a bit firmer to make the decorating easier!
Black Chocolate Ganache:
- 12 oz (2 c) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 12 oz (1 ½ c ) whipping cream
- 2-3 drops black gel food coloring
Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky. Add gel food coloring and stir until color is even.
(If desired, this can also be done in the microwave – combine ingredients and microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth). Once your ganache is smooth, cool to room temperature or place in the refrigerator until a slightly-firm spreadable consistency is reached.
Now you’re ready to decorate!
Open your bottle of silver cake spray and spray a wide 3-4” stripe around the middle of the outside of the cake. Don’t get it on too thick in one spray or it’ll drip – I learned this the hard way! I patterned mine just a bit with a paper towel, but this is optional. Allow to dry about 5 minutes. Additional coats will add more shine and color but require a bit more drying time.
Now for the black ganache ‘fault line!’ Use a small offset spatula to spread your room temperature/chilled ganache in a circle around the upper border of the cake and cover the top. Take your bench scraper in several gentle swipes to smooth the ganache – be careful not to take too much off.
I found it the easiest to smooth the upper layer before adding the bottom layer – as suggested but @sheri.wilton (formerly CakeDesignBySheri) on Instagram. Repeat the process around the base of the cake, adding on a layer of ganache and smoothing it with your bench scraper.
Spray a thick layer of edible silver cake spray into a bowl or small plate. With your paintbrush, outline the edges of the ‘fault line’ you just created in your ganache. If you’d like, you can flick the paintbrush across the top of the cake to add a bit more silver to the top!
Cut in and enjoy – or refrigerate until ready to serve!
Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!