YAY for cake – and EXTRA BIG FULL CAPS YAY for the release of my sweet pal Tessa’s Layered cake book! Tessa is the creative force and pastry chef behind Style Sweet Ca – and her new cake book is exactly what I imagined it would be! Full of beautifully styled, DROOL-INDUCING photographs and packed with thoughtful and creative flavour combinations – there is an inherent Martha-like trust in which bakers put into Tessa and her recipes, and for good reason. The book feels meticulous, stylish and professional, with plenty of tips, tricks and options for frosting and styling your cakes for maximum wow factor.
I admire Tessa so much for not only her cake making mastery and prowess, but also her creativity in coming up with unique flavour combinations (riesling rhubarb crisp cake! blood orange thyme cake! pink peppercorn cherry cake!) and her eye for styling – her cakes always looks modern, polished and screen-licking-delicious! Not only is Tessa immensely talented, but she is a kind, sweet and thoughtful friend! I think this book will really become a cake bible for many – I am so excited to recommend it!
To celebrate the release of Layered, I made Tessa’s classic birthday cake – a rich yellow cake with a fine crumb iced with a chocolate fudge frosting. I added pink drippy chocolate ganache, piped vanilla bean buttercream dollops and teensy crispy gold chocolate pearls! I made a three layer cake using three 8 x 2 inch round pans – I know not everyone has three cake pans lying around, so you can certainly bake the cake in two pans, you’ll just need to halve the layers to create four layers. Make sure your cake layers are completely cooled before you halve them!
The key to the drippy cake recipe – apply the drips first with a small spoon, then add additional (still spreadable) ganache to the rest of the top of the cake, using an offset spatula to gently coax the ganache to the edges without dripping down. (Some people apply the drips using a piping bag or squeeze bottle). I found also that “less is more” when applying the drips. The drip all depends on the consistency of the ganache – you want it to be cooled down, but still drip-able. I found that after making my ganache on the stovetop, a power-chill in the freezer fro 15 minutes was enough to set it to a more slower-dripping consistency. Still, apply the drips by the 1/4 teaspoon for better control over the drips.
Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting (and pink chocolate ganache drip!)
For the cake
- Butter or nonstick cooking spray, for the pans (I also used parchment paper cut into rounds)
- 3 1/4 cups 425 g cake flour, plus more for the pans
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (3 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups 400 g granulated sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups 360 ml whole milk
For the fudge frosting
- 1 1/2 cups 3 sticks / 340 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 5 1/2 cups 690 g confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup 50 g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup 60 ml heavy cream or whole milk
- 8 ounces 225 g semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
For the ganache
- 1 cup (6 ounces / 170 g) good quality white chocolate wafers
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8×2 inch cake pans and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients are combined.
- Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack fro 15-20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans – then, tread gently – they are tender!
Make the frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt.
- Pour in the cream and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to high and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- Add the melted and cooled chocolate and mix until smooth.
Make the ganache
- Place the white chocolate in a small shallow bowl (I used a cereal bowl) and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream on medium-high heat to a low boil – be careful not to scald it!
- Carefully pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, making sure the cream covers the chocolate.
- Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
- Add a tiny drop of pink gel food colouring and very gently whisk the mixture together until combined. You will have a smooth pink white chocolate ganache!
- Let the mixture cool and thicken enough to your liking – I power-chilled mine in the freezer for 15 minutes before using.
Piping buttercream details
- Before piping onto the pink-ganache-covered cake top, let the ganache set up by allowing it to sit for about an hour until firmed up.
- To add buttercream blobette details, fill a piping bag fitted with a French open star tip (I used Wilton 4B) with the remaining chocolate frosting.
- Pipe out pretty little blobettes along the edge of the cake to create a border; top with tiny gold candies or dragee type sprinkles.