So . . . I have some news! As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I’m thrilled to share that I’ve just embarked upon writing my first Sweetapolita baking book!
I know this will be the most creatively rewarding journey of my life so far and, although writing a book is all new to me, I feel strangely comfortable — as though this is exactly where I was meant to be. It also makes a world of difference having such incredible support. Over the past many months, I’ve worked closely with my fabulous literary agent, Judy Linden of Stonesong Press, while creating my book proposal, and without her this would never have come to be. And I couldn’t be more honoured to be teaming with such an amazing editor, Ashley Phillips, from Clarkson Potter and yet another amazing editor here in Canada, Robert McCullough, from Appetite by Random House of Canada — have you seen the incredible cookbooks they publish? Of course you have! Martha Stewart’s books, the Barefoot Contessa books and Rachael Ray’s books are just some examples of the incredibly inspiring books published by Clarkson Potter/Random House. Needless to say I’m in amazing hands.
As I worked on the outline for this book over the past year or more, I felt as though I going to bust from the urge to share the ideas with you on the blog. Somewhat torturous and exhilarating all at the same time! I tapped into the very essence of my heart and soul, and now it’s time to bring those ideas to life in the kitchen, through the lens and finally, in print. I simply can’t wait to share more details with you along the way. What a journey ahead!
Finally, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my sweets-loving heart for helping me make this happen. Your enthusiasm and support for this blog has inspired me to strive for creative heights I never imagined possible. And the truth is, I kind of love you guys. Like crazy.
And as any self-respecting baking junkie would do in a time of celebration and dreams-come-true, I made a super-sprinkly cake!
What is this sprinkle-crusted cakey-ness? It’s a 6-layer moist chocolate cake, filled with vanilla birthday cake whipped cream filling (we’ll get to that yumminess), covered in malted Belgian chocolate frosting, then covered with a medley of sprinkles and such. Inspired by one of my favourite cake recipes, the Campfire Delight Cake, I’ve been thinking a lot about 6-layer chocolate cakes covered in malted Belgian chocolate frosting — it’s just too awesome to not. But with all of that chocolate going on, 5 layers of vanilla birthday cake whipped cream filling push the party in this cake over the edge. So decadent!
You probably remember from this cake and this cake that I love whipped cream filling. I think it’s such a great starting point for a filling, and you can flavour it pretty much any way you like. It’s so light and airy, and because it’s not sweet or buttery, it’s the perfect filling for a rich cake frosted with a rich icing. So I just took that whipped cream filling and turned it into a vanilla birthday cake of sorts! With some white cake batter, pure vanilla and rainbow sprinkles that classic whipped cream filling just had 8 excitable little girls show up to the door with their party hats on.
I thought it would be fun to make a huge sprinkle medley to decorate this cake, so I just grabbed a big bowl along with a bunch of jars of my favourite sprinkles and sugar pearls, and kept adding and shaking them up until I liked the way it looked. I decided to pipe a fancy border around the top, mostly because I love the consistency of that chocolate frosting, and I knew most of the cake surface would be covered with sprinkles.
Crunchy, creamy, cakey, fluffy, chocolaty. The border is just a twist on this piping technique, but with the 1M star tip, and rather than just piping one “shell” after the other in a straight single line around the top of the cake, I angled the first one toward the centre slightly, and then piped another right beside it, angling it toward the first — like a heart shape. Once you do this around the whole cake, it takes on a woven look of sorts. Really quite simple, but neat looking!
And then I started daydreaming frolicking in a huge adult-size play area filled with 5 feet of this sprinkle medley. And then I had cake. And then I did a few jumps for joy! And then I got a cramp. But then I jumped for joy again!
I simply cannot wait to share more book details with you all. Stay tuned! In the meantime, please say you’ll make this cake to help me celebrate?
6 layers of moist, dark chocolate cake filled with birthday cake whipped cream and sprinkles, covered in creamy, rich malted Belgian chocolate frosting and covered in a medley of more sprinkles.
