Earlier I shared how I made flower sugar cookies on sticks and put them in small terracotta pots to decorate my table. Today, I’m sharing how I used one of those cookies to decorate my favorite chocolate cake. It was so easy! I frosted the cake with a chocolate butter cream, put some green sprinkles on top, and added the cookie on a stick. I used this cake for my mum/daisy-themed Mother’s Day celebration, but it would also work well for a birthday party, a baby shower, a bridal shower, or any other time a simple pretty cake is needed.
I have made this cake many, many times. The key to making it easy to decorate? The freezer. I made this cake a couple of days before I needed it, wrapped it in plastic wrap, put it in freezer bags, and placed it in the freezer. That’s one of the things I love about this cake. It freezes really well so you can bake it in advance. I’ve made it anywhere from a day to several weeks in advance. Once the cake layers are frozen, they are easy to fill and frost.
I’ve also made this cake the day I needed it. If you do that make sure you leave enough time between baking the cake and frosting it that you can freeze it. I was once late for a dinner party because I skipped this step and my cake fell apart when I tried to frost it.
Luckily, I had just enough time to bake cupcakes, which I cooled in the freezer and then piped with frosting. They weren’t the prettiest cupcakes, but they were still tasty.
The recipe below makes one two layer 6” cake, which is perfect for my family. If you need a 9” cake just double the amounts below and bake for about 35 minutes. The recipe is adapted from Add a Pinch.
1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (198 g) granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons (~32 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water, boiling
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 6-inch cake pans with shortening. Lightly flour pans.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
Measure the instant coffee into a small bowl, add 1/2 cup boiling water, and stir until the coffee is fully dissolved. Carefully pour the water/coffee mixture into batter. Mix well.
Divide the batter between the cake pans.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until a bamboo skewer interested into the center of the cake comes out clean. I usually test the cake after 15 minutes and then bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.
When the cake is done remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pans.
Remove the cooled cake from the pans and wrap it plastic wrap. Place the plastic wrapped cake layers in a freezer bag or other container. Freeze several hours to several weeks.
I almost always fill and frost this cake with a basic chocolate buttercream that I add a little ground instant coffee to highlight the chocolate flavor.
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1/2 cup (42 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/3 cups (266 g) powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee
Crush the instant coffee into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon.
Put the cocoa into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the powdered instant coffee on top and then stir to combine.
Add the butter and using a hand mixer mix until light and fluffy.
Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat on high 2-3 minutes or until the frosting becomes fluffy and the color lightens a bit. Add a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin and a tablespoon of milk if it is too thick.
Assemble, Frost, and Decorate Your Cake
Unwrap one of the frozen cake layers and place it on a plate or a foil covered cake round. Top with 1/4-inch-thick layer of chocolate buttercream. Unwrap second cake layer and place on top. Frost with the remaining butter cream.
Gently place a cookie cutter on the top center of the frosted cake. I used a flower shaped cutter. Spread sprinkles in the inside of the cutter to cover the frosting in a layer of sprinkles. Carefully remove the cutter.
When you are ready to serve the cake, stick a cookie on a stick in the center of the cake. Make sure to push the stick far enough into the cake that it doesn’t fall out. See my previous post, name, for how to make cookies on sticks.
Tips: Remove the cookie from the cake before you cut the cake. I didn’t and the cookie—which had been on the cake for several hours—ended up on the floor.
Store the cake, well wrapped in the fridge, but allow it to come to room temperature before serving.