Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Tiny Cake Escape

Chocolate cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Ganache Glaze

This is the cake my mom requests when anything comes around: her birthday, Mother's Day, Groundhog's Day... :) I first saw it when I was in graduate school, watching the Food Network when I was supposed to be writing essays, as usual. It really caught my eye.

This year, I decided to get smart. As glorious as this cake is, I did not want to eat it for the next three weeks. Nor did I wish my siblings to accuse me, as they sometimes do, of wrecking their diets.

So I cut the recipe into a third of the original, purchased some tiny cake pans at Sur La Table, and got baking. The result was a Mother's Day gift that was not too little, not too big, but just right.
Here you see the naked little cake, just waiting to be slathered in Ganache. Ganache is a simple mixture of semi-sweet chocolate, corn syrup, and cream.

Wax paper is useful in keeping your pedestal clean. Just insert little strips under the sides of the cake. Don't put the strips too far in, or it will be hard to pull out when you are ready to present.

The temperature of the Ganache is very important. If it is too hot, it will melt the buttercream. But if not warm enough, it will not cascade over the side of the cake and make beautiful ribbons of chocolate that make the cake so unique.

The rosettes are so easy to make. All you need is a pastry bag, and the proper tip. A black and white cake is very elegant, so sometimes I leave off the green leaves and sprinkles. At this time of year, however, I wanted the cake to express Springtime and freshness.

When you pour the Ganache over the cake, it will fall over the sides like this. Sometimes, if it is not quite warm enough, you can give it a little push to get it moving.

I just love the effect of the creamy white next to the rich cocoa. I dipped my knife in water to smooth out the buttercream. When applying the buttercream to the chocolate cake, I actually used my fingers a bit, because they warmed the frosting and helped it spread more easily.

I found this adorable "tiny" cake pedestal at Crate & Barrel for a very reasonable price. The cake is going, going, gone! (Until the next holiday, at least. But it is perfectly fine to have it for no reason whatsoever.)

For Tiny Cake:
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/3 Cup canola oil
1 egg +1 egg yolk
3/4 Cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Cup sour cream
1/3 Cup hot water
1/3 Cup cocoa powder

For Buttercream:
1/2 lb butter, soft
3 Cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pinch salt

For Ganache:
1/2 Cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1/4 Cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350. Oil 3 (5 inch) cake pans and line with parchment paper. In your mixer, combine brown sugar and oil. On low speed, add eggs. Let sugar, oil, and eggs mix while sifting together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.

In a new bowl, combine vanilla and sour cream, mixing well. Set this aside. In another small bowl, pour hot water over cocoa and stir until smooth. To the egg mixture, alternately add the flour and sour cream, starting and ending with the flour. Clean the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and add cocoa mixture. Divide batter evenly between the pans. Bake until lightly set, 20- 25 minutes. Cool cakes and drop onto waxed paper. Remove parchment paper and let cool completely. To make frosting easier, wrap in plastic and freeze for an hour at least.

To make buttercream, add all ingredients to mixer and whip until very smooth. Spread between the three layers of cake, stacking as you go. Reserve a small bit of frosting for decoration. Frost cake completely.

To make the Ganache, combine ingredients in a saucepan on low heat. Stir until the chocolate is just melted. Pour over cake while still warm, pushing over sides with a spoon to create falling effect.


"Every day is special." ~Rachel Ashwell


  1. Yum! I am so making this cake! Tomorrow!

  2. That looks so pretty and delicate. Tiny cakes are so cute.

  3. This is such a wonderful Blog!! I love it! OX