- 2-1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon (330 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (135 g) Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand)
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) baking soda
- 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 g) baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons (12 g) salt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups (360 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups (360 mL) strong black coffee, hot
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons (22.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) cold water
- 1 tablespoons (15 ml) unflavoured gelatin (such as Knox brand)
- 2 cups (500 ml) whipping cream (35-37% fat), cold, divided
- 1/2 cup (63 g) icing sugar
- 1 heaping tablespoon (15 g) white cake mix
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 lb butter (2 cups)(454 g), at room temperature
- 4 cups (500 g) icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered), sifted
- 3/4 cup (75 g) Ovaltine Classic (brown in colour)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 8 oz (250 g) quality Belgian chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) whipping (35% fat) cream
- Sprinkles! Lots of them (about 2 cups), preferably a mix.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans (butter, line bottom with parchment paper, butter paper, dust with flour).
- In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients, including sugar. Combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork.
- Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer). Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. (Batter will be thin.)
- Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Continue to bake until toothpick or skewer comes almost clean (a few crumbs), about 12 more minutes. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
- In a small bowl, place the cold water and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup of the cream just to a simmer, then stir into the gelatin mixture. Refrigerate, stirring frequently, until cool but not set, about 8 minutes.
- In a small bowl, sift together the icing sugar and cake mix.
- In a chilled stainless steel bowl with a chilled whisk attachment (for stand mixer), beat the remaining whipping cream, icing sugar/cake mix, vanilla and salt until it thickens just slightly and soft peaks begin to form, about 1 minute. Very gradually add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form (should be thick enough to spread). Keep covered and chilled until ready to use.
- In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute.
- Add malt powder, vanilla and salt, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
- Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute.
- Mix and "work in" with rubber spatula right before applying to cake (to rid of air bubbles).
- In a medium bowl or container, create a mixture of your favourite sprinkles: non-pareils, rainbow jimmies, chocolate sprinkles, pearls, etc. Set aside.
- On an 8-inch round cake board (or cake plate), put a small dollop of frosting. Cut your 3 cake layers each once horizontally with a long, serrated knife, so you have a total of 6 layers.
- Place your first layer face-up on the board (or plate) and cover with 1/5 of the Whipped Birthday Cake leaving about 1/2" around the edge and cover with a thin layer of your favourite sprinkle mix.
- Repeat until you come to your final layer, which you will place face-down. If you find the cake too soft and unstable, put in refrigerator for a few moments to firm it up, then resume.
- Using a turntable, if possible, frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting to seal in crumbs. Chill until firm. Repeat with another layer of frosting, this time working to get the frosting as smooth as possible. Place cake on a cookie sheet and carefully press your sprinkle mix onto sides, letting the excess fall down onto the cookie sheet. You can cover sides completely or leave 1/3 exposed (as in photo). Once you are pleased with your sprinkled sides, fill a medium or large pastry bag fitted with pastry tip 1M with the remaining frosting (about 2/3 full) and pipe border around the top of cake. Chill until firm.
- Take cake from fridge and cover the top with a layer of your sprinkle mixture, using a toothpick to push sprinkles in between piping. Once frosting softens again, the sprinkles will adhere to top.
- Serve cake at room temperature, but keep refrigerated if not serving the day it's made.
- For the chocolate cake, I used Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder – Extra Dark.
- For the malted Belgian chocolate frosting I used Callebaut Dark Callets 70.4 % .
- For my sprinkle medley, I used rainbow jimmies, sugar pearls, chocolate jimmies, and tiny round rainbow sprinkles.
- To decorate the piped border, I used a medium pastry bag and pastry tip 1M.
- You can make the chocolate cake layers up 2 days ahead, wrapped tight in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature, or up to two weeks ahead wrapped tight and frozen. Thaw in refrigerator and then bring to room temperature.
- Keep decorated cake in refrigerator for up to 2 days, but serve at room temperature.
Good luck & enjoy